Updates 2021-2022

January 28th 2022

The government has returned to Plan A and so masks are no longer mandatory,
wearing them is now optional in our services. Some people will be continuing to wear
them as the infection rates remain high in order to protect others, including myself,
but each of us has to come to a decision on wearing masks. All I ask is that we
continue to keep each other safe. Communion continues to be by intinction and the
peace continues to be hands free.

Reverend Mark Griffin, Rector

December 10th 2021

We have had the update from the Church of England about Government responses to the

Omicron Variant. It is now mandatory to wear masks in church from Friday. There are

exemptions for mind and physical health conditions. There is also a reasonable excuse

exemption for singing, however I would want to encourage members of the congregation to

keep their masks on for the whole service although there are no plans to stop singing in our


Please continue to look out for each other and give others space when inside. As ever the

South Aisle is the best place to sit at St Paul’s if you feel anxious.

August 12th 2021 - Service information 

Although wearing a mask is not mandatory, we are encouraging the use of masks in our churches and making areas and red cards available for those who wish to social distance in our churches.

In the weeks ahead we will be starting to move the furniture back to our normal layout.

Communion is now in two kinds, with the celebrant intincting the wafer and placing it in the worshipper’s hands. 

We will be receiving communion from the front at both churches from this week – please follow the instructions of the church wardens

Coffee will be available after the service for those that want at both churches this week.

At St Paul’s, we will be singing two hymns.

29th July 2021 - visiting information update

St Martin's is now open again for visiting but we are sorry that the opening times are limited. For the present, the church will be open:

Friday 11.00 - 15.00
Saturday 11.00 - 15.00

St Martin's church will be closed for visiting on Christmas Day (except for the service at 09.00), New Year's Eve, and New Year's Day. The church will also be closed for the months of January, February, and March 2022.

We apologise for any inconvenience. It may be possible to arrange opening for pre-booked groups. Please email visits@martinpaul.org giving at least 14 days notice if you wish to try to arrange such a visit.

St Martin’s Church is part of the Canterbury World Heritage Site; the other two parts are Canterbury Cathedral and St Augustine’s Abbey. You can book a special tour of all three parts of the Canterbury World Heritage Site  – more information at the website  www.canterburyunescotour.co.uk

23rd July 2021

On Monday 21st July, the Government eased restrictions and our Standing Committee met to discuss the changed guidelines from the church. The main decisions are as follows. 

Our priority is to be cautious and sensitive to the needs of the whole congregation. For some there will be anxiety as cases increase and as some of the measures we have taken will be relaxed. Our faith is one where the needs of our neighbour is of great importance and we have kept this at the front of our minds in planning for the future.

So what are our plans?

    We are encouraging people to continue wearing masks although this is no longer mandatory.

    We will continue to use hand sanitiser

    We will no longer take names at the door for Track and Trace although you are still welcome to book in via the NHS QR code on arrival.

    Although we can no longer insist on social distancing and people are free to sit where they wish, we will leave the seating arrangements of the churches as they are for a few weeks as we get used to the new normal. There will be parts of the churches which will be for those who wish to maintain social distance and also we will have red cards for people to place on the seats beside them asking others not to sit there.

    The peace will continue to be hands free.

    Coffee will be served in the hall at St Paul’s from Sunday and at St Martin’s from August 1st.

    The Eucharist will be both bread and wine. At St Paul’s people will still receive standing by their chairs and at St Martin’s at the chancel step. The celebrant will dip each wafer in the chalice and administer as we do currently.

    At St Paul’s we will sing a hymn at the end and people will be able to join in with the sung parts of the service. Although we are encouraging people to wear masks during the service, those who want to sing more in the service will be asked to sit at the front- some people may want to remain seated when singing. In August and September we will expand our sung service until we reach “normality”.

    The choir will continue to sing from the Chancel until September when we hope to be able to re-introduce the choir stalls in the North Aisle.

    Wednesday communion will continue in its present format and as a smaller, shorter said service is suitable for the more anxious.

    We will be providing some activity bags for children over the summer, with a view to re-introducing a children’s area in September.

    The Lady Chapel will be set up again from our 8am service on September 5th.

We hope that this gives a way forward, although there will be those who are disappointed about the speed of change and those who will be anxious about these changes. Please contact us if you have concerns. It feels good to be moving on but please see the website or weekly e-mail for further changes each week.

I would like to thank everyone for their support in following the guidelines and restrictions over these last sixteen months - that support has made a difficult situation much easier and allowed us to negotiate the changes in a spirit of unity.


This week the government confirmed that legal restrictions were being eased from July 19th. The Standing Committee will be meeting on July 19th to finalise our response. Although things will change, we will be taking the easing cautiously rather than in one jump. Details will be in our communications during that week, as we await guidance from the Diocese and navigate towards normality. If you have concerns in the meantime please speak to one of the wardens or to Hannah or myself.