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SERVICES RESUMED AT VALE JUDEU ON 14TH JUNE
IMPORTANT - PLEASE READ ALL THE FOLLOWING REGARDING RELEVANT RULES AND GUIDELINES BEFORE DECIDING WHETHER TO ATTEND CHURCH SERVICES; IT IS LONG BUT NEEDS TO BE READ FOR THE SAFETY AND COMFORT OF EVERYONE. THANK YOU
Welcome Back to IECA! After 13 weeks without any physical services on our church property we were delighted to be able to resume our worship services from Sunday, 14th June. Everyone is very welcome and we hope you will be able to come. Sadly we will have to enforce social distancing measures which we have had to put in place to ensure everyone’s safety. It is important that you read the list of restrictions and guidelines that we all must follow before coming onto our church property, so that you know what to expect when you get here. PLEASE READ CAREFULLY before coming; please take note that IECA does not take any responsibility should anyone contract COVID 19 through attending any of our services and everyone must be aware that they enter our property and buildings at their own risk.
Rules set down by the Portuguese Government regarding religious gatherings during this period:
1. Before anyone can participate in any religious ceremony they must be certain that they do not show any symptoms of COVID 19, feel unwell, be in the high risk category or have any underlying health conditions. If you are ill at all, you must stay at home and view the services online.
2. If you feel unwell during the service, you must leave immediately and go directly to a doctor. If you have been on our church premises and are later diagnosed with COVID 19 we need to be informed immediately.
3. Everyone must bring and wear his/her own mask at all times during the service apart from those who are taking part in the service - who must respect the correct social distancing from each other and the congregation.
4. Everyone must sanitise their hands upon entry of the church building. Alcohol gel will be made available.
5. It is fundamental that there can be no physical contact between anyone, ie. hand shakes, kisses or hugs. Everyone must sit at least two meters apart (unless they are related) with their mask on at all times. Note: should we say the Lord’s Prayer together, we cannot hold hands.
6. Anyone of the same family must sit together. Families/couples must arrive and leave together.
7. No Bibles can be made available, so bring your own Bible, pen and paper etc.
8. The seats, railings, door handles etc must be disinfected before and after each service.
9. There are strict rules regarding communion so we have decided we will not be having any communion until after the Summer and reevaluate the situation in September.
10. Only paper towels may be used in the toilets and everyone must be careful to wash their hands using soap and water. The toilets must be disinfected before and after each service.
11. The building must be kept ventilated with doors open at all times.
12. There must be one way in and another way out of the building and these will be clearly marked. Everyone must enter and leave in an orderly fashion - the nearest to the exit first and each row to follow when leaving.
13. Information signs will be placed in various locations which you should read, and be aware of all the information that is communicated on them.
Due to our particular setting at IECA, we have decided to implement the following rules and guidelines which you will need to be aware of before you come:
1. Only the front entrance of the church grounds will be open. This is also due to the building work going on at the back of the church so the back gate will be closed on a Sunday. Why not come early and enjoy a leisurely stroll through the Bible Garden? As you enter the gate of the church courtyard someone will be there to sanitise your hands and take your name and phone number. This is in case you need to be contacted should we find out later that someone with COVID 19 has been present in the service. All records will be destroyed within 16 days.
2. As you enter the church building please make your way to your seat as quickly as possible and greet people with a friendly wave.
3. Although the DGS has stated that the use of either face mask or visor is permitted for use within a church building (as long as social distancing is respected), there are some (who attend our church) who feel that visors (although much less uncomfortable to wear) do not protect others as well as face masks. Others see it quite differently, and want to be able to wear a visor instead of a face mask. Although we cannot force anyone to wear a face mask instead of a visor, we would ask that unless you have difficulty wearing a face mask, you avoid using a visor if at all possible. (See below for further information*)
4. Anyone over the age of 65 or with underlying health conditions (eg asthma) is advised not to attend and should view the services online for the time being. (This is the advice given by the Portuguese Governmental health organisation). However, over 65’s are permitted to attend, but if they do, it is at their own risk. As the doors will remain open, we strongly recommend that if you are over 65 you remain at the back of the church or even outside, where you should still be able to hear and see what is going inside, as the folding doors will all be fully open. Plenty of movable seating will be provided in this area.
5. If the church is full when you arrive (within the limitations of social distancing), there will be someone at the entrance to make sure you do not enter. In the case that the church cannot hold any more people, you are welcome to take a seat outside (observing social distancing) or take a walk through the Bible Garden.
