COVID Guidance – revised 24th December 2022
Please read the following guidelines through very carefully, as compliance by all of us is essential for our safety and well-being.
Following a small outbreak of Covid Cases amongst the Congregation in December 2022 the guidance revised on 24th April 2022 has once again been revised. The guidance is still relevant. In addition we advise:
- Once testing positive stay at home and avoid contact with other people for 5 days
- Avoid meeting people at higher risk from COVID-19 for 10 days, especially if their immune system means they’re at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19, even if they’ve had a COVID-19 vaccine
Although restrictions have been relaxed we can assure you that we will still work towards providing the highest standards of hygiene and care during your visits to St James. The Chaplaincy Council has collective responsibility for this, and the Chaplain and Churchwardens are overseeing procedures and enlisting additional help as required. We have reviewed our guidance in light of the Government’s latest instructions and set out in Decree-Law No. 30-E/2022, of April 21.
Please note all surfaces that you are likely to touch will have been disinfected before each use of the building, including outside railings, door handles and the rail at the high altar. After each use, the church building will be aired and disinfected.
If you feel ill or have a temperature of 38º or more, or if you have been in contact within the last 14 days with someone who has the Coronavirus, please do not come to church. This is vital for you and for others you may come into contact with.
Before coming to Church
- Bring a face mask that will cover your nose and mouth should you wish to do so, however this is no longer mandatory.
- Carry your own small bottle of hand sanitizer.
- Carry your own handkerchief or tissues in order to catch coughs or sneezes, and take these away with you after visiting church.
While at Church
- The toilets can be used, but remember that they are public. Wash your hands and dry them on the paper towels provided. Use hand sanitizer as an extra precaution.
- Upon arrival at church, please use the hand sanitizer provided to thoroughly clean your hands.
- A Churchwarden or Welcomer will greet you on entry to the church. Please treat any instructions given to you as being necessary for your safety and that of others.
- At the Peace, everyone should remain in their pews and simply communicate a sign of peace to those around them, in a way that is both appropriate and comfortable for all people, such as “nameste”, a “fist bump”, nod or a smile.
- The priest will continue to sanitize his hands before handling the Communion elements. Both elements for Holy Communion will be consecrated and will remain covered throughout the Eucharistic Prayer. Only the Sacred Host (consecrated and reserved from the previous week) will be distributed to the congregation, while the presiding priest alone will consume the Precious Blood on behalf of the people. (It is a clear principle of Anglican theology that the sacrament of Holy Communion is present and complete in either of the consecrated elements.)
- At the distribution of Communion, congregation members should approach the Communion Station on the north side of the nave aisle returning to their pew on the south side of the nave aisle. On receiving the Host you should step to the right to consume it. If you wish to receive a blessing rather than Communion, keep your hands down and simply bow your head. The priest will then offer a blessing using speech but no physical touch.
- For those still exercising social distancing for whatever reason, after the distribution of Holy Communion at the nave altar has taken place, individuals should remain standing and Communion will be taken to them.
- If you feel ill at any time with Covid-type symptoms during the service and need to leave the building, please tell a Churchwarden or Welcomer on your way out so that we can be aware of the situation and provide assistance as necessary.
When leaving Church
- Please avoid forming a crowd either in the nave aisle or at the church entrance.
- As you leave the building we suggest you sanitize your hands again.
VF/30 March 2021; updated 13th July 2021; updated 7th March 2022; updated 24th April 2022.