Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) regarding provision for public worship at St James’s
[This update: 14 May 2022—recent changes highlighted in pink]
When are worship and prayer services at St James’s?
St James’s in-person worship service times from 1 January 2022:
10 am: Sung Parish Eucharist, with sermon, hymns and Holy Communion. Hybrid service—in the church building. simultaneously online via Zoom and live-streamed on St James’s Facebook page
[Much of this guidance regards the Sunday 10am worship service in the church building.]
10 am: Said Communion Service, held in person in the Lady Chapel (not online)
9.30 am: Morning prayer in the Lady Chapel (also online).
What are the provisions for transport and parking?
The bus stop across the street from church (labelled ‘Green Street’) is refurbished and back in operation, and the 121, 279 and 307 busses will all stop there.
Given that there is no longer any street parking on the Hertford Road in front of the church, there are three options for alternative parking:
In the car park of the Enfield Highway Community Centre, north and adjacent to the church; most parking spaces are to the rear of the building, but there are two ‘Blue Badge’ spaces nearer the street.
More than twenty (20) unrestricted parking spaces—on the street and in two car parks—at Archers Drive (access from Yeomans Lane, second left off Brick Lane), plus dedicated ‘Blue Badge’ spaces. There is a pedestrian short-cut from Archers Drive leading to the Hertford Road by the start of the shopping parade and opposite the Community Centre.
Sixteen (16) parking spaces in two car parks accessible from the lane between Durants Park and the churchyard, by the old Bowls Club (on either side of the building).
What do I need to do when I enter church?
Those arriving (whether as individuals, couples, or families/households)
will be asked to apply hand gel at the back of church
will be welcome to wear a mask (or take one if they didn’t arrive with one)
will be encouraged to make space between them and other worshippers
will be encouraged in the dedicated socially distanced seating area in the back of church, if they are particularly vulnerable.
Those who are feeling symptoms consistent with Covid-19 should, as ever, refrain from coming into church for worship.
What restrictions are there for seating?
Most of the pews are unrestricted for seating, though we do ask worshippers to maintain a one-metre distance in the pew from those in another household/bubble.
There is a section of three pews on the pulpit side in the rear, just in front of the font area, reserved for those who might welcome socially distanced seating (particularly those who are vulnerable.
These are the areas that are not available for seating:
The upstairs gallery (accessible only when downstairs has reached full capacity);
The choir stalls, as they are at a 90° angle to those sitting in the front-facing pews;
Will I able to sit in my usual place in church, as I did before lockdown?
Possibly, but with this provision:
the last three pews on the pulpit side will be reserved for those who wish to sit socially distanced; if worshippers do not require that, we ask that they leave the seats in those pews free, to make them available for those who do.
Do I have to wear a face mask in church?
Though the legal requirement for mask-wearing in places of worship has been rescinded from 27 January, we are nonetheless still welcoming worshippers to have their nose and mouth covered while in church, and particularly during communion.
I find wearing masks uncomfortable—could I attend church wearing a transparent face visor instead?
Visors have been determined to be not a viable alternative to a face covering made of cloth (woven material) that covers the nose and mouth. That said, if wearing a visor might bring you peace of mind, no-one will prevent you. Nonetheless, you will be seated in the dedicated socially distanced seating in church.
What provision is there for children?
The crèche upstairs will be open again, but families are encouraged to bring their own toys for their children to play.
Junior Church has yet to re-start, given the lack of numbers of leaders and helpers.
Will we be singing hymns in church?
We have resumed the singing of hymns at the 10am service.
Can we share the Peace with each other?
We have resumed the passing of the Peace, but there still may be worshippers who might feel uncomfortable about physical contact with others; sharing the sign of peace by waving in this case would still be very welcome and appropriate.
While you may wish to physically share the sign of peace with those in your household, we encourage you to be understanding of others who don’t feel yet ready for direct physical contact.
Will there be an offertory collection?
We have resumed the offertory collection during the service. Collection plates are passed around the congregation. We appreciate that some worshippers might feel uncomfortable with handling items.
In that case, worshippers would still be able make their offering in a number of ways:
There is a contactless donation terminal in the back as you come into church.
Cheques, cash and envelopes can be placed in the collection dish next to the contactless terminal. We have gift aid envelopes on hand that you can take home if you would like to make a donation via cheque or cash.
There will be collection plates available on both sides as you leave the church, also to allow you to make a contactless donation.
There is provision for online donations via a link on the weekly electronic newsletter and at the bottom the home page of St James’s website.
If you would like to be a regular giver to St James’s via standing order, please contact our Stewardship Secretary, Carol Harvey, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is the toilet available should I need it?
