Return to Church August 2020

More information on how we’re planning to open on the 23rd August 2020

The pastors, elders and staff team at Reigate Baptist are so excited to welcome you back to church gatherings. We have been working hard to create a COVID-safe environment which allows all those who wish to attend church to do so. There are many necessary measures we have put in place in consultation with government guidelines which means our gatherings on a Sunday will look quite different for a time. There is a lot of information to share so bear with us while we cover off the important points. We hope this will answer any questions you may have and give you all the information you need to prepare for your return to church. We are really looking forward to seeing you again.

When will services be?

We are a large church family and with current guidelines we need to run smaller services than we are used to. In order to make sure everyone has an opportunity to come to church, we will be running two services each week; 9am and 11am. We also ask that you only come to church once every three weeks. On the weeks you aren’t physically at church, you will be able to watch the services live on the Reigate Baptist Church YouTube channel. To make sure we have the right number of people at each service, you will need to book a place at the service you wish to attend.

How do I book my place to come?

You can book a place through our website in the calendar. To make sure everyone has a chance to come to a live service, we ask that you only book onto one service every three weeks. The first set of services available for booking will be 23rd August at 9am & 11am, 30th August at 9am & 11am, and 6th September at 9am & 11am. Every person attending will need to book by name so make sure when booking, that you book a place for every member of your household who wishes to attend the service. 

Why do I need to book to come?

As well as ensuring everyone has an opportunity to attend a live service, the booking system is also important in order to keep records of attendance for the NHS track and trace scheme. Records of your attendance will be kept for 21 days as per government guidelines before deletion.

Who can book to attend services?

Our services are currently planned and prepared with adults in mind. There will be alternative provision for youth at the 11am services and family services with provision for children on Sunday afternoons. Your energetic and playful children may find it difficult to stay seated for the duration of the morning service, so we would encourage you to watch the live stream from home with your under 11s, or book on to the family services. If your older children wish to attend a morning service with you, please make sure you have booked a place for them when you book your own. 

What about newcomers who may not have booked?

We want our church to continue to be a friendly and welcoming place for newcomers. We will always have seats available for those who may be new to church and therefore turn up without having booked a place. Their welcome pack will be under their chair and our newcomers welcome team will follow up with them during the week to welcome them to our church family.

When can I arrive for the service?

You may be used to being an early bird or a last minute person. As our services will only be 1 hour in length we suggest you aim to arrive before the start time so as not to disrupt the flow of the service. Doors will open for registration 10 minutes before your chosen service time but please do not arrive any earlier than 15 minutes before your service time. Outdoor socially distant queuing will be in place in a cordoned off area of the carpark so be mindful of the weather when deciding what to wear in the morning.

What do I do when I arrive?

When you arrive, please join the queue in the car park and remember to keep a distance of 2 metres from other households/bubbles when queuing. There will be a section of the car park used for queuing so be mindful there will be reduced parking available. All those who are volunteering at the service are reminded to please use the car park at Woodhatch centre. When you get to the front of the queue, please give your names to the team on the door so they can check you in. The entrance door for the service will be the double fire exit doors at the back of the main hall. There will be no access to the building through the main front doors and foyer. When you have checked in, an usher will guide you to your seats. Chairs are laid out in socially distant pods and the usher will ensure there are enough chairs in your pod for all members of your household/ bubble in attendance. Once you are seated please remain where you are and refrain from moving the chairs or getting up and moving around the building.

What will the service be like?

Our services are going to look quite different from what you are used to. The chairs are laid out in circles facing the centre. This is designed so services have a closer, more intimate feel, allowing for a more conversational style of teaching and more congregational participation. The current guidelines do not allow for congregational singing so our times of worship will have a different feel. We will still have musicians playing and occasionally a member of the worship team may sing over the church but we also invite more participation from you. This is an opportunity to share in gifts of the Spirit which will edify the church and each other as we worship the Lord together. The service will be one hour maximum in length and will include a message from one of the pastors, elders or service leaders.

Do I have to wear a mask?

Current guidelines require the mandatory wearing of face coverings in church for all people over the age of 11. Unless you have valid medical reasons, please wear your mask whilst in the service. Those leading the service are exempt to allow for lip reading and effective communication so you may see your service leader not wearing one.

Can I use the toilet facilities?

Yes – toilet facilities are available but please use the toilet at home before you arrive if possible to reduce numbers of people moving around the building. If you do need to use the facilities during the service, there is a one way system in place so you’ll need to use the side door near the ‘Welcome’ sign to walk to the toilets. On your way back, please turn right out of the toilets and continue along the corridor, through the foyer and back into the hall. There will be ushers to remind you. Where possible, toilets are to be used by 1 person at a time, so if you see someone else go in please wait in the corridor until they come out.

What should I bring with me?

In order to maintain good ventilation, we will need to keep doors and windows open so if you are someone who gets chilly, you may want to bring a jumper or cardigan. You may also want to bring along your bible and a drink but please be aware we cannot hold onto lost property so remember to take all your belongings with you when the service finishes.

Can I chat with my friends before or after the service?

Unfortunately, current social distancing guidelines do not allow for socialising before and after the service. We appreciate this will be a challenge so why not pre-organise with your friends to meet for lunch afterwards in groups of 6 people or 2 households outside or with one other household inside? Or on weeks you are watching from home, why not invite another household to watch with you?

