Having done online Church at Home since March for the last two Sundays we have gone back to physically attending church - last week at the cathedral in Sydney and today in our little country church.
At the cathedral the normal congregation is larger than the numbers currently allowed. They delayed recommencing the morning service until they could get 250 people in and live stream to the rest. It was very organised with advance online registration, ushers explaining where to sit and how to socially distance on entry and exit.
It's a rather odd experience with no congregational singing (there was the choir), no handshaking or hugging after not seeing each other for so long. People are encouraged to wear masks so most do. No mingling in the corridors after the service