Current services at BEC - Q&A

October 1, 2020

We currently have both morning and evening service at the church on Sunday, and they are also available online.

You can find answers to some common questions below.  If you have any further questions, please email [email protected]     

1. When will we be restarting services in the church?

We currently have Sunday morning and evening services at the church.  Unfortunately, we’re not able at this stage to give a date for restarting the Breaking of Bread, but will do that as soon as it is feasible.

2. Who can attend the services?

  • Numbers will be restricted to a maximum of 50 in line with Government guidance. We operate a reservation system, and may have to ask people not to come every week if more than 50 want to attend.
  • If you are ill or have any symptoms of Covid-19 you must not come to church. Symptoms are: a continuous cough; a fever or high temperature (37.8C or higher); and loss of, or change of, sense of smell or taste (anosmia).
  • Those in higher-risk groups should consider carefully whether they would be wise to come to church. The Government advises them to stay at home as much as possible and to minimise contact with those outside their household. These groups include all over-70s, those who were previously shielding, others who get the yearly flu jab on medical grounds, pregnant women and those who are severely overweight or have a variety of chronic illnesses.

While we will have extensive safety measures in place as detailed below, you must be aware that being with others in an enclosed space carries risk.

3. What safety measures are in place?

  • We have enhanced professional cleaning of the church every week and between services.
  • We observe strict two-meter distancing. A seating plan has been prepared on this basis.
  • Everyone entering the church is asked to confirm that they have no symptoms of Covid-19 and will be required to use hand sanitiser from the units at the door.
  • Everyone is asked to wear an appropriate face covering. We keep a supply for those who do not bring their own.
  • People are directed to their seats by stewards. A one-way system is in operation, and reverses during the service to allow people to exit through the main doors.
  • Everyone will be able to reach a corridor without having to pass anyone else outside their family should they need to move during the service (e.g. for the toilet or because they feel unwell).
  • Room 2 will be available for anyone who feels unwell during the service to use until they are able to go home or an ambulance arrives. It will be thoroughly disinfected after use.
  • There is no mingling in the church before or after the service. No food or drink is served, though bottled water is available if needed.
  • We retain contact details of everyone at the service for 21 days in case anyone there is diagnosed with Covid-19.
  • 4. What time are services?
  • The morning service is at 11am and the evening service at 6pm.  We will keep these times under review, and that may change.

    5. How can I reserve a place at a service?

    This will mainly be through online registration - see here.  You will be asked to indicate which Sundays you would like to attend, and will receive an email confirming which you have been allocated a place for. We also have facilities for those without internet access to provide the information by phone, and will give some priority to those who aren’t able to join services online.

    If you are allocated a place at a service and are subsequently unable to attend, please let us know so that we can offer it to someone else. Please do not attend if you haven’t been allocated a place. There will be a small number of unreserved seats each week for visitors to the church.

    6. What if I’m not allocated a place?

    Our morning service will still be available on YouTube - see the website for more information.  The evening service is available to church members on Zoom.

    7. What will the service look like?

    Our services are fairly simple. There are a few songs on-screen (no singing for those in  church), prayer, Bible reading, a sermon and communion or mission/ministry update.  The morning service also includes a pre-recorded children's talk.  

    8.  How doescommunion work?

    Packaged bread (crackers) and grape juice are placed at each allocated seat before the service, following strict hygiene procedures. Those at home are invited to join in during the evening service, using their own bread and juice/wine.

    10. What about children and young people?

    Children and young people are welcome, particularly at the morning service.  Kids  Church alternates between groups for older and younger children at the morning service, with Zoom Kids Church at 10am for those not able to be at the church.  The Embassy (for young people in P7 and above) meets at the church on alternate Sunday mornings, with a Zoom Embassy on the other week.

    10. What about the Breaking of Bread?

    We are committed to restarting the Breaking of Bread as soon as it is feasible, but in the short term we could not manage anything like the normal service:

    • No singing or hymn books are allowed.
    • Prayers, readings etc. by those in the pews would carry a Covid-19 transmission risk as they projected their voices.
    • We would need a significant gap between it and the morning service to allow time for cleaning etc. During that time, the congregation would need to leave the church.
    • Many of those who normally attend are elderly or infirm, and might well not feel able to come to church at present.

    We have communion every Sunday in the short term ( morning or evening), which people can join at home during the evening servicde if they wish to.

    11. Will the YouTube services continue?

    We plan to have a morning service on YouTube for the foreseeable future, either pre-recorded or live-streamed from the church. The evening service is live on Zoom and audio recordings of all messages are available.

    12. Will the Zoom prayer meetings continue?

    We will continue prayer times on Zoom every Monday and Thursday evening at 8pm.

    13. When will we return to more normal services?

    That’s impossible to say at present. We will follow Government guidance, and make changes as the restrictions are relaxed. We recognise that everyone will miss some key elements of our usual worship, including singing and enjoying fellowship together, but safety must clearly be our top priority.

    14. What about other activities?

    We will restart other activities at the church when it is safe to do so, based on Government guidance. Meanwhile, a number (small groups, Grove 92, [email protected]) will continue through Zoom.

    15..Can I give to the church when there are no offering bags or boxes?

    Yes! We’re really grateful to many who have given generously during the lockdown period. You can give to the church through cheque, electronic transfer or Standing Order. For more information, please contact Ian Naismith ([email protected] or 07581 700096).

    16. What if I have more questions?

    Please email [email protected] or ask any elder or trustee you are in contact with.