What does ‘freedom day’ mean for STC?
In light of the lifting of restrictions in England, we are so excited to start to gather more people back Onsite over the coming weeks and months, but we want to do this in a way where people are kept safe, as well as feel comfortable to join onsite.
“We recognise that ‘freedom day’ will be met by many with a huge sigh of relief, but are aware that for others it will cause concern and confusion. While we follow Government guidance and guidelines from the Church of England, we always take our cue from Scripture. In 1 Corinthians 8:9-13 the Apostle Paul calls on people to use their freedom (in this context – the freedom to eat particular foods) to be wise and not to eat specific foods that may cause another Christian to stumble or get upset. I think there’s real wisdom here for us as a church family. The truth is, we could throw away our masks. But for some in our community who have real genuine concerns about their health they would not feel safe returning to the church building. It’s my heart that, for a short season, we continue to wear masks and keep some other measures in place, so that we can gather as many as we possibly can. We’ll need to heed Paul’s wisdom to the Colossians to ‘Bear with one another’ (Colossians 3:13) as we continue to journey through this season.” – Tom Finnemore
Over 6 Summer Sundays, starting 1st August, there will be one gathering, aimed at adults, Onsite at 10am, with a Kids gathering Online, also at 10am. For more information specific to the Onsite gathering over the summer, please see this page. We will continue to review the situation over the summer weeks and update how we gather as we move into September. For now, please see the FAQs below with more detail about specific aspects of gathering together Onsite, these will be in place over the summer and will be reviewed and updated in September.
- Do I still have to wear a mask? Government guidance states “it expects and recommends that masks are worn in enclosed and crowded spaces where you may come into contact with people you do not normally meet”. Therefore at STC we are asking people to continue to wear a mask indoors unless exempt over this summer period. We recognise that in this summer transition period this will help people feel comfortable being in the church building and joining in worship (because we’ll be able to sing again!)
- Can we sing Onsite now? YES! We are excited to sing together again, but do ask that masks continue to be worn.
- Do I still need to book to come to an Onsite gathering? Yes, this will help us to manage our building capacity while everyone adjusts to the easing of restrictions.
- What will the seating be like at the Onsite gatherings? Most seating will be spaced at 1m+, however there will still be the option to sit in a zone where the seats are 2m apart – this option can be chosen when booking through Eventbrite.
- Is seating still in households, or can I book a seat with a friend? Single and double seats are available to book however you prefer.
- Can we use the toilets? Yes, the toilets are open for use as usual.
- Are we allowed to socialise around the gatherings? There will be opportunity to connect with other people outside before and after the gatherings, however there won’t be any refreshments provided over the summer.
- Are there any other Covid measures still in place? We will continue to ventilate the building well and provide hand sanitiser on arrival.
- Is there any provision for kids at the Onsite gathering over the summer? There is a Family Summer Sundays Online gathering at 10am each week on YouTube and Facebook, the onsite gathering is specifically aimed at adults.
- Will any of the gatherings still be livestreamed in September? Don’t worry, Online in some form is here to stay and you will still be able to access a livestream of one of the gatherings.
- When might the restrictions be lifted further? We will continue to review the situation over the summer and provide further updates as we start the new academic year in September.
If you have any further questions, concerns, or feedback, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.