Will there be refreshments?

We will be unable to provide refreshments during or after the service so if you miss your coffee or need water throughout the service, please bring your own drink in travel mugs or bottles (no snacks please) and remember to take them home with you as we won’t be able to keep hold of them.

Will there be space for my pram/buggy?

Yes – if you are bringing a baby in a buggy, the ushers will make sure there is space within your social distant pod to park your buggy with you. Please make a note online of it when you book your space.

Will there be space for my wheelchair/mobility aid?

Yes – your usher will make sure there is adequate space for your wheelchair or mobility aid when you and your household/bubble are shown to your seats.

Will there be an offering? How can I give?

There won’t be an official offering during the service. If you’d like to give financially to the work of the church you can do so on our gifts page. If you are unable to give in this way, there will be a box for cash donations on your way in on a Sunday morning. 

What do I do when the service ends?

When the service ends, please remain seated until the ushers direct you to leave through the exit door, the double fire exit on the left. This is to prevent crowding at the exit point. Please refrain from hanging around to speak to friends or the service leader. If you have any questions or feedback, you can contact the team during the week by phoning the office or dropping them an email. 

Can I move freely around the building?

There are many parts of the building that are out of bounds on Sundays and many routes and doors are one-way only. We really want to keep everyone safe so please join us in taking notice of the signage around the building and following the arrows in place. 

What hygiene measures have been put in place to keep me safe?

There will be hand sanitiser available on entrance and exit doors but please make sure you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds before arriving at church and after using the toilet. There will be a team deep cleaning the church before and after each service in line with guidelines and rigorous checks will be carried out by our staff. 

What if I feel ill after I’ve booked to attend a service?

If you experience COVID-19 symptoms, are self-isolating due to contact with a possible or confirmed case of COVID-19, or have been requested to self-isolate by the NHS Track and Trace system, please do not attend a service until your isolation period is over. You can drop us an email to cancel your booked place and participate from home by watching the live stream. If you begin to experience COVID-19 symptoms whilst in a service, we ask that you and your household/bubble leave immediately, follow stay at home guidance and call NHS 111 should you need non-emergency medical advice. If you subsequently test positive for COVID-19 please contact Louine on 01737 248258 or info@reigatebaptistchurch.org.uk so we can inform others who were attending the same service as they may have come into contact with the virus. 

How can I help?

In order to make services happen we need lots more people to volunteer to help on our teams. You can view current roles and sign up here.

How do I access church from home?

Our amazing stream team have been working really hard in the last few weeks to test and install equipment so we can live stream our services. You can watch them via our YouTube channel so you can participate from home. Search for Reigate Baptist Church or click this link www.youtube.com/channel/UC0DduCt0EbiN42rGhudmnYQ to find us. You can also find past sermons and past live streamed services on there. During the service, a team member will be on the live comments section so you can interact with them in real time.

Children and Youth

What will the family services be like?

At this time it is not possible for us to worship together as a whole church family so we are excited to invite our younger members of the church family back to church for Sunday afternoon services. Our brilliant children’s ministry team are finalising plans so more information about these will be coming soon to parents and carers of children registered with us.

What about youth church?

Our youth sessions for secondary school aged young people will be running alongside the 11am services. Spaces are limited so please make sure your youth are booked in separately into youth church using the calendar. When booking, you will have to provide a contact number and complete and return the consent form provided in the acknowledgment email. If your young person would prefer to attend the main service then please book them a space with you. 

Where is youth church?

The entrance for the youth will be the single front external door next to the main foyer doors. It will have a big YOUTH sign on it. Please drop your young person off at this door and refrain from accompanying them inside. Youth should not enter the church through the main entrance door unless they are attending the service with you or need to use the lift to access upstairs. 

The youth entrance will open 15 minutes before the service start time. Please aim not to arrive earlier than this. If your youth arrives before the door opens, we recommend you stay with them and queue for the youth door maintaining the correct social distance. The session will aim to end at the same time as the main church service and youth will be accompanied down the back stairs and exit to a socially distanced meeting point at the side of the building near the gates. Please collect them promptly. If they have attended church unaccompanied we will allow them to leave from this point.

What else do the youth need to know?

Similar to main church, youth need to remember to remain socially distanced from their friends, wash their hands for at least 20 seconds before arriving at church and sanitise their hands on entry and exit. If possible, they need to use the toilet before arriving at church, but there will be a toilet available upstairs. It is mandatory for all people over 11 to wear a face covering at church unless they have a valid medical reason not to, please make sure they remember to bring one to wear inside. They will also need to bring appropriate clothing for the weather while waiting outside, and something warm to wear inside as the windows will be open for ventilation where possible. They may also bring a bible (paper version – phones are often distracting during a session), a notebook and pen, and a water bottle. Please ask your youth not to bring any unnecessary belongs and to make sure they remember to bring everything home with them as we will be unable to keep hold of lost property.

We are so excited to begin meeting together again and can’t wait to see you all. If you have any further queries get in touch with us at the office but please also bear with us as we work through the teething problems of all the new systems and ways of doing things. See you at church soon!