Services To Restart in Church

Published On: 

Tue 14 Jul 2020 — 10:00 am
Kemsing Church ready for re-opening
Kemsing Church ready for re-opening

Our last Sunday service was held on Sunday 15th March. Since then, all our services have been online only, on our YouTube channel, over 17 Sundays and Good Friday.

Finally, we plan to start meeting together again, in our own church building, this coming Sunday (19th July). This news story is partly to celebrate this good news and to spread the word, but also to let everyone know how things will happen.

Here is the content of an email that was sent to our Coronavirus Mailing List late yesterday.

What is happening and when?

In church: There will be two services in Kemsing church building on Sunday 19th April, starting at 9.30am and 11am. Currently, there will be no services at Woodlands.

The two services will be run identically. They will be said services, with no hymns or songs, because government guidance prohibits congregational singing. They will be in modern English, and will follow a similar format to the online services we've been having (including prayers to confess our sin, a creed, a Bible reading, some prayers of intercession, and a final blessing). We'll also praise God together speaking rather than singing. They will be all-age services, in the sense that we are not yet able to run groups specifically for children. None of the various parts of the service will be excessively long, to help children follow and take part throughout, although the more lively and interactive components of our former "all age services" are not yet possible. Each service will last about 40 minutes.

Online: There will be an online service at 4pm. The link for this is In previous weeks, a service has been prepared especially for the online platform. That will not be possible this week, because of the preparations required to meet together physically. Instead, the 4pm service will be a broadcast of one of the two services from the morning, together with a couple of hymns and an actions song. This has the benefit that those who join us online will, in a sense, be joining the service that took place that morning, strengthening the sense that we are all worshipping together. Filming will ensure the morning congregation is not visible on screen.

If you wish to join us online, you may wish to download (and possibly print) the service sheet that will be handed out to those who come to church. Not all words will be on screen. This will be available from the Coronavirus page of our website from Friday afternoon onwards. (Update: Service sheet link.)

These plans are just for this coming Sunday. Plans for forthcoming weeks will be made once lessons from Sunday 19th have been learnt. It is hoped that it may be possible, in subsequent weeks, for one of the services to be a Communion. Other adjustments to timings and logistics may be necessary, so please keep an eye on these emails and on our website for announcements. Do not assume that what is said here will carry across to following Sundays.

Who should come

Everybody is welcome to attend either of these services, however in order to come you need to book in advance. (See below for details.)

Certain groups of people may be at increased risk of severe disease from COVID-19, including people who are aged 70 or older, regardless of medical conditions. Individuals who fall within this group are advised to stay at home as much as possible. If this is you, government advice is that you stay at home rather than attending public worship. However, if you decide to come, you will of course be made completely welcome.

Anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 (a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell) should not attend the place of worship due to the risk that they pose to others; they should self-isolate at home immediately with other members of their household.

How to book and attend one of the two services

We are asking people to book in advance, for two reasons. 1. Our building can safely seat 29 people within current distancing guidelines. Our recent survey reported 55 people keen to attend public worship. We do not want to turn people away because they arrive at a service that is already full. Booking ensures that there will be space at the service you come to. 2. We need to keep a record of everyone who attends, in case someone later develops symptoms of Covid-19 and others need to be contacted under the Government's Track and Trace system. Booking allows contact details to be recorded in advance, rather than on the day.

Book in one of two ways:

  1. You can book online. Booking opens at 9am on Tuesday 14th July, and closes at 6pm on Saturday 18th July. To book, please visit You need to book tickets for each person who will be coming, whatever their age. The website gives you the ability to choose where to sit, if you wish to do so, or you can book more quickly by having seating allocated for you. Families from the same household will be able to sit together, although you may need to book tickets apart because at most 3 can be booked into any one pew. To sit in a larger household group, please book all the seats in one pew, so that you are not sharing your more crowded pew with others from different households. Please then book as many additional seats as you require, elsewhere (preferably at the back of the church), so you have one place booked for each person. When you arrive, you can sit all together in "your" pew, and leave the seats you reserved elsewhere unoccupied.
  2. Alternatively, you can phone our church office, and Anita will be pleased to book for you. You will need to let her know which service you wish to come to (9.30am or 11am), your name and telephone number, and the number of people in your party. She will then book and let you know where your seats are. The office hours are 9.15am to 12.15pm every weekday except Wednesdays; the phone number is 01732 761351.

You do not need to bring printed tickets with you, but please make a note of your allocated seat numbers. If you have a ticket for a "aisle" seat, and arrive before the person sitting in the same pew in the "window" seat (to use the airline analogy), please sit at the far end of the pew and let them take the aisle — so that the other person does not have to squeeze past to reach their seat.

Please arrive in good time. Please use hand sanitiser provided as you enter through the south porch; at the end, please leave through the rear west door. There is a clearly signed one-way system within the building — forwards up the main aisle, along the front of the nave, and back down the north aisle to the west door. Until invited to enter the building, please queue along the path that runs from the Church Lane lychgate to the church porch. If you enter the churchyard by the new church hall, please use the lower (right) path to walk to the Church Lane lychgate before doubling back left to head towards the porch.

Government guidance is that: "Once completed, participants should be encouraged to move on promptly, to minimise the risk of contact and spread of infection." We will therefore not be serving refreshments, but people will be dismissed row by row, to leave through the west door. If you'd like to catch up with fellow worshippers whom you may not have seen for some time, please be encouraged to do so safely in one of the many public open spaces near the church.

At the moment, the government has not made face masks compulsory in public worship. This may change, and we will send a further email if it does. In the meantime, please wear one or not as you feel most appropriate.

Help still needed

My previous email mentioned that we need people willing to act as "steward" for the morning services. This is to help run the practical side of stewarding people safely in and out of the building, ensuring all signs, service sheets and cleaning materials are in the right place for things to run smoothly. You would need to be under 70 and have no underlying health problems that make you especially susceptible.

This help is still needed, so please get in touch if you could help. I am willing to try, this week, leading the service and running the practicalities, to see how that goes. Perhaps, after you have joined us this week and seen how things run, you would be reassured that you would be able to help. Longer term maintaining public worship will be more sustainable with help. Certainly, the extra precautions required for the safe celebration of Holy Communion means we would not be able to hold Communion services without practical help.

If two people from the 9.30 service are able to stay behind to clean the fronts of the pews, that would speed the preparations for the 11am service.

Any questions?

Hopefully this email is self-explanatory. If you have any questions at all, please ask.

Thank you once again for your understanding over all these precautionary measures at this time, and especially at the inconvenience over having to book tickets to come to church.