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Covid-19 Coronavirus Guidelines

18 March 2020

These guidelines were agreed by the Chair of the Trustees (Wendy Ribbands) and the minister (Roberta Topham) on 14 March based upon current guidance from the Methodist Church. They will be updated as the situation develops.

You can download this document as Christchurch Covid-19 Guidelines.

General Advice
We suggest that everyone follow the NHS advice on how to avoid catching and spreading the Coronovirus

  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • always wash your hands when you get home or into work
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
  • do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

Advice for when attending church

1     On arriving at church
On entering the church building everyone is requested to wash their hands for 20 seconds using soap and water (or use hand sanitiser when available if it is not possible to access soap and water).

2     Doors
Wherever possible, for a Sunday morning service, a welcome steward will open the external doors for people as they arrive. Except for fire doors, internal doors will be left open during services and meetings so that members do not need to touch door handles to enter or leave the rooms. Please keep the doors open and do not try to close them.

3     Shaking hands
Please refrain from shaking hands and other physical contact. Ministers and preachers will not shake hands with people after a Sunday service.

4     Sitting at a distance from others
Those attending services are invited to consider keeping some space between themselves and others (apart from those with whom they have come).

5     Door handles and other hard surfaces
Caretakers and cleaners have been asked to regularly wipe or spray door handles, light switches, tabletops and other hard surfaces which people may handle using anti-bacterial spray and disposable cloths when cloths are necessary. Sunday afternoon and evening service (and group) leaders should ensure that often used surfaces have been appropriately cleaned before beginning their meeting.

6     Hymn books and service books 
Hymn books, service books, notice sheets, etc will not be distributed by welcome stewards, but will be placed on a table where members will collect them as they enter. Books can be re-used on a weekly basis. Papers should not be shared and should be disposed of by the user.

7     Offerings/Collections
All those who handle collection money must wash their hands thoroughly or use hand sanitiser immediately afterwards. Food and drink should not be consumed whilst handling the collection.

8     Holy Communion
Communion stewards will, as always, follow the highest standards of hygiene and we will be reviewing the most hygienic method to distribute bread and wine (which will be a form of receiving at the front for the majority). Friends attending are free to decide not to receive communion if they have any concerns.
Sharing the Peace will not include shaking hands or other physical contact.

9     Food and drinks
Those preparing or serving food or drinks must have washed their hands and all utensils thoroughly. The aim is to have the fewest number of people touching cups, plates, biscuit tins, etc. Disposable gloves should be used in the kitchen where possible.
All church groups are asked to consider suspending all but tea, coffee, squash and individually wrapped food for the time being.

10     Attending church activities
At the moment our church services and other activities are continuing as planned. Anyone who is vulnerable to infection and anyone feeling unwell should consider not attending church for the time being. Stay at home, follow medical advice and get well. You’re valued as part of the church community whether you’re at home or at church. Should you not feel able to come to church an order of service to use at home will be available each week. For those with internet access on a computer a service is live streamed from Wesley’s Chapel and Leysian Mission each week. Cornerstone URC Church London also provides a live stream of their service.

11     Pastoral visiting at home and in Care Homes and in hospital
Think carefully before visiting vulnerable people at home, in Care Homes and in hospital. Phone first and provide pastoral care by phone wherever possible. A number of Care Homes have recently closed to visitors.

12     An Ilkley community response plan for the coming weeks
A co-ordinated response is being prepared in Ilkley so that those who continue fit and well can appropriately help any who may become unwell and have to stay at home. Meetings are being co-ordinated by the Town Council with the NHS, voluntary sector and churches in Ilkley. Once the details are known we will pass them on.

Wendy Ribbands & Roberta Topham
14 March 2020

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