Stalbridge Parochial Church Council held a virtual meeting to examine, under the latest guidance available to them, the methods and routines to be used to open the building for public access. The suggested plan was to open the church building on a Wednesday and Sunday between the hours of 10.00am and 4.00pm. After much soul searching the PCC felt that it could not put in place the measures required to guarantee the safety of anybody who may choose to use the church and maintain the standard required for public safety.
The PCC realise that this is a disappointment to the community around Stalbridge but will continue to monitor the latest information on the situation from the government and church authorities so as we are able to open the building as soon as possible.
The Rural Ministry team and Bishop Karen have acknowledged how difficult it is for those of us in small rural parishes to reopen churches and have come up with a new and innovative option which the PCC are putting in place. We are establishing a “Local Prayer Space” which will be centred on the bench which is just outside the church door of St Mary’s church; there will be signs to show where this is. There are some benefits to this option as there are beautiful views of the Blackmore Vale and the churchyard from there and it is accessible all day and every day. The usual social distancing rules will apply but there will be no other restrictions needed.
The churchwardens and the PCC welcome anyone who wishes to sit and pray or meditate at the Local Prayer Space and hope it will be some comfort to those who need it. Thank you everyone for your understanding and patience at this time".