From Sunday 27th September we shall begin again to use the Chapel at York St. John University for Sunday Liturgies and some evening services. We have been waiting patiently for this moment for what seems a long time. It will be a great joy to be able to see one another once again and share together the Holy Gifts and praise Almighty God.
However the way in which we can use the building will be very different from before. Our bishop, Metropolitan Silouan, has made it clear to the clergy that we are to follow UK Government Guidelines on the use of churches for worship. In addition, the University has given us a set of rules which we must follow if we want to continue to use the chapel. So it is important, no matter what opinion you have about the current situation, to please follow these instructions so that we can continue to use the chapel for our Orthodox worship.
Please read the following instructions very carefully.
Who can attend?
If you have any COVID-19 symptoms (persistent cough, high temperature, loss of taste or smell, extreme tiredness, diarrhoea) do NOT come to church. Phone NHS 111 and ask for advice.
If you are shielding or live with someone who is shielding, or if you are vulnerable to infections or have an underlying health risk do NOT come to church.
Do NOT bring children who have colds or coughs; COVID symptoms can manifest more mildly in children.
This is for your protection, and the protection of others in the parish. We will continue to stream the Sunday Liturgy for those who cannot come as we have been doing while the Chapel was been closed.
What to do if you want to attend
Because of social distancing rules the number of people in the chapel is very restricted, so please complete the monthly booking form which we will send you. This is also necessary so that we can follow the UK Government Track & Trace Regulations.
If you just turn up without booking there is a chance you will not be able to enter the chapel for the Liturgy, if it is already full.
What to do when you arrive
You MUST wear a face mask/face covering. It is a legal requirement, which if infringed, may cause you to get a fine.
Enter the chapel by the usual doors. There is a strict one-way system. Do NOT try to leave by these doors. If you wish to leave the chapel during the service; perhaps you feel unwell, or you must deal with a child, please don’t worry. You can leave through the “Fire Exit” door on the left-hand side of the chapel. Come in again through the usual doors when you are ready.
Inside the chapel is a hand-sanitizer station. Please use it. There are spare face masks for those who have forgotten theirs. You will be directed to a seat by the steward.
If you wish to light a candle you will be given one by the gloved steward. Place your money in the basket. Icons & sand tray are at the back of the main aisle.
You must NOT kiss any icons or crosses. Bow reverently instead. Do not kiss the clergy’s hands, either.
No collection during the liturgy. We hope you will wish to make an offering to the parish in the usual way. Please place it in the wooden plate. More information about online giving will be coming soon.
Refreshments & Leaving
No refreshments after the service. Please leave immediately after the Dismissal. Use the Fire Exit door on the left side of the chapel. Follow the floor markings.
Communion & Antidoron
We will offer communion but in a slightly different way.
No queuing. People will come up either individually, or in a family group. Everyone must remain in their place until that person, or group, has received and returned to their place. Lips can be wiped with tissues provided. Do NOT use the red kalima cloth. That is only for protection against spilling.
Antidoron will be given by being placed in your hand by someone with gloves and wearing a mask. Do not kiss the cross. Simply bow.
In both these activities you must maintain the social distance rules.
Families with children
Parents must ensure that their children stay with them in the same place throughout the Liturgy.
Books, colouring sheets and pencils cannot be supplied by the church at the moment. If your children need such things you must bring them with you and take them away afterwards.
Toilet and other facilities
The University has not closed the chapel toilet, but please use it with care. If you are waiting to use it remember to remain socially distanced.
Kitchen: no more than 2 people are allowed in at one time. If you use a cup for a drink of water, you must then wash it with soap and water – better still bring your own water just in case!
No books, pamphlets or leaflets will be available. If you usually use one of our booklets to follow the service, and you do not have your own copy, please contact the clergy. We will send you a copy of your own to bring and take away with you.
Thank you for your continuing prayers and support during the lockdown. Now please help us to restore and maintain our Orthodox worship in the chapel. We will let you know when any of these circumstances change. Keep looking at our parish website or Facebook page and contact the clergy if you need individual help or advice. God bless you. Stay safe.