We continue to keep the situation under constant review as government guidelines and Methodist Church advice changes, and from the clamour of information available concerning COVID-19 we have tried to bring together here information that we hope will be informative, relevant and useful. As well as updates below that relate directly to the current status of our church buildings we have provided links to external sources that provide valuable information.
SRMC Status Updates
As the country starts to open up and ease COVID restrictions, we give thanks for the success of the vaccination programme and the significant reduction in the spread of infection. As the rules relating to COVID have changed we have taken a cautious approach on how we use our building and will continue to do so.
We have established a strong online presence during the Pandemic and will continue to offer pre-recorded weekly online services, plus a monthly online Messy Church. We are delighted that the Church will reopen for morning services starting on Pentecost Sunday 23rd May under COVID safe restrictions, and the content of the online service for that Sunday will be the basis of each service.
The building will also be open under COVID safe restrictions for a few mid-week groups to restart from Monday 17 May. The Church Council will be meeting at the end of May to discuss a reopening strategy so details will be available from June.
Recognising that this will significantly limit the number of people who can attend, we will continue to offer weekly online services, plus monthly online Messy Church and use Zoom interactions and other communications to support our fellowship.
As we continue to closely monitor the situation we give thanks for the progress that has been made in the country since the vaccination rollout programme started. Assuming this progress continues the Church Council has decided to reopen the building for services on Pentecost Sunday 23 March under COVID safe restrictions.
The building will also be open for a few mid-week groups to restart from Monday 17 May.
We are closely monitoring the developing situation with the COVID virus, and have decided not to reopen the premises on 10 January as previously hoped. However the Church Council will reassess the situation when it meets in February. In the meantime we continue to offer weekly online services, plus monthly online Messy Church and use Zoom interactions and other communications to support our fellowship.
Following the end of lockdown 2 and the allocation of Wiltshire to Tier 2, Wiltshire Council has produced a bulletin outlining what this means for the county. This bulletin may be accessed here.
Following the government’s announcement on 31 October, the church premises will be closed from Thursday 5 November. To bring some clarity for future weeks it has been decided that the premises will remain closed till the New Year and hopefully reopen for worship on Sunday 10 January. We are focussing our efforts on offering weekly online services, using Zoom interactions and other communications to support our fellowship.
As a Christian community charged with loving our neighbour, we feel deeply our responsibility to protect public health and safety. Recognising the increasing impact of COVID on the whole UK population at this time, the Church Council (the trustee body) has decided that if Chippenham is decreed to enter Tier 2 of the current restrictions, we will close the building completely for all users.
Face-coverings are now compulsory in the building for everybody over the age of 11 unless they are in one of the government categories where they don't have to (please note – face shields are not considered face coverings under these rules). If you need a couple of face coverings then there are some in the box on the table in the church café area.
To support the Track and Trace system an NHS QR code is displayed at the entrance. If you don’t have the NHS app you will be asked to sign in at the desk. Groups hiring the premises are required to keep their own registers of participants.
We have in place rigorous risk assessment procedures and require all groups using the premises to submit their own risk assessments which have to be approved before permission is given to start.
Cleaning and hygiene: we have re-engaged our contract cleaners to come in early morning on certain weekdays, plus we have a team of volunteer cleaners so that the building is properly cleaned throughout the day between each group that meets. We also have in place a one-way system so that people leaving the building do not have to pass those entering.
Christmas: recognising the increased risk over the Christmas period when many people travel to visit family and students return home, that irrespective of what tier category Chippenham is in, the Church Council (the trustee body) has decided to close the building completely from Saturday 19 December to Saturday 9 January, and will reopen for our annual Covenant Service on Sunday 10 January. During this time all church services and other Christmas programmes will take place either outside, through this website, or on Zoom.
Living in hope: under these arrangements, a few church groups and non-church groups have been able to restart. However the Church Council (the trustee body) have decided to limit the number of groups using the building, as we have only a limited capacity to clean in between groups meeting. So with much regret we are not able to take on any new bookings at this time. We live in hope that in the months to come the restrictions will be lifted and we will be in a position to welcome back the many groups who were using the premises before lockdown.
The church building is re-opening on Sunday 19th July for Sunday morning services which commence at 10.30 am. To ensure the well-being of all persons entering the building, comprehensive safety measures have been devised, a copy of which is available for download. There is also further information regarding what you will experience when attending.
Following government advice, SRMC is preparing to open the premises - initially for private prayer on Wednesdays between 10 am - 12 noon [commencing July 8th], and then for Sunday services [commencement date to be advised]. Information about other activities will be provided as and when the situation changes. To ensure the well-being of all persons entering the building, comprehensive safety measures have been devised, a copy of which is available for download.
As with the majority of the country, the arrival of COVID-19 has had serious implications upon the normal life of the church. During March the premises had to be closed following government and Methodist Church guidelines. For a church that is very active both within the local community and within its own fellowship this has resulted in a severe curtailment of normal life. However this situation did not stop SRMC from meeting and functioning in some form with people working and contributing from home, and members of the fellowship continuing to meet and worship online.
As time progresses with plans for restrictions gradually being loosened, so the church has been working to see to what extent it can re-open, in what form, and when. This is obviously a very fluid situation and as soon as further information becomes available then it will be published here.