COVID-19 UPDATE

Latest Update – Sunday 5th July, 2020

Dear Gateway Family,

On Tuesday the 23rd of June, Boris Johnson announced that Places of Worship would be allowed to open from the 4th July, though in a limited capacity. This is something we have been waiting for, for a long time. Since that announcement, we have eagerly awaited the accompanying guidance, which was finally released this past Monday (29th June).

It is our number one desire and prayer that we re-open our doors in a way that is safe for everyone in our church family. In a way that will keep our witness positive to the community that we are called to love and serve.

We have been pouring over this document, and seeking our hearts as to just how to re-open. The government has given both mandatory and recommended guidelines that we are committed to comply with as we begin to meet onsite again.

There are a couple of key factors that we MUST work with. They are:

  • The Bethel Convention Centre is not allowed to open at this time.
  • We are not allowed to sing together.
  • Meetings must be of a short duration.
  • We must abide by current social distancing guidelines, (1-2 metres, depending on mitigating factors.) using markers, queue guidelines, and flow organisation (such as staggered exiting).
  • We must keep an accurate temporary record of those who come to Gateway which must be provided to NHS Test and Trace upon request.
  • Vulnerable people and those with any symptoms should be advised to stay at home.

These have led us to sadly conclude, that our Sunday morning services must remain solely on the live stream platform at this current time.

But, we will not be limited by this as a church family. As we continue to pray for the day that we can fully swing the doors open and worship together with all our hearts, we will re-open in other vital ways. We have prepared a staged system to facilitate this, which is outlined in its basic form, below. Please note that only the first stages are provided at this time. Further stages will be released as we have the accompanying government
guidance.

As we begin this process, we want you to know that we will be closely monitoring everything that is occurring. We will be carefully and prayerfully weighing every decision we make. Our vision has not changed – Gateway is a place where passion gathers, and chains are broken, where love is felt, and hope is re-born.

We will not be a place of fear. We will not be a place that makes people feel uncomfortable or unsafe, judged or inadequate. We are a family. From our most vulnerable, to the strongest in their faith – we will walk this together. We will care for each other to the utmost of our ability & beyond.

SO HOW WILL CHURCH LOOK?

STAGE ONE

Tentatively scheduled to begin on Thursday, the 9th July

Prayer Gatherings

Prayer meetings will launch!

We must ask ourselves: Could there be anything more important or productive that we do during these current times, than to gather together and seek His face?

These will take place every Sunday evening until the end of August (government restrictions permitting). Be watching your inbox and mychurchsuite this week for the date of the first one.

Unfortunately, for social distancing purposes; these prayer meetings must be limited to 25 people. But don’t worry, we will also be ‘broadcasting’ these prayer meetings through a Zoom Webinar experience, so that no-one need miss out on the prayer itself.

Both the on-site prayer and Zoom Webinar broadcasts of these gatherings; can be signed up for on mychurchsuite.

Team Gatherings

Team meetings will re-commence. These will be a very important part of re-opening our campus, particularly as many of us need to learn the COVID-19 guidelines that we will be following in order to safely open our church home further to family and friends in the days to come.

For those of you who serve on the various teams, watch your in-box for any further information from your coordinators. But don’t worry: as a volunteer, you will only be asked to be a part of what makes you feel safe, and keeps your heart (and family) at peace. Being together and serving one another should feel a blessing, never a curse.

(Please see Addendum for further practical information regarding Phase 1.)

STAGE TWO

Scheduled to begin approximately three weeks after STAGE ONE has been successfully implemented and reviewed.

(This will, of course; be subject to any changes in government guidelines)

Prayer Gatherings

These will continue with the likelihood of numbers greater than 25. Other changes may also occur, provided lockdown easing continues.

Team Gatherings

…will continue.

‘Family’ Gatherings

As the UK continues to pull forward and through this pandemic, we will be very excited to begin meeting in small social gatherings (with hospitality service)!

To see one another, to share with & encourage one another – without a computer screen!, will be a truly blessed moment for all of us.

But it is our desire to ensure that this is done safely, and that our staff and volunteers are fully trained and ready, so we will wait until Stage Two of our Re-Opening, and ensure that we get this right.

