All Saints Church Nunney is now open again every day for private prayer from at least 2pm to 5pm.
The church was temporarily closed during the coronavirus lockdown.
Places of worship play an important role in providing spiritual leadership for many individuals, and in bringing communities and generations together.
However, their communal nature also makes them places that are particularly vulnerable to the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Under the current law places of worship are permitted to open solely for the following purposes:
funerals, in line with restrictions on those who can attend
to broadcast an act of worship, whether over the internet or as part of a radio or television broadcast
to provide essential voluntary services or urgent public support services, including the provision of food banks or other support for the homeless or vulnerable people, blood donation sessions, or in support of an emergency
for early years childcare provided by a person registered on the Early Years Register
Risk assessments have been undertaken and guidelines are in place to help ensure safe distancing and regular sanitising of surfaces.
The pandemic and subsequent lockdown has thrown into focus the tight finances on which our parish of five churches is run.
Postlebury parish ended 2019 with a tiny surplus on the account. This is what is used for the day-to-day running of Fr Anthony’s work in the parish and for paying the Parish Share, the contribution that all churches pay towards salaries of working priests and pensions for those in retirement.
This and other expenditure came to just over £50,000. This was just about covered from regular donations, collections at services, fees from wedding and funerals and, of course, fundraising events that raised over £6,500.
The parish also has ‘restricted’ money that can only be spent on the church buildings or graveyards. The funds come from bequests, some more than 100 years old, invested in shares which pay dividends, as well donations specifically for a church project – such as the roof restoration at Nunney. In 2019, £25,000 of this restricted money was used to maintain and improve the parish’s five church buildings.
During lockdown services, weddings, funerals and fundraising had to stop. No weddings will take place this year. It is not yet clear when weekly services will resume. Regular fundraising events, such as Nunney Street Fayre, Wine & Cheese Evenings, will not be happening.
As the parish relies heavily on volunteers, there was little room to save money. Fr Anthony has continued to work as best he can, carrying out pastoral work and services at crematoria where allowed. There is always administrative work to be done and staff were ineligble to be furloughed. As spring arrived, heating and lighting bills were minimal.
With no government help on the horizon, the parish must try and bridge the gap by finding opportunities for fundraising in the autumn or over the winter and by asking parish residents to help.
Many regular donors give by monthly standing order. A letter to other residents asking for donations or standing orders has so far had an encouraging response.
If you would like more information, or would like to offer help in any way, by donating, helping with fundraising but also helping churchwardens with getting churches ready to reopen in due course, please contact the treasurer, Hilary Allom, on 01373 836 297 or your local churchwarden.