Indoor singing update

Songs of praise
Indoor singing update

Indoor singing update

Dear Highfields Church family,

As most of you will know by now it's been our incredible privilege and joy to worship God in song at our Sunday gatherings over the last couple of weeks. We continue to pray that the rest of the UK follows suit soon. The Highfields elders (ably supported by Simon Foulkes) continue to closely monitor the ever evolving guidance of the Welsh Government and have also been keeping an eye on the cases in Cardiff.

Rising case rates

While current hospital admissions and death rates are still incredibly low, the community transmission rate (CTR) of Covid in Cardiff continues to rise. (As of 2nd July, the CTR in Cardiff is 100.0/100,000 and is likely to keep going up for the next few weeks.) However, the only specific criteria given by the Welsh Government (WG) for allowing singing, according to their latest 2nd July update, is that "a risk assessment and appropriate mitigations have been put in place" not that we routinely analyse the case rates, or that they need be below a certain level (we note that in their most recent 2nd July update, WG doesn't define what a low transmission rate is - the guidance has changed from the Facebook post I made a couple of weeks back). The Evangelical Alliance have advised us that this is the correct reading of the guidance having been in close discussion with WG. More importantly, we do not consider that the CTR is a relevant indicator of the risk for adults attending our services. This is because the rate is being driven up primarily by young people who have not been vaccinated. Our youth and children are catered for in separate meetings and are normally not part of the adult population attending the services, over 90% of whom (according to latest vaccination figures) have received at least one dose. Furthermore, University College London's recent 'Confess' study has proved that wearing a mask while singing in worship mitigates against 85-90% of droplets being transmitted, which when added to social distancing and good ventilation, means the risk of transmission while singing is very low indeed.

Why do we sing?

Singing is exhorted in the Scriptures (e.g., Ps 96:1-3, Ps 95:2, Col 3:16, Eph 5:19). The first point of our mission statement at Highfields is 'worshipping our God'. When we gather to do this in song, we give glory to our Saviour, encourage other believers, and declare God's praises to a watching world. We forwent this Christian duty and privilege for the first fifteen months of the pandemic to our immense loss. We believe that the enormous spiritual harm of not singing outweighs the minimal physical risk of doing so, and so until the Welsh Government expressly and explicitly requires us to cease from singing again, we aim to continue, with all our mitigations in place (I won't include them in this email but you can get them and our wider risk assessment from the office if you fancy a gripping read!). The elders will obviously keep prayerfully reviewing our policy and practice as the summer weeks unfold.

So in summary—we're continuing to sing this Sunday!

Your brother, 

Dave Gobbett
Lead Pastor

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