COVID-19 | St Peter's Great Berkhamsted

The Church of St Peter Great Berkhamsted


Following recent government and Church of England announcements, the doors of St Peter’s are open again for public worship on Sunday mornings.

We have special arrangements in place to protect everyone’s health during the Coronavirus pandemic, and these are explained below. In order to comply with social distancing guidance, we have capacity for 100 people. This means that some people may be sitting in the Lady Chapel or in the choir stalls which have no view of the altar. Please book your space in advance to help us to manage numbers.

Please take some time to read the guidance below carefully. We appreciate that this is a lot to take in. The stewards will be on duty on Sundays to help you and to ensure that your experience of attending St Peter’s is as safe and as regular as possible.

We will be continually monitoring and reviewing our Sunday morning worship so as to ensure we meet your welfare needs most appropriately.

With kind regards

Tim Hennessey & Mark Grego

Guidance for visitors

These guidelines are for anyone who comes to St Peter’s for a service, private prayer or an event such as a concert:

Entry will be via the main west door only. If you need level access via the south door or a wheelchair space, please let the Parish Office know by Friday.

  • Please arrive in good time. The doors will open from 9.00 and the congregation must be in their seats by 9.25 to prevent any bottlenecks or compromises to our social distancing.
  • Please queue along the south side of the church along the pavement, next to the low wall. Please observe social distancing. Chalk markers on the pavement will indicate 2m spacing.
  • The toilets and the Court House will be open briefly before and after the service.  The stewards at the back have the key if you need to go out during the service.
  • Please ‘check in’ with the steward on arrival. Government guidance includes a request for the names of all attendees to be recorded and kept for 21 days to assist NHS Test and Trace if required.
  • You will also be asked to sanitise your hands on arrival. Face coverings are required, unless you are exempt.
  • Seating: please wait until a steward is available to direct you to your seat. We will be filling up from the front of the church and spacing groups out according to social distancing guidance.   Families with young children may prefer to sit in the Lady Chapel where there is more space to move around.  Once seated please remain in your seat throughout the service. Households or support bubbles should arrive and sit together.
  • Hymn books and service sheets should be collected on arrival and returned to the box at the back when you leave where they will be sealed away until the following week.
  • Face coverings: Face coverings must be worn by all those attending a place of worship, including ministers, worshippers, staff, volunteers, contractors and visitors.  Face coverings may be removed by the priest, reader, intercessor and choir when speaking or singing.  A face covering is something which safely covers the nose and mouth. You can buy reusable or single-use face coverings. You may also use a scarf, bandana, religious garment or hand-made cloth covering but these must securely fit round the side of the face. Please could all those attending on Sundays ensure that they bring a face covering. Those exempt are:
    1. young children under the age of 11
    2. not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
    3. if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
    4. if you are travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
  • Children: The toys and soft furnishings have been removed from the children’s corner.  Children will need to remain in the pew with their households throughout the service.  Families with young children may prefer to sit in the Lady Chapel where there is more room to move around.
  • Sunday Club will be run during the sermon in the St Catherine Chapel for primary school aged children.
  • There will be no congregational singing. A small choir may be present to provide music in worship. Singers will be working strictly in line with guidance issued by the Church of England and HM Government. If there is no choir, the hymns and the service setting will be played on a backing track and you may hum along quietly.
  • Responses will be spoken. Please do not raise your voice or – perish the thought! – shout!
  • The peace may be shared by a nod of the head, smile and wave.
  • Communion the Sacrament will be offered to any who wish to receive it. The Sacament will be of “one kind”, i.e. consecrated bread, but no wine. In the current health situation, for those who would prefer not to receive the bread of the Eucharist, the Prayer of Spiritual Communion may be said instead. This prayer will be available on the printed sheet which will be available in your pew.
  • Offertory: A cash collection will not be taken. However, should you wish, giving may be done electronically as you leave St Peter’s; the contactless terminal will be available at the back of church. You can also make a donation by text message using your own mobile phone.
  • If you become unwell with symptoms of COVID-19 in the church, you should alert a steward before going home immediately, and are advised to follow the stay at home guidance. If you need clinical advice, you should go online to the NHS 111 website (or call 111 if you don’t have internet access).
  • Departure: If you would like to leave immediately after the final hymn, please stand.  A steward will indicate when you can leave.  If you would like to stay to listen to the organ voluntary, please remain seated and stewards will come and collect you at the end.
  • Please take your hymn book and service booklet and drop them in the box at the back of church at the end of the service, where it will be left untouched for the rest of the week, allowing it to be free of any possible contamination by the following week.
  • Please exit immediately via the west door and sanitise your hands.
  • There will be no coffee after the service.
  • Once you’ve left the building, please ensure you maintain social distancing and don’t gather in large groups on the church steps or car park, to ensure all can exit safely and quickly.
  • Seats at events are strictly limited to ensure we can maintain social distancing.
  • Please be sure reserve your ticket with the concert performers in advance as we cannot admit people who have not booked. Please do not turn up on the night hoping to get a ticket.
  • Ticket details are normally published in the parish news bulletin two weeks before the concert. Additionally, many of our regular performing groups offer online booking on their websites – you can find links on our concerts page.
  • Please arrive early to reduce the need to queue. If you are queuing to get in, please observe social distancing and keep 2m apart.
  • Please ‘check in’ with the steward on arrival. Government guidance includes a request for the names of all attendees to be recorded and kept for 21 days to assist NHS Test and Trace if required.
  • Please wait to be seated by an event steward.
  • Please wear a face covering to all events.

NHS Test & Trace QR codes are now on display around St Peter’s Church building. These are for the official NHS Test & Trace mobile phone app, and they work like a supermarket bar code. Whenever you visit St Peter’s, simply point your mobile phone camera at the poster when you arrive. It will scan the code and automatically “check in” your visit. If there any local Coronavirus alerts, you will then receive them automatically.

  • Data is stored anonymously by the NHS.
  • Scanning the QR is not compulsory, but it is strongly encouraged.
  • If you don’t have a mobile phone, don’t worry, you are still welcome at St Peter’s!
  • If you are coming to Sunday worship, you must still book your place online. This app does NOT replace the booking system!

How to get the app

Download the app from these links:

download on the iOS App Store download from Google Play App Store

Alternatively, open your phone’s App Store or Google Play Store and search for “NHS COVID-19”, and download the app.

About NHS Test & Trace

NHS QR code posters are a quick, simple and secure way for you to register that you’ve been to a public venue. They enable you to keep a “digital diary” of the places you’ve visited, to help with contact tracing, and they help visitors to quickly receive public health advice if necessary. By supporting the official NHS QR code poster system, you’ll be protecting yourself, your family and everyone who visits St Peter’s. You will also help to slow the spread of the virus, and help normal life to resume more quickly.

Further info & tech support

  • Those at extra risk, including the over 70s and the “clinically extremely vulnerable” are reminded of the risks of attending public worship, but we leave the decision whether or not to do so in their hands.
  • If you are “shielding” and are not attending church in person, we will continue to videostream the service live online so you can participate at home. Service sheets are sent out by email each week.