Worship during Phase 3 of Lockdown
St. Mary Magdalene’s Church re-opened for public worship on Wednesday 22 July. Having duly completed all the preparatory work, put into place the protocols and guidelines as set out by the General Synod Office of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Pro Forma was sent to our Diocesan Bishop to seek permission to re-open. This was granted and, since the 22 July, public worship has been held on a Sunday at 11 am and a Wednesday at 10 am. Both Services are services of Holy Communion.
While the guidelines are in place, under Phase 3, worship at St. Mary Magdalene’s is conducted under the conditions prevalent in all Scottish Episcopal Churches. In broad terms this means that hand sanitising is used when entering and leaving the building, as well as before and after receiving Communion. As per the Phase Guidance, Communion is received in one kind only. Whilst in the church, social distancing, the 2-metre rule, is maintained whenever possible. The wearing of face-coverings is now mandatory. They are only removed to receive Communion. Those leading worship, including those involved in reading Scripture or leading Intercessions, are permitted to remove face-coverings whilst doing so. While we do have organ music, congregational singing is not allowed. A cantor or soloist is allowed to sing but they are well-removed and screened from the main congregation.
At present no other congregational activities are permitted under Phase 3 Guidance. This includes Sunday School, serving refreshments after worship, or any of the other activities that are normally associated with church life. At present we are limited to 50 people at any given service of public worship. The times that we live are unprecedented and the guidance that we comply with is at times ambiguous with many anomalies. It is also fluid and open to change at quite short notice. If you wish further details of the most up-to-date guidance for places of worship then the link below will take you to the SEC website.
Rev Canon Kenneth Gibson