St. Mary’s Parish Church News

MARY’S PARISH CHURCH NEWS

There is some ‘good news’ to bring to you since the last church report in ‘What’s On’. Churches can now be opened for private prayer. This is subject to social distancing being observed and many other regulations being put in place to keep everyone as safe as possible, with hand sanitising, and the pews in the nave clearly marked as to where you can sit.

At a recent Zoom meeting of the Parochial Church Council (PCC) Vicar Jon presented his Chairman’s report and he has kindly agreed for it to be included here for wider readership within the Wenvoe community.

“Since the last PCC meeting, places of worship have now been placed in to the Red Phase by the Welsh Government. St Mary’s Church opened for the first time for private prayer and reflection between 4.00pm and 6.00pm on Tuesday 7th July. It has been decided that in the first instance we will open just once a week and monitor the number of visitors to see if there is a demand to open it again at another point, which would probably be on Saturday morning. This would allow at least 72hours from the church building being closed and then opening again. This is to fall in line with Welsh Government Guidelines and avoid us having to do a thorough clean between sessions rather than a “tidy up” clean that we will do ensuring surfaces and pews are cleaned from where people may have sat and touched things. I would like to thank those who have helped me prepare the church to be opened and also those who have volunteered to steward during the opening hours. Four people came to St Mary’s on Tuesday 7th July for prayer, and it was wonderful to welcome them. This number coincides with the numbers that have entered Sully Church and churches of my colleagues. So it is my current intention to remain with opening once a week at present.

It is important to note that the church is open for private prayer and reflection only. The Church in Wales is now allowing weddings and funerals in church under very tight regulations. It is unlikely that there will be any weddings now in 2020. However, there may be occasions that a family would like to use the church for a limited number of people for a funeral. Before we can offer this as an option, I have to submit a Risk Assessment which needs to be agreed with the Archdeacon. I am currently in the process of doing this.

Also, at the time of writing we are still in the Red Phase, unlike places of worship in England which is a phase ahead of places of worship in Wales. As a result, you may have heard of several news items of churches now opening for limited acts of worship to restricted numbers of congregation. Below are the details as issued by the Welsh Government for the next phase – the amber phase.

I would also like to thank our Wardens, Treasurer, Secretary and Reader Emeritus and all members of the PCC for your continued service to the Church and for all you are doing to keep St Mary’s functioning and holding its presence in our community during these difficult times”

The current situation is that we are now in the “amber” phase and the possibility of holding services in church was discussed at the PCC meeting. The maximum number of people we have in St. Mary’s, to allow for 2 metre “social distancing” is eight, and places would have to be reserved in advance. The meeting decided that this is not a practical proposition and for the moment no further action will be taken.

Weddings and funerals can now be held in church, with the same stringent regulations of numbers attending, no singing allowed, the bride to walk down the aisle by herself, hand sanitising during the exchange of rings etc. It is anticipated that there will be no weddings in St. Mary’s Wenvoe this year, and any funerals will be arranged as and when the family concerned and Jon will have discussed the arrangements.

Keep safe during these trying times, continue to be kind and considerate to neighbours and those who are elderly in the community and above all KEEP WASHING THOSE HANDS. God Bless.

Parry Edwards