Reepham & Wensum Valley Team Churches - at the Heart of the Community

Face Coverings and Masks in Church (from the Enewsletter 26.07.20)

Guidance has been released from the House of Bishops Recovery Group relating to the wearing of face coverings or masks in places of worship. The full guidance can be read here.

The House of Bishops state:

“We strongly advise that face coverings should be worn by all those attending a place of worship, including ministers, worshippers, staff, volunteers, contractors and visitors, where there may be other people present; remembering that they are mainly intended to protect other people, not the wearer, from coronavirus COVID-19 and that they are not a replacement for physical distancing and regular hand washing.”

Masks/coverings can be disposable, fabric or made from a bandana or scarf but should be at least 2 layers of fabric thick, 3 if possible, cover your mouth and nose whilst allowing you to still breath comfortably, tie securely over your head or ears leaving no gaps at the side and should be clean. Fabric masks should be washed after one use, disposable masks should only be used once. We will have disposable masks on Sunday.

* * *

12 years ago we were lucky enough to travel to Tokyo for our honeymoon. Upon arrival something that struck me almost immediately was that in shops, on the subway and in the streets people of all ages were going about their daily business with a face mask on. It’s not something I had seen in sunny Norfolk and I assumed that maybe  people were anxious about their own health or that it was part of some healthy living ideal similar to the oxygen bars in Japan where visitors can breathe in high levels of oxygen to clear toxins. Living in the UK I had been shielded from the epidemic of SARS that Japan, China and Hong Kong in particular has suffered.

SARS led to increased daily mask wearing in the East. It has become part of the culture, a symbol of protection and solidarity and sometimes even a sartorial statement! Personally, I see it as a selfless act – yes the masks can feel a little claustrophobic sometimes or I might feel a bit daft or OTT wearing one, but if it means that I am helping to protect those around me I will do it.

Many of you will know from the Zoom church services and also previous ramblings that my study is stuffed with crafty things as well as items that I have “Wombled” away in case they come in handy one day!

Dear reader, that day has come!!  I have found a tutorial for a comfortable and relatively easy to make mask  which can be hand sewn or made with a sewing machine. It has actually been a joy to create masks from Steve’s cotton shirts, which are not good enough for the charity shop, and to recycle some of the well worn and well loved clothes that Rufus has grown out of. I have also found making items to help protect my family and the wider community a really positive thing to do.

I would urge any likeminded crafters and those who are handy with thread to give it a try. It really isn’t as hard as it looks  and you end up with something comfortable, reusable, recycled, community spirited, protecting and an item with it’s own history and story to tell in the future. Pretty impressive from a ‘past it’ shirt!

Until next week happy sewing. Stay safe, stay healthy – where ever we are, we are together in spirit.

Best wishes


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