Stalybridge's St George's Church currently remains open during the latest lockdown, although that is under constant review by the Church Council.
However, at present, the church remains open for services at 10.30am on Sunday and 10.30am on Tuesday and for funerals (up to 30 people).
There is a rigorous risk assessment and all precautions are in place, while online events are also in place.
The move comes after the church marked a very different Christmas on behalf of its community.
The Rev Penny Warner, vicar of St George’s, explained: “St George’s Church continued to find new ways to continue to adapt to current circumstances to ensure that the community was safe over the Christmas period.
“In place of the usual Christmas Fair in the building, we held a ‘Virtual Christmas Fair’ via Facebook.
“The fair supported local businesses and raised funds for church in a year when other fundraising events had not been able to take place.”
In the event the ‘virtual fair’ raised an astonishing £1,460 for church funds.
The Rev Penny added: “We are so grateful to those who organised and ran the fair, local businesses and individuals who took part, and all who supported by making purchases.”
She explained that instead of the annual Christingle service, ‘Christingle Bags’ were distributed, containing everything needed to make a Christingle and details of how to donate to The Children’s Society.
SERVICE WITH A SMILE: The Rev Penny Warner at St George’s Church in Stalybridge.
A joint Christingle service with the Parish of Mossley was live streamed on Facebook and families joined in via Zoom as Christingles were built together and prayers said.
However, Christmas services were still held in church with small numbers.
A video version of the popular ‘Lessons and Carols’ service was shared, featuring recordings of members of St George’s choir singing popular Christmas carols and members of the congregation reading the Christmas story.
St George’s Junior Church has continued to meet online and when their annual nativity play could not happen in church, the Junior Church families each recorded their parts. A nativity video was then put together to be shown on a Sunday morning and via Zoom for those not able to attend church.
The Church of England encouraged churches to share ‘Comfort and Joy’ and in response St George’s made ‘Bags of Comfort and Joy’ to deliver in the local community.
These contained the ‘Keeping Well this Winter’ booklet, an activity book, treats, sweets, toiletries, and a handmade angel.
“People gave very generously towards our ‘Bags of Comfort and Joy’, including knitting Christmas angels,” said the Rev Penny.
“Recipients of the bags were delighted with one saying the bag ‘must have been delivered by angel!’”
St George’s are currently supporting local residents and the Big Local Ambleside to set up ‘George’s Kitchen’, a weekly meal delivery project for those who are isolated and vulnerable.
Plans are progressing well and more information will be available in the weeks to come.
The Rev Penny concluded: “As a church, we believe that light always overcomes darkness and we are doing our best, in these dark days, to support and encourage our community as best we can.
“Please do get in touch if we can help in any way, or if you’d just like to talk - you are not alone, we are all here to support one another.”
You can contact The Rev Penny Warner directly with any enquiries about baptisms and weddings by calling 07393 420763.
BAGS OF HELP: From left, Karen Wright, Margaret Doherty and Christine Crabtree were among volunteers who delivered and prepared ‘Bags of Comfort and Joy’ for Christmas.