Visit the Children and Young People section of our website for details of our Sunday morning ministries.
New Sunday Service Pattern from September 2021
From 5 September, we are introducing a new and – hopefully – permanent Sunday service pattern.
Back in 2019, the PCC accepted some recommendations made by a Working Group regarding the relationship between and development of our Sunday services. This new service is pattern is the implementation of these recommendations. At the heart of our plans is to see all of our services and congregations grow and flourish, with a particular emphasis on making the Eucharist at 10.30am more inclusive of families.
So, from 5 September 2021, a normal Sunday at St Paul’s will look like this:
8am Said Eucharist
9.15am Joyful Noise (Eucharist on 1st, 3rd, 5th Sundays of the month)
10.30am Sung Eucharist
So, what’s changing?
Names of services. The names we’ve been using for services up to now has been quite inconsistent, and some words, such as ‘Family’ and ‘Parish’ implied things we didn’t really mean. For example, by calling the service at 9.15am a ‘Family Service’, it made it sound as though families weren’t welcome at the service at 10.30am. Which couldn’t be further from the case!
9.15am Joyful Noise. Adults and children will continue to worship in church together, and this service will be more intentionally aimed at families with pre-school children. We’re conscious that, in the past, this service hasn’t always been as well-resourced as it could be, so, over the next six months or so, we’ll be making some changes to develop the worship and music and to encourage more lay participation, from both adults and children.
10.30am Sung Eucharist. The principal development at this service will be to enhance and develop children’s activities and participation. From September we’re launching re-branded children’s activities for children in Key Stages 1, 2 and 3, and hope, in time, to provide a crèche for small children and babies. These groups will meet in the hall for part of the service, as before, but one significant change is that the children’s groups will take it in turns to be present for the entirety of this service, taking an active role in the liturgy. The Sung Eucharist will be live-streamed on our YouTube channel.
Choral Evensong. Evensong is one of the jewels in the crown of Anglican liturgy and worship, but, pre-pandemic, numbers at this service were unsustainably low. From September, rather than having Evensong once a month, we will hold a higher-profile, termly Evensong. Each Evensong will have a theme, and will include a guest preacher, and will be preceded and/or followed by either an educational or social event. The first of these Evensongs will be on Sunday 10 October at 6pm.
All-Together Eucharist. In 2019 we trialled five All-Together Eucharists, at 10am, replacing the services at 9.15am and 10.30am. This will now become a permanent arrangement, with All-Together Eucharists for Harvest Festival, Advent Sunday, Patronal Festival, Palm Sunday (with procession from the Green), and a Sunday in early summer, normally coinciding with the Vicarage garden party. These services will incorporate and celebrate elements of both Joyful Noise and the Sung Eucharist. We’ve decided to have just five a year, so that they don’t disrupt the regular service pattern, and don’t happen so often that they cease to feel special. The first will be for Harvest Festival on Sunday 3 October, and, to avoid a potentially very crowded church building, we’ll hold this in the car park.
Which service is right for me?
Everyone is welcome at all of our services at St Paul’s, but some services are more appropriate for different age groups. If you are seeking a quiet, reflective service, we recommend the 8am Said Eucharist, or any of our weekday services. If you have pre-school children then the 9.15am Joyful Noise is probably the best service for you. If you have children who are school-age then come to the 10.30am Sung Eucharist, and check out our children’s ministries here.
Will it be possible to maintain social distancing?
We are encouraging people to maintain social distance where possible. If you are concerned about social distancing, we would recommend that you come to the 8am Said Eucharist, at which it is normally very easy to keep distance from one another.
Do I still need to register for a ticket?
No, our services will be un-ticketed from now on, unless you want to reserve a place in the area of the church reserved for social distancing at 9.15am or 10.30am. To do so, please email firstname.lastname@example.org from Monday at 9am.
Do I have to wear a mask?
In line with many other venues, we are strongly urging people to continue to wear a face covering at church services and events. This is not legally binding, but we know that wearing a mask protects those around us, so, unless you are exempt from wearing a face covering, we ask that you do wear one. However, there is now no need to wear a face covering when attending the church for private prayer during the week.
Why can members of the choir sing without face coverings?
Because the choir leads our singing its members need to be able to sing without face coverings on. Also, a separate risk assessment means that members of the choir are at least 2m apart, whereas members of the congregation may not be able to maintain social distance, which therefore requires mitigation.
Will children be coming to the front during the 9.15am Joyful Noise?
While there are still concerns about the virus we will try to minimise movement during the service, which means families will stay in their pews.
Why can’t Holy Communion be administered in both kinds for those who wish?
The remaining consecrated wine has to consumed, normally by the priest celebrating the Eucharist or another minister. So, to avoid risk of transmission to our clergy, we will continue to administer Holy Communion in one kind only for now. This is a valid way to receive Holy Communion, and the Church teaches that, when we receive Holy Communion in one kind only, we still receive the fullness of the sacrament. The grace given in Holy Communion is not halved by receiving just the bread.
Who can I share the Peace with?
While many people will want to continue to practise social distancing, we are not recommending sharing the Peace physically. This does not stop you sharing the peace with those in your household, or with those who you already know to be comfortable shaking hands. However, the symbolism of the Peace is better expressed by everyone sharing it in spirit.
Do I need to use Test and Trace?
The government is encouraging use of Test and Trace, and the QR code and Test and Trace forms are available. However, there is no requirement to use them.
What are the cleaning arrangements?
The church is professionally cleaned on Saturday and Sunday evenings, including frequently touched surfaces. The latest science makes clear that the virus is principally spread by particles in the air, and that there is little or no evidence of it being spread by surfaces. This is why we are now dispensing with the need for pews to be cleaned between every service. This is also why we are reintroducing the use of hassocks (kneelers) and orders of service for some services. Hand sanitiser will still be available.
What about ventilation?
Ventilation is seen as a key factor in slowing the spread of the virus. We will continue to keep some windows in church open permanently, and for doors to remain open during services. Of course, St Paul’s Church is naturally very well-ventilated; it is by far the tallest indoor space in Winchmore Hill, and, as we know from the winter months, perfectly draughty!
What should I do if I am uncomfortable with the new arrangements?
The 8am Said Eucharist never includes singing, and the levels of attendance mean that it should be easy to maintain social distancing. The same is true for our Wednesday 11am Holy Communion. We will also continue to live-stream the Sunday 10.30am Sung Eucharist on our YouTube channel.