After many conversations and much online discussion, it is with a heavy heart that I am writing this, with the full support of the Church Wardens and the PCC, to tell you that we are once again closing the church building for Sunday and Wednesday services. Following diocesan communications from Bishop David on Thursday, I have spent a significant amount of time talking to neighbouring clergy colleagues and many of them feel once again that we should try to keep people safe by not having formal Sunday worship. Among others, St. Mary’s, Wythall, St. James Shirley, The Ascension, St. Peters and St. Michael’s, Hall Green have all taken this route over the last few days. I fully expect others to follow.
The reason behind this decision is the heightened transmissibility of the new variant. All we know is that it is 50-70% more transmissible than the variant which caused our buildings to be closed last year. There is insufficient raw data at this point in time to know what that would mean in terms of how to make our building safe and so putting together new risk assessments simply isn’t possible to do with any degree of certainty.
In other words we cannot know if it is possible to keep you safe from infection in our building.
So our Church building is now closed with immediate effect. I will review this with the Church Wardens every fortnight. If, as seems likely, this situation continues after I have left then the decision to continue will remain with them alone.
This also means that the 9am Facebook livestream on Sunday mornings will move back into the 10.30am service slot for the time being. Wednesday evening’s livestream will continue at 7pm.
If there is anyone who really wants to receive communion please contact me directly and I will make separate arrangements with you for a short act of worship held close to the open South door or outside if possible.
Sadly it is looking increasingly like my final act of worship with you will be online. Strange times indeed. But do remember, the Church itself is the people, not the building!
In addition to all of this, in the light of schools once again closing and her need to devote all her attention to her children’s education and well-being, we have also furloughed Rachel Rollason. She will not, therefore, be accessing any of her work based websites, social media and email for the time being.