I hope your week has been a good week (well…as good as it can be any way in these very turbulent times we are all living in).
You may all be wondering why we have been away for a long time (well a month to be exact) and why we have posted this post on a Saturday, than the normal Sunday we usually post on our blog. Well… all will be made a lot clearer in due course, even if I don’t say so in a natural specific way.
Our own church at Manor Road has been in a structure of lockdown for just over over 6 months and as you can imagine, church elders can be restless in getting things done quicker rather than later.
Our Interim Moderator is also looking after two other churches and the structures of re-opening these churches is picking up pace now, in how you keep the structures of our church buildings covid-19 free safe with church elders in these churches. Because our churches are basically in the same boat in how we look at the safe priorities of opening our churches, it makes perfect sense that Manor Road Church would be linked to these other churches, in the way we re-open our church buildings.
The only problem here is that with the other churches (Rectory Road URC – Hackney N16 and High Cross URC – Tottenham – Haringey – N17 there are churches with larger congregations and a more younger age demographic, that are able to manage and prepare a lot easier, than the structures we have at Manor Road Church.
Behind the scenes at Manor Road URC, we have been having elders meetings that put into motion the re-structures of re-opening the church building again, and we were in the position of now being set to re-open the church building for our congregation tomorrow, for church service.
But now…after very deep considerations by our Interim Moderator -The Revd. John Campbell and Church Secretary (Mr. Kalu Amogu), we have decided not to re-open the church building for church service tomorrow.
Now is just not the right time for re-opening Manor Road Church, in light of the risk age factors of some people in our congregation, the structures of familiarities in the certain roles that people will now have to do in our church under covid-19 rules, not having the right number of safety stewards we will need to make sure that people entering our building sanitize their hands, as well as dealing with track and trace structures we will need to put in place and finally not having the right number of people for an actual church service.
Prior to hoping to open tomorrow, The Revd. John Campbell contacted our church congregation by posting them a letter of the church’s plan of re-opening this Sunday. He also sent them an age and health risk factor form document and asked them to look at the chart relating to their age group.
They were asked to add up scores in relation to their age group and health problems, but if they instantly found themselves with a risk factor of 6 and over, they were asked to keep away from church service tomorrow.
They were also asked to stay away from the church. If they had at their homes any covid-19 symptoms with temperatures of 37.8 and above centigrade.
My own parents (checking on the chart at home) instantly came upon this 6 risk age factor group, as did several others in our congregation.
The URC Synod also orders that congregations make sure they provide 2 Safety Stewards for the role of making sure congregations sanitize their hands and look after the procedures of track in trace in congregations, and our church (at such a short notice) could not provide these Safety stewards.
So. The Revd. John Campbell and our Church Secretary (Mr. Kalu Amogu) decided between them that this re-opening of church service could not happen for tomorrow.
We shall be having another Elders Meeting in Mid- November and I will be making sure that Manor Road Church has FULL and COMPLETE Confidence and infrastructure of REAL Management in going forward to re-opening our building again for church services, as well as the full management infrastructures of being able to re-open for our Community Hall Leaders.
There will be no blog for the time being, as I, other Church Elders, and The Revd. john Campbell work to the very best of our advantages in re-opening the church building again.
This is not just very important for the safety of ourselves in our building, but very important for ANY individual who comes into Manor Road United Reformed Church Building.
I have left the Letter that the Revd. John Campbell left our Church Elders in the cancelling of our church service tomorrow. This makes the reasons a lot clearer than I have even described.
I will let you all know of ANY BIG changes that I hear from the Elders in re-opening the church again for church services.
We are almost there, but we have to allow time for our own comfortableness in our various roles and complete management of our church infrastructure under these new covid-19 rules in our church.
Goodbye for Now and Do ALL Keep Very Safe Out There.
Roger Howard: Health and Safety Officer.
Manor Road United Reformed Church.
Just to confirm that Mr. Kalu and I, as Church Secretary and Acting Pastoral Leader have taken officer action and decided that it is best to delay the re-opening of Manor Road Church for worship. We had been preparing for re-opening this coming Sunday but two issues were proving difficult.
- A HIGH PROPORTION OF OUR CONGREGATION WERE PROVING TO HAVE PERSONAL RISK SCORES OVER 6, AND SO SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERING COMING OUT TO CHURCH.
- WE WERE NOT ABLE TO IDENTIFY TWO COVID SAFETY STEWARDS ( THE MINIMUM NUMBER THE URC CONSIDERS ACCEPTABLE IN ORDER TO OPEN.
These meant that trying to re-open this Sunday seems inappropriate. We had only one member expressing interest in attending safely. Just at the moment, I do not know when we will be re-opening, but those problems with re-opening seem unlikely to change in a hurry (people only get older, so their risk score is unlikely to fall). This would suggest that we may have to sit out the pandemic without live worship, but we will keep a close watch going forward. We will also be looking carefully for ways to allow those who cannot currently join the High Cross ZOOM service to find a way to join it because the pandemic is going to take a long while to blow over…
Blessings, John Campbell.
Interim Moderator-Lay Pastororal Leader.
Manor Road United Reformed Church.
Roger Howard : Editor.