What measures are in place for returning to church in person?

We’ve taken all the guidance we have from both the Government and the Church of England and come up with the process below to ensure that every time we meet in our church building we are keeping each other safe as we worship together.

For each of our Summer Sessions:

  • One way system in operation --- In through the main door, and out through the tower door. This also applies if you use the toilet.
  • Hand sanitiser as you enter and leave the church.
  • Households, bubbles or individuals to keep 2m apart in all directions --- You will be guided to your seats to help make this easy.
  • No touching or hugging allowed - yet!
  • Services have been timed to leave large gaps between the building being in use to allow any trace of virus to die off.
  • The church is cleaned weekly regardless.

Thursday Worship

  • Over 18’s only to ensure strict social distancing.
  • The church will have been cleaned immediately before the service each week.
  • Hand sanitiser as you enter and leave the church.
  • Households, bubbles or individuals to keep 2m apart in all directions.
  • You will be asked to leave one row at a time, from the back, so that you can use the main door for entry and exit.

A comprehensive risk assessment is available if you would like further detail. 


Can we sing?

Unfortunately not! We will really miss being able to worship in this way, but our fantastic worship team will be able to lead us as they play. One person from the front will be able to sing for us, behind a screen. We’ll all be looking for creative ways to worship instead of singing. We can hum!

Can we have communion?

This is possible under the guidelines, but the process is very tightly controlled and also has to accept that distancing is not possible during the brief time of giving the bread or wafers out. We will be reviewing how best to do this as we move forward and test our various new systems out.

Can anyone come?

Of course! Thursday Worship is open to adults only, but our Summer Sessions are for anyone at all that wants to put a toe in the water of returning to church.

How many people can attend a service?

Numbers depend on our ability to distance people sufficiently. We have worked out that we could have 80 people 2m apart in our church building. If we need to accommodate more than this, we will make use of the 1m where necessary rule and ask those at least risk to accommodate this.

Will there be children’s groups and toys?

This is one of the hardest things to work out! We are following the guidance given schools about keeping children in small and regular ‘bubbles’ or family groups as we move forward, but this all depends on the availability of volunteers which we’re looking into at the moment. We will let you know as soon as we have clearer info to share, but it would be safest to assume that children will need to sit in the pews with you for our Summer Sessions. Sadly we’ve had to remove all the toys and books from the children’s corner. So you may want to bring your own entertainment for little ones. We know this is not ideal and are working to make it better. 

What about youth?

Our young people (12-18) are easier to cater for if we trust them to maintain distance (!). This will be helpful moving forward, providing we can find a venue with sufficient space, but for our Summer Sessions we’d love them to be part of the main worship of the church.

Will our services be ‘normal’?

Our worship together will need to look different for a time in order to meet the guidelines we’ve been given. This might mean things like fewer people being involved so that we’re not sharing microphones or keeping things a bit simpler for a season. We’ve also had to remove all the Bibles and any other shared literature, so you might want to bring your own Bible. We can be confident that God is unchanged and we will encounter him together in familiar and new ways.

What's happening soon?

Family Craft Bags Wed 5th Aug St. Mary's Church porch More info
Thursday Worship Thu 6th Aug St. Mary's Church, Chipping Norton More info
Mary's Meals Fri 7th Aug Delivered to your doorstep More info