Two churches in St Neots will be opening their doors this Sunday for congregational services.
St Mary’s Church, in Eynesbury, St Neots and St Neots Parish Church will be welcoming members after putting in plans that adhere to the Government’s guidelines.
St Mary’s Church (Eynesbury) opened for personal prayer for the first-time last Thursday with social distancing in place, a one way in and out system and hand sanitisers were provided.
The Rev Paul Hutchinson said only a small amount of people attended, but personal prayer will continue every Thursday at the church.
There are also plans to start personal prayer at St Neots Parish Church, but Rev Hutchinson said he had been busy preparing for the Sunday services.
He said: “We are working towards opening for congregational services on Sunday in both churches this week.
“I have been following the Government guidelines about reopening and will be taking strict measures to keep it a safe environment.
“We will be taking out every other pew to create social distancing and a maximum capacity of 49 bubbles will be allowed. I will be informing members of the congregation what they will need to do before coming to the church.”
The Rev Hutchindon said there would be people on hand to supervise the congregation to help them to maintain social distancing.
“We will be having an organist on Sunday, but no congregational singing will be allowed or choir, which is going to be quite difficult for a lot of people not to be able to worship. “There will be a service at 8am and at 9:30 am at St Neots Parish Church and then I will hold a service at St Mary’s Eynesbury church at 11am.
“I am positive that we are going to go ahead this Sunday with our services, we have cleaned the church also before their arrival.
“I recognise people might not want to come and for the people who feel confident to come we will treat their safety as our number one priority.
“We have also held two funeral services at St Neots Parish Church and have another one booked. Our online services will continue and have been well received and they will be there for people who wish to continue watching online.”
Charlie Newcombe, minister of Christ Church, in Huntingdon, says people have been accessing his online church services from all over the world.
He said: “People have been watching our online services in Czech Republic, China and South Africa, which is quite remarkable.
“One lady said it was the highlight of her week. We hold a coffee after church on Zoom where people are encouraged to chat and connect with one another.
“Because we hold our church services in St Peter’s School we cannot reopen until the school allows lettings again.
“We are not sure at this moment in time when we will reopen for services, it maybe possibly September.”
In a statement the Diocese of Ely said: Churches can reopen if they can and are safe to do so. They shouldn’t feel that they have to open, just because the announcement has been made.
It is important firstly that they follow the government guidelines and feel confident that they can reopen safely.”