Although churches in the UK are closed at the current time, St Michael’s Without in Bath has permission to open its doors following a call for help from their community.
Revd Roger Driver, Rector of St Michael’s, says, “I was approached by Bath City Council who were struggling to find a building to help a non-profit organisation who needed more space to make personal protection equipment for the NHS. After getting the permission of the Archdeacon of Bath and the Bishop of Bath and Wells, the properties team of Bath City Council came and carried out an inspection of the church to determine if we could provide a safe place for people to work with the needed safe distance between workers, and to meet the necessary hygiene standards required for the assembly the facial visors. Thankfully all the necessary processes have been put into place and on last Thursday (2nd April) we opened our doors for something completely different to our normal church activity. After the careful setting up, production started on Monday (5th) and the first batch of 600 were completed and sent off for NHS use.
Roger added, “It all came about because we had a good relationship already with the council so I am very thankful that they thought of us and we were in a position to help.”
While work to produce the vital safety equipment takes place in his church building, Roger is concentrating on supporting his parishioners in new and challenging ways during the Coronavirus Pandemic.
He says, “We have been using Zoom technology to great effect and on Palm Sunday we used a Zoom call on what we call our Sunday gathering. Using some music, we prayed together and discussed other issues using the chat group, had break out groups and then came back together as a bigger group. We are hoping we can gather an even larger congregation at Easter and pull in family of our usual congregation from all around the world.”