The PPC held an additional meeting to discuss the current arrangements for the church.
In last weekend’s newsletter and at Mass everyone in the parish was invited by Fr Peter to make their views known about the current arrangements in church. We spoke to, or received emails from, about 70 parishioners and their views as well as the views of individual PPC members (many of whom are stewards) were all represented in the discussion.
We heard of the many concerns people had and their personal encounters with the virus. We heard that some have already had their vaccination and are cautiously looking more optimistically towards the future.
We heard of the personal conflicts between wishing to be physically present in the church and the fear of the risks associated to themselves and others even though the safety measures in the church are of the highest order.
Over a month ago, a new and more virulent strain of Covid began to spread. This has led to more stringent restrictions for reasons that tragically are self-evident. Although churches were allowed to remain open, Archbishop John gave parish priests the authority to close a church if circumstances required it.
What came across loud and clear in the feedback was the unanimous view that closing our church to public worship is the right thing to do at this stage of the pandemic. The PPC completely support Fr Peter in this difficult decision.
The church will therefore remain closed for the immediate future. Services will continue to be live streamed. During these closed Masses, in addition to Fr Peter there will be a reader who is allowed to bring one member of their household. The person who requested the Mass intention may also attend with one member of their household but they should let Fr Peter know in advance if they plan to be there.
We are grateful to the stewards who have volunteered to facilitate funerals at St. Aidan’s. Currently funerals are restricted to 30 guests invited by the family. Baptisms are permitted with the government restrictions of 6 people including the child being baptised. The exception is where the household and a bubble are greater than 6.
We discussed the criteria for a phased reopening of the church and we agreed to review on a regular basis. The next PPC meeting is on the 18th February.
One recurring theme during the feedback was the enormous gratitude expressed by many parishioners to those who have enabled and maintained the live streaming of Mass. We received a great deal of positive feedback on the planning, preparation and delivery that goes on every week to enhance the viewing of Mass online.
The warmest thanks are to everyone who has made this possible but especially we, as a parish, owe a great deal of thanks to Roy Misra for all the time and effort he has put in to ensure we can participate in the Mass online.
The PPC and Fr Peter would like to thank everyone for their feedback and we all look forward to the reopening of the church for Mass.
On behalf of the PPC
Sue Carr, Pauline D’Mello-Maplesden, Brenda Eydman, Roque Fernandes, Bernadette Hallett, Bridget Hanlon, Penne Hutton, Peter McFall, Elsie Ofili, Erica Thurbon, Colin Wilding.