update Friday 12 June 2020
The statement containing the UK Government Guidance on the reopening of places of worship, issued on 12 June 2020, can be found HERE.
I need to make some comments following the recent government announcement that places of worship may open for private prayer from 15th June 2020.
I would propose that the churches of the Shaw & Royton Circuit remain closed.
There are several reasons for me making this proposal.
The Methodist Church in Britain has decided not to make any change to its position until after the Methodist Conference has met at the end of June and so there is no change in the guidance from the Connexional Team.
Methodist Churches are places where we gather in community to worship and pray together and not a place we commonly go as individuals.
A risk assessment has not been conducted on any of the churches of the Shaw & Royton Circuit.
There are issues with cleaning, distancing and movement through buildings and policies will need to be in place before we resume meeting together. These issues have not yet been resolved.
We need to ensure that those opening and managing the buildings are not those in the highest risk categories . The demographic of the membership of the Shaw & Royton Circuit suggests that this condition would be difficult to meet.
The reinfection rate (R) in the north west of England and in Oldham is one of the highest in the country at the moment and we must remain cautious about the spread of the infection in our area.
I hope that this proposal resonates with the ambitions and expectations of all members of the Circuit. It would envision that it will be the autumn before we can realistically begin to consider opening our buildings for any significant use.
In the meantime, we continue to do what we have been doing in the manner that we have been doing it. Thank you for your patience. Thank you to those who have taken the time to make contact with me offering messages of encouragement and support – such kindness is greatly appreciated.
I hope that all remains well, please let me know if there is anything that you need.
The Rev Dr Adrian Burdon
Shaw & Royton Circuit of the Methodist Church