Chiswick’s churches re-open

July 4, 2020 / by Matt Smith

Chiswick’s churches re-opening for services on 4 July, with church-goers likely to notice significant changes from normal practices.

According to the Government’s advice, gatherings of more than 30 people will be allowed for acts of ‘communal worship’ and are advised to keep at least one metre (ideally two metres if possible) away from anyone not from their own household or support bubble.

No more than 30 people will be allowed to attend weddings, funerals, christenings or other church events.

The Chiswick Calendar spoke to some of our local churches to find out how they have adapted to the pandemic, what precautions are in place and what services will be available from this weekend.

Image above: a pre-pandemic church service

St Michael’s Church, Elmwood Road

Images above: St Michael’s Church – Elmwood Road, Rev Martine Oborne

From 5 July, unless the weather is bad, St Michael’s will have a socially distanced listening session of worship songs in the church gardens.

Weather permitting, they may even offer a BBQ… but you will have to bring your own drinks and picnic rug.

The church will also be open for private prayer during the daytime.

St Michael’s has also been streaming their Sunday service every week at 10.00am over the lockdown period, something that they will continue to do, so if you still aren’t comfortable going to church physically you will still be able to take part from home.

Rev Martine Oborne said:

“St Michael’s church has essentially remained open throughout the pandemic, the buildings may have been closed but church people have remained open and looking for opportunities to support the community and gather for worship online.

Enjoy the opportunity to be together in person again but keep safe – usually the Vicar is trying to encourage the congregation to sit closer together… but now you’ll be encouraged to keep your distance.

For those of you who’ve been used to watching online services from your bed on Sunday mornings – remember to change out of your pyjamas!”.

For more information, please see the church’s website here.

Christ Church W4, Turnham Green

Images above: Reverend Nicola May, Christ Church W4

Although Christ Church W4 will not be opening fully this weekend, as they are still digesting the Government guidance, a range of services are still available.

Their weekly online Sunday service starts at 9.30am, via their website and Facebook page.

From 6.00pm-8.30pm a drop-in ‘soaking prayer’ will take place (which means some worship music will be playing & you must bring your own bible)

Between 7.00pm-7.30pm a quiet Night Prayer will be said and from 7.30-8.30pm there will be another ‘soaking prayer’.

Reverend Nicola May told The Chiswick Calendar:

“Here at Christ Church W4 we’re already open on some lunchtimes for private prayer and are now busy looking at logistics. We have a relatively large gathered community but we normally offer activities for children and these won’t be able to happen in quite the same way yet, there are also several other restrictions to our normal worship, like not being able to sing together, and so over the summer we will continue with our online services being sensitive to those who are shielding or don’t yet feel safe to come out.

“The government has said ‘services’ can resume from Sunday 5 July, but it’s important to note how different they will be:

  • There will be no congregational singing.
  • No books or paper will be handed out.
  • Seating will be spaced one metre apart.
  • Face masks should be worn, you can either bring your own or disposable masks will be available on arrival.
  • No refreshments will be served.
  • No shaking hands.
  • Communion in one kind old.
  • No mingling at the beginning or end of the services.
  • Potentially implementing a ticketed system or register of those who attend.
  • Outdoor services are not allowed unless using designated garden space

“Having said all the above we’d still love to see you to focus together on God and enjoy a designated space!”.

Fore more information, please see the church’s website here.

St Michael & All Angels

Images above: St Michael & All Angels exterior, St Michael & All Angels interior

St Michael & All Angels will be open for public worship from Saturday 4 July.

Sunday Mass will be offered at 9.30am and 11.00am and the 9.30am service will be available to live-stream.

The church will only be accepting a maximum of 80 people for each Mass and will be operating on a first-come first-serve basis.

Social distancing will be in place within church with ‘anti-COVID measures’ in place for everyone’s safety, though the church does not elaborate on what measures have been taken.

The church recommends that if you feel vulnerable, anxious or have been shielding then you should attend one of the quieter, weekday Masses which will resume from Monday 5 July at 12.00pm.

Communal singing is not allowed but the festival hymn, ‘Dear Lord and Father of Mankind’, is available to watch online.

For more information, see the church’s website here.

St Nicholas

Images above: St Nicholas’ church, Father Simon Brandes performing a sermon

St Nicholas has made has made some important changes to their service style before re-opening

There will be an 8.00am online service which will be available online and a new, physical 9.30am service in the church.

Stewards will direct people to their seats on arrival and the service will be shorter than usual, at around 35 minutes.

Father Simon Brandes told The Chiswick Calendar:

After three months we are really looking forward to welcoming people back to St Nicholas to worship. The church will have been completely sanitised so people can attend with confidence. The wearing of masks and gloves is encouraged, but not demanded.

“For the next few weeks we are encouraging parents to bring their own activities for children. Children’s church and our new 11.00am children’s and familes liturgy will begin in September.”

If you would like more information, please go to the church’s website here.

St Paul’s

Image above: St Paul’s Church

St Paul’s will be open again for Sunday services at 10.00am starting 5 July, the church has not been offering online services and that is not about to change.

A statement from their website says that:

‘All necessary precautions will be taken to make the church Covid secure. There will be hand gel available, seating will be two metres apart, there will be separate entry and exit doors and disposable service sheets will be provided.

‘It will be a Eucharist service and the Diocese have permitted the taking of communion bread but not the wine.

‘Of course, taking part in any section of the service (including Communion) remains an entirely personal decision for each individual and all are welcome to join in in whatever way they feel safe and comfortable with.

‘We recognise that even with these precautions in place, coming to a service in church may not be advisable for everyone and we would like to find out what to do for those parishioners still shielding.

‘If you will be remaining at home and not coming to church, please email the Churchwardens so that we can plan alternative worship for you.’

For more information, please see the church’s website here.

Don’t know which parish you belong to? Find out by looking on a church near you website. Put in your postcode, click on your address it will tell you which parish you live in.

Read more on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Churches live-streaming services

See also: Those shielding can now leave their homes, says local council