Norwich church beats odds to resume services
Scaffolding, leaks and falling plaster – as well as coronavirus - have not deterred the congregation of Christ Church in Eaton from resuming collective worship. Rosalind Wright reports from the parish.
On July 5 a number of people came together at Christ Church for Evening Prayer, the first service that had taken place in the building since March. It was a memorable occasion.
One congregant said: “We worshipped amidst orange plastic and scaffolding, but nevertheless, we worshipped. It was good to be back in the place after so many months.” Since then, the church has held 8am Communion services within the building.
Like many other churches, Christ Church, Eaton had carefully opened its doors for private prayer when given the green light this June – with cordoned-off pews and sanitiser at the ready. Now that the government has sanctioned a socially distanced, and Covid-19-sensitive return to worship, the challenge is how to keep buildings clean if you normally run more than one service in one day.
There is also the question of how to reach out to people who are not able to physically enter a building, or who are uneasy about so doing because of fears about catching the virus. Unless you operate in a very large building, or you are prepared to do a complete clean of the building in between services, you cannot run more than one service in a day.
Christ Church faced another challenge: historic leaks in the roof had led to damage near the chancel arch including bulges in plaster, cracks and pieces of plaster falling off. The church had to be closed for five weeks so that the necessary repair work could be done.
So, three weeks after the church opened for private prayer, it closed again, but not completely. There will be another 8am Communion service on July 26, and a BCP Communion Evening Service on August 2 at 6.30pm.
Weekday 9am Morning Prayer, 10am Sunday morning and other Evening Prayer services continue on Zoom.