6. We will not be providing any drinks or food of any kind (until further notice) so we would strongly advise you to bring your own bottle of water (especially during the hot summer months).
7. There will be a video available for Sunday School children in our cafe building/decking area with all the doors open and children must be made aware of the concept of social distancing and sanitization.
We look forward to being able to meet each other and worship God together. If you feel that you are not able to come on Sunday mornings we would like to provide you with two alternatives over the summer months:
1. Our services will be placed online live at 10:30am every Sunday morning and a recorded version later in the day which you can view at any time by clicking on this link.
2. Every Thursday between 9am and 12noon we will open the front gates and anyone is welcome to come into the Church Bible Garden for a time of prayer and reflection. Pastor Mark and his wife, along with a few others, will be available (in the courtyard area to meet with you and pray with you. We will respect the social distancing rules and wear masks at all times. Please feel free to come and spend time with us and make use of the Church property for your spiritual refreshment. If you would like to meet Pastors Mark, Barry or Glenn at a particular time please phone to set up a suitable time. Pastor Barry will also be available every Tuesday between 2 and 4pm.
We hope to see you soon!
Please Note - Online services will continue to be available ’open to all’ until the pandemic is over and we resume the normal services. If you wish to access to our livestream and online content after the restrictions have finished please contact Isabel Ferreira - firstname.lastname@example.org for a password. In the meantime please use the above link for our Sunday Services.
The English Service is at 10.30am and the Portuguese Service at 3.30pm. Both will continue to be recorded every week.
Regarding our offerings. If you are unable to attend during this period and would like to contribute to the work of IECA, you can do so by bank transfer to our church account or use the PayPal button on our website.
* (Recently some confusion has arisen with regards to the use of face masks and visors during our services. Although the DGS has stated that the use of either face mask or visor is permitted for use within a church building (as long as social distancing is respected), there are some (who attend our church) who feel that visors (although much less uncomfortable to wear) do not protect others as well as face masks. Others see it quite differently, and want to be able to wear a visor instead of a face mask.
Although we cannot force anyone to wear a face mask instead of a visor, we would ask that if you do not have difficulty wearing a face mask, that you avoid using a visor if at all possible. Please note that according to the DGS the advice being issued at the moment is that anyone who has any underlying health conditions (such as asthma for example) or over the age of 65, should be staying at home and viewing the services online. Obviously we would love everyone that can do so, to attend the physical services, but everyone needs to be aware what the current advice is.
With regards to the wearing of masks vs visors, in the end, it is up to the individual to make the decision as to what they should do. Nobody will be prohibited from entering the building as long as we can guarantee enough space for social distancing. However we would ask that everyone considers the fact that many people are anxious at the moment about the current situation and some might be afraid to come to church if they feel their safety is compromised. All we want to do is minimize this sense of fear if at all possible and make the church experience as unintimidating as possible. We would ask for your help in making the church experience as enjoyable and safe as it can possibly be for everyone.
Many thanks for your understanding.)
We continue to pray for God’s protection over our church family in our homes, communities and as we meet to worship online or physically in Vale Judeu.
Sunday Online Service Transmission:
Sunday School will no longer be posted online - for previous Sunday School videos and links to activities: click here
This is the link for Sunday services, available from 10.30 for English service and 15.00 for Portuguese service: …
Click on the relevant date/service. If the streaming doesn’t begin right away you will need to be patient and let the video load as there will be many using this service at once. Don’t click the video repeatedly as it will clog up the system for everyone. Thank you
Please watch the video right though to begin with and it will be available for everyone. If you don't succeed right away, we would encourage you to try later in the day.
* ART EXHIBITION (online) - Extended to 30th June: click for details *
10:30 Worship and Bible teaching service with Sunday School (In English with translation into Portuguese and German upon request)
Communion Service on 1st Sunday of each month
15:30 Portuguese worship and Bible teaching with Sunday School (Sermon notes in English available)
14:00 - 16:00 Bible Garden open; Pastor Barry available
9:00 - 12 noon Bible Garden open; Pastors Mark, Barry and Glenn available
19:00 Youth meeting
Dates for your Diary
Saturday 24th October - Opening of International Theological & Leadership College (ITLC)
Sunday 25th October - 35th Anniversary of IECA, worship service
We regret that CampSonshine Portugal 2020 has been cancelled. Because of Covid-19, the decision was based on the safety of our leaders, campers and their families, and the fact that in order for our camps to be successful we have between 40 – 50 leaders coming from various countries.