GATHERINGS already in the works:

  • YOUTH GATHERING
  • FLOURISH WOMEN’S PICNIC GATHERING
  • COURAGEOUS MEN’S GATHERING
  • With more to follow…

HOW YOU CAN HELP US CARE FOR ONE ANOTHER:

  • If you don’t feel well or have health concerns, please stay home.
  • Please wash your hands and use hand sanitiser often.
  • Avoid touching your face, and cover any coughs with a tissue.
  • Please maintain a distance of 2 metres between yourself and other
    attendees. Do not hug, or shake hands with anyone.
  • Please be conscious that not everyone is sharing your exact experience right now. Masks, gloves, even body armour – however someone comes we will rejoice to be together and celebrate small and big steps of faith.
  • Please keep any outside “fellowship time”, in line with current government guidelines for outside gatherings and practice social distancing.

COVID-19 VOLUNTEERS

Would you consider volunteering during this time?

Many of our faithful team members are vulnerable themselves, or shielding to keep a loved one safe. Many have children who they cannot leave at home alone, in order to serve. So at this time, we need to raise up a special team who are able to help us safely and securely follow the COVID-19 guidelines so that we can function as church!

We will need

  • Bathroom attendants (to wipe surfaces such as handles and faucets)
  • Welcome and exiting stewards
  • Cleaning assistants after events (to wipe chairs, door handles, etc)
  • Hospitality stewards (when we move to stage 2)
  • and much more!

If this is something that you could help us with, please email
ian@igateway.org.uk today! And thank you in advance for your assistance in opening our church back up.

AS WE MOVE FORWARD:

We realise church gatherings may not look or feel “normal” for several weeks. These should be considered temporary measures – they will not become our “new normal”, but rather a means to an end.

Our goal is to create an environment where every concern, fear and anxiety is removed. If everyone feels safe, guards can be let down so we are all free to receive from both the Father, and the love of our church family.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out by contacting ian@igateway.org.uk.

We love you, we miss you, and we can’t wait to see you.

Jon and Angela
and all the Gateway staff and elders

ADDENDUM

STAGE ONE – PRACTICAL GUIDELINES:

  • Rooms will be set up to maintain social distancing of 2 metres between households/social bubbles.
  • No one under the age of 15 will be permitted into the building during Stage One. We will limit the auditorium capacity to 25.
  • To gain access to the building, you will need to sign up to the meeting in advance, and have received your QR code or email confirmation.
  • Unfortunately, you will be turned away at the door, if you have not signed up in advance.
  • Screening questions will be asked when you sign-up. If you answer ‘yes’ to any question, we ask that you refrain from attending the meeting.
  • After you sign up, you will receive a confirmation, along with further instructions related to the meeting you have signed up for (i.e. when the doors will open, staggered exiting instructions, etc).
  • There will be a welcome steward stationed outside the entry doors, and at the auditorium door.
  • Everyone will be required to use hand sanitiser provided as they enter.
  • Additional hand sanitising stations will be placed in various locations, including the exit.
  • You are welcome to wear gloves and/or a mask. (Disposable gloves will be available upon entry, should you desire.)
  • Volunteers will be required to wear gloves.
  • The Entry door stewards will provide verbal instructions before entering.
  • The Auditorium door stewards will assist you in finding a seat, in accordance with social distancing guidelines.
  • There will be a one way system in place. Please follow the signs.
  • The toilets will be operating on a one-in, one-out policy. We ask that you only use the facilities if necessary.
  • We will have a volunteer stationed to wipe down the bathroom door handles and faucets.
  • No paper information will be passed out during Stage One.
  • Please, no shaking hands or hugs during Stage One.
  • No hospitality will be provided, but feel welcome to bring your own drink.
  • We will exit the meetings by sections to maintain social distancing requirements.
  • Vulnerable people and those with any symptoms should be advised to stay at home

Please note: Stage Two practical guidelines will be released at a later date.

Contact us

Front Building, Kelvin Way, West Bromwich, B70 7JW

0121-439-3390

info@igateway.org.uk

A registered charity in England & Wales - Reg Charity No. 1136007

© Gateway Christian Centre