Covid-19 Church Procedures

GRACE BAPTIST CHURCH PORTSMOUTH

Approach to Church

Please approach the church building in the normal way from the Copnor Road.  The church will not put pavement markings down, but you are requested to keep a safe distance from others.  If you have to queue to get into the church please be mindful of local residents, their homes and their own movements.  If you see a queue outside the door, hold back at a distance to avoid bunching.  

Access into Church

Access to the church will be via the front door. 

Exit from Church

Exit from the church will be down the side passage, leaving the building via the door in the tea room, for those who wish to speak to the Pastor.  For all others, a socially-distanced and orderly exit from the front door may be made.

One Way System

There will be a one-way system in operation in the church.  Entry will be via Copnor Road, exit will be via the side passage.  From the main sanctuary into the tea room, use the north door (the one you normally use).  From the tea room into the sanctuary, go via the kitchen and then the south door (sanctuary/kitchen door).  If you are familiar with the one way system for anniversaries and fellowship meals, it is the same.  

Social Distancing Within Church

Within the church building you are requested to keep a safe distance from others, according to government rules.  You will see a floor sticker to remind you of this.

Seating

Church seating in the main hall and tea room as overflow will be arranged at the government-stipulated social distance.  Where possible the duty steward will allow bunching of chairs for households or established house bubbles.  This will be in the interest of both households and the church capacity.    Seating will be in rows and columns, all facing the same way.

Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer stations will be established at the entrance lobby, in the tea room and in the kitchen.

Ventilation

Where the weather permits windows will be opened to allow as much ventilation as possible. 

Use of Toilets

Toilets will be open for use.  Users are requested to leave them clean.  However, the best assurance for the user is that the disinfecting takes place by him or herself before use.  To that end alcohol cleaning wipes or a spray detergent/disinfectant with disposable cloths will be available, along with anti-bacterial nitrile gloves.  Paper towel dispensers will be affixed and lined pedal bins will be put in place to dispose of used towels.  To get to the toilets go out the side passage door from the tea room.  On re-entering the church building via the kitchen you may use the hand sanitiser to provide you with assurance after using a communal toilet.

Hymn Books and Bibles

Church hymn books and bibles will not be used.  You are welcome to bring your own bible and, if you have it, hymn book.  

Singing

There will be no singing because of the potential for increased risk of transmission from aerosol and droplets. EMW hymn singing will be projected under licence.

Use of Projector

All hymns, readings and notices will be projected via the church’s projector.  The Pastor is requested to lightly and carefully wipe it down on first use and to be the only person who touches it.  

Communion

When the Pastor judges that communion can be appropriately administered, the following safeguards will be put in place: plastic individual use disposable cups for communion wine; biodegradable disposable plates, once-only use, for communion bread; packet-sealed communion wafers, individual use; freshly opened bottle of communion wine, ditched at end of service; freshly opened disposable wine pourer for bottle neck.  The Pastor will lead the service socially distanced.  The duty steward on behalf of the Pastor will issue the communion wafer into the hand only, and in such a way as to avoid any contact between him and the recipient. The steward shall prepare the communion cups wearing anti-bacterial gloves and a face mask, and the cups shall be placed on a tray with loose distribution to prevent cross-contamination from one hand to another.  

Children and Crèche

There will be no crèche and no area for children to play or take time out.  Parents are therefore asked to supervise closely their children.  If children need time out, parents are requested to step outside the church and to re-enter when ready, following the one-way system.

Recording for YouTube

The sermon will be recorded live and then uploaded to YouTube during the week.  This will be a reversion to pre-Covid practices.

Live Streaming on Zoom

The sermon will also be recorded on Zoom and live-streamed to those invited by email link. 

Internet Access

Wifi is operational in the church building.  This will facilitate Zoom live-streaming and also allow attendees to use their own mobile phones to view any relevant documents for the service sent out by the Pastor.

Personal Safety and Hygiene Measures

Please follow government personal hygiene and safety measures, eg:

  • Social distancing
  • Hand washing, 20s with soap and water, or hand sanitiser
  • Stay away if you have symptoms
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue which is binned safely, or into your arm if a tissue is not available
  • Wear a face covering

You may wish to bring your own hand sanitiser.

Duty Stewards

The congregation is requested to follow the instructions of the duty stewards to keep everyone safe.  There will be two duty stewards for each service until it is judged possible to revert to one. 

Refreshments

Refreshments and kitchen services will be suspended until further notice. You may wish to bring your own water.

Talking to Pastor at End of Service 

At the end of the Service the Pastor will move to the back of the church where he can converse, socially distanced, with worshippers. 

After Service Cleaning

Between morning and evening services the duty stewards shall clean all flat and hard surfaces using alcohol wipes or a combined detergent disinfectant solution.  Toilets shall be disinfected.  Pedal bins shall be emptied and fresh liners inserted.  Disposable anti-bacterial gloves and aprons will be available.

Attendance List and Data Protection

An attendance list will be maintained so that in the event of a Covid case where track-and-trace is required, this can be done at speed.  If you develop symptoms, irrespective of suspected causation, please report the matter to the church Secretary immediately.  All those who have already consented to GBCP’s Privacy policy need not sign anything else.  Those who have not signed will be asked either to sign the consent form, which will be retained in a manual filing system for 21 days and then destroyed.

Sharing Transport and Giving Lifts

The church is not responsible for advising you on how to get to church but you are asked to follow whatever rules or guidelines are in place at the time.

Maximum Attendance / Capacity

The Government has only stipulated maximum attendance of 30 for weddings.  Other assemblies and services are managed according to their capacity to ensure social distancing.  The church Secretary will coordinate with the fellowship to prevent exceeding capacity.

Face Coverings

When attending GBCP please wear a face covering unless exempt. There are some excepted categories under the general headings of employment, health, age and equality.  Below are a number that may be relevant to some of the fellowship at GBCP.
a. The Pastor, as an “employee”.

b. A visiting minister taking the place of the Pastor in his absence.

c. Young children under the age of 11.

d. Not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability.  

e. If putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause severe distress.

f. To avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others.

g. Temporarily to eat, drink or take medication.
If you think you are exempt you should read the government website at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own
GBCP will not inquire into the reason for your exemption, however it would be helpful to know if you wish to rely on an exemption so that we can make a note once only and not bother you with further questions.  We want to balance respect for your privacy with the church’s responsibility to keep a public place safe and compliant.