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We are the Church of England serving the parishes of Claydon and Barham, Henley and Great Blakenham, in the heart of Suffolk.

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Information regarding the opening of the Claydon Group of Churches.

You will all have heard, I am sure, that the government has allowed the opening of churches for private prayer from this weekend.  Many will be delighted by this news, but it is actually more complicated than you might think. Following a committee meeting of all three churches: Barham, Great Blakenham and Henley, with our Rural Dean, the Reverend Diane Williams, we have made the following decisions: Each church must have a Risk Assessment carried out (a legal requirement), at which we will assess how to make our buildings Covid-secure, the assessment will also include deciding the number of people we can safely have in each church at any one time.  This could possibly mean that we have to restrict access to our buildings.  Once the Risk Assessment is in place each building must be thoroughly cleaned.  We are currently in the process of purchasing the appropriate cleansing products.  Once cleaned, some areas will be cordoned off, thus restricting public access to certain areas of each churches.  When the churches are opened, we will be putting in place a rota of volunteers to stay in each church in a supervisory capacity.  The churches must all be cleansed again once the doors are closed.  Sanitising hand gel must be used by everybody upon entry to and departure from the church.  Gel will be provided at each of our churches.  For track and tracing purposes, we will request names and mobile numbers of those who come in for prayer. Sadly we can offer no refreshments, nor can we allow use of the toilet. This all seems very alien to the way we are used to speaking about, welcoming in and the using of our ancient and beautiful church buildings.  We are also aware and are sorry that this information may dash the hopes of some.  But we are still in the stage of having to tread very carefully, and just as the government has had to, so do we have to learn as we are going along. Whilst we are pleased that people can once again come in and enjoy the peace in our church buildings, we do have to point out that we must adhere to the current government rules. If you or anyone in your household is displaying symptoms of Covid-19, we must ask you not to come into church.  Self-isolation should last for 7 days if you have symptoms, and for 14 days if someone in your household has symptoms.  Funerals with very small congregations are also permitted in churches from next week.  The arrangements for these will be discussed individually with each family as and when required. Again, we will ask that everyone adhere to the government guidance on isolation. Please note that our churches are only open for private prayer or small funerals – not for any other reason. Sadly, for all the reasons above, our churches simply cannot stay open all day every day as we have previously enjoyed.  I detail below the dates and times of our churches being open for private prayer are as follows:

Saturday 27 June / Saturday 4 July / Saturday 11 July / Saturday 18 July

Great Blakenham Church:  10.00am – 12 noon

Barham Church:  2.00 – 4.00 pm

Sunday 28 June / Sunday 5 July / Sunday 12 July / Sunday 19 July

Henley Church  2.00 – 4.00pm

We will review these arrangements in due course, and decide if any changes need to be made.  Should you wish to receive a prayerful telephone call from within our own benefice, please feel free to contact either of the numbers below: Reverend Jenny Ablett  Tel: 01473 830205 Wendy Hooper Tel: 01473 846642 Both Rev Jenny and Wendy are well known across all three churches, and are very happy to spend a little time with you in prayer via the telephone. Also available is the ʻDaily hope phone lineʼ – 0800 804 8044 – The Church of England has launched a free phone line of hymns, reflections and prayers.  The phone line is available 24 hours a day and is ideal for those unable to join online church services.
I am aware that there is a great deal of information here, but we feel it important that you know of all the decisions being made in order that we can welcome people back into our churches.  Should you have any concerns with regard to this information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

With kind regards Cathy Austin

Tel: 01473 830100

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