The toilet remains open; the toilet, basin, and all items that can be touched (including grips and handles) should be sanitised with antiviral wipes provided for the next visitor to the toilet, as it had been done by the previous user.
We ask that the area outside the toilet in the vestibule be left clear, to maintain proper distance, and not to hinder access to those requiring it.
Will we have access to hymnals and pew sheets?
Everything you will need will be projected on the screen, but if you require a hymnal (particularly a large-print one), these will be available at the back of church.
We are only printing a small number of pew sheets on a Sunday for those who don’t receive the weekly e-newsletter.
Can I light a candle while in church?
The votive candle stand (also called the ‘pricket sound’) has returned to the area between the sanctuary and the choir vestry, to the left of the altar, but we will still ask that people light candles from an existing flame, to prevent the over-handling of items.
If there is a particular person or situation you would like us to pray for, please be in touch with the vicar (mobile 07944 25 25 23, or email by clicking here: email@example.com).
Can we receive communion?
Of course, with the following provisions:
Communion for the congregation has resumed in both kinds (both bread and wine) We also have a chalice that contains non-alcoholic communion wine.
The elements (gifts) are not yet being brought up to the altar from the back of church.
After the Peace, the minister will receive a head count from the stewards.
Those receiving communion are invited to have their nose and mouth covered by a facemask, if they have one with them.
People should come up to the communion rail via the centre aisle and be mindful of others, and it is recommended that they leave a bit of distance to those who are not in their household.
There will be hand gel in the centre aisle between the choir stalls; everyone should sanitise her/his hands before coming up the chancel steps.
Once at the communion rail, worshippers are welcome to kneel or stand as they are willing and able.
After receiving blessed bread, worshippers may remain to receive the chalice, but if they feel not yet ready to receive the chalice, they can return to their seats.
Those leaving the altar area should return to their seats in the pews via the side aisles, to maintain a one-way system.
I have mobility issues that will prevent me from walking that distance around the church. Can I still receive Communion?
If this is the case for you, please make a steward aware of this as you enter the church building for the worship service. After the stewards receive, the eucharistic minister will come to the aisle near where you are seated. You should have hand gel with you, and you should sanitise your hands before receiving a piece of bread (fully masked, please, and with arms outstretched).
If I don’t receive Communion in church, can I receive a blessing instead?
Of course! Please come to the communion rail, cross your arms over your chest, and after the rest have received, the minister will pronounce a blessing, and then everyone at the communion rail will be dismissed together.
Can I bring my own wine to church for it to be blessed at the 10am service?
Unfortunately, this is not allowed according to Church of England guidelines, as all the elements need to be blessed by the priest at the altar, and only the priest will be permitted at present to take the chalice in church.
Those worshipping from home at our online and hybrid worship services are encouraged to have bread and wine for Communion.
Can we have individual cups of blessed wine at communion, as some other churches do?
While this is indeed the practice of some churches, this is not the practice in Anglican churches, as Canon Law of the Church of England only authorises the use of a chalice (the ‘common cup’). For the present, communion for the congregation will be only in one kind (bread only).
Will there be tea and coffee after service on Sunday morning?
Yes, after the 10am Sunday service:
At the end of the 10am service, tea, coffee and biscuits will be available from the cart near the kitchen. There will be a volunteer on hand to provide hot drinks, and cold drinks upon request.
We ask that people neither crowd nor congregate near the entrance to the kitchen to receive tea and coffee. Once they have received their tea or coffee, we will ask that they take a seat in the pews before taking off their mask and drinking or eating.
We will ask that, until further notice, families refrain from bringing in cake or other baked goods to church, without seeking permission of the vicar and/or churchwardens.
Will the church building at St James’s open at any other times?
The church will be open on Wednesdays for 10am midweek communion service in the Lady Chapel, followed by fellowship at the back of church.
We have also reinstated our weekly coffee morning and open church on Saturday mornings.
Provision for refreshments on Wednesday and Saturday mornings will be different from those for Sunday morning, as there will be ‘table service’ with the help of volunteers.
What will be the hygiene regimen at church?
Once worshippers have visited the toilet, we ask that they sanitise the toilet, basin, the hand-dryer, and anything else that might have been touched, just as it was done by the previous person to have used the toilet.
The kitchen will be sanitised at the end of Sunday worship.
We ask that worshippers sanitise their hands as they enter and leave the church building, as well as before and immediately after receiving communion.
How long will these provisions be in effect?
These provisions will be reviewed regularly by the vicar and churchwardens, in keeping with changing legislation from HM Government and official guidance from the Church of England.
Our guidelines and recommendations they are for everyone’s safety, and worshippers are St James’s are nonetheless grateful that public worship has resumed.