Sunday 18th April 2021
Greetings dear saints,
The Beulah Pastoral Leadership Team is very much aware that the question on almost everyone’s mind is, “When will we be going back to our respective church sanctuaries?” We would like to
assure you that we have been discussing this in our regular weekly meetings, and we have
decided that each of our 5 churches should make plans and mobilise the members of the Beulah COVID-19 Working Group. They will be implementing the Action Plan that was produced by the Group led by Evangelist Madge Rodney last year, before the second countrywide lockdown.
In preparation for reopening, each of our churches can now put in place plans for the following:
. Update Risk Assessments.
. Stocking up on materials/products
. Deep cleaning and refreshing
. Cleaning before, during and after each service
. Staff training – Ushers roles
. Observing relevant government guidance
. Social distancing
. Plans for entry & exit routes
. Hygiene & sanitising procedures
. Policy for wearing face coverings
. Music – playing live or recorded
. Singing – following guidance
. Social interaction limitations
. Procedures for special events
. Times of meetings to reduce risk
At the earliest opportunity we aim to publish plans for:
i) The role of Zoom going forward
ii) The frequency of National Services including Sunday School
It is our desire to see churches making positive steps towards reopening at the earliest practicable date for each individual church. Finally, the continued relaxation of restrictions by the Government will be looked at carefully as we take steps towards a full return.
We are seeking the face of God, for Him to show us the right way forward.
Overseer Keith Linton
Chairman of the Board, Beulah Apostolic Church UK
Sunday 5th July 2020
Re: Our response to COVID-19: Guidance for the safe use of places of worship from 4th July.
As you may all be aware, the Government published the above mentioned guidance document on 29th June 2020, with the stated purpose that it is designed to assist places of worship in England to prepare to open for a broad range of worship activities, in accordance with the associated legislation which will come into effect on 4th July 2020.
In effect this guidance sets out:
- Advice as to how places of worship may prepare their premises for the timely and safe return to worship and other associated religious activities.
- Some key principles for safely opening places of worship while recognising that the public health emergency which we are still experiencing as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, remains a real threat.
- Ways of adapting practices and general actions to reduce the spread of infection.
- Ways in which places of worship can communicate the guidance to visitors.
As a result of these changes which come into effect as from 4thJuly, a number of churches have decided to take advantage of the relaxation and to return to their places of worship with immediate effect. By this response these churches are saying in effect, “We can and therefore we will”.
However, in the weekly forum held between the Pastors of Beulah Apostolic Church UK, we have been discussing this matter, both prior to the latest Government guidance being published and since. In these discussions we have asked a number of key questions which will form the criteria for the re-opening of our places of worship.
As a Leadership Team we came to the consensus that under the current conditions set out in the guidance, there does not appear to be any significant benefit that we can see for reopening anytime soon.
Our reasons for this are:
- From the risk assessments which have been carried out, the reorganizing and adjustments that will need to be put in place at each Church premises in terms of social distancing are very significant.
- Space modelling carried out in a typical sanctuary with 2-metres social distancing, resulted in a reduction in numbers of up to 66%. In simple terms 24 seats previously packed tightly will be reduced to 8-seats, meaning that the number of attendees that can be accommodated could be one third of normal capacity.
- Preparations in the form of temperature checks, hand washing facilities, sanitizing dispensers and replenishing products, wipes and cleaning regimes, both before and after use of the premises, are also very demanding in terms of labour and are very costly.
- Services will therefore almost certainly need to be on a shift basis with staggering starts(typically two services on Sunday morning).
- Most significant however is that the guide requires that, “singing, shouting, raising voices and the playing of music at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult to hear, must all be avoided.”
It is clear from this requirement that the ‘Places of Worship Taskforce’ may well have followed the scientific evidence available to them but have given no consideration to the form of worship practiced in a Pentecostal Church, where singing and praising are absolutely unavoidable elements of our services.
We will therefore continue as we are for the time being and will continue to monitor the guidance as it will no doubt be updated as necessary, as more data becomes available.
Yours faithfully in Christ Jesus,
Overseer Keith M. Linton
Chairman of the Board
Beulah Apostolic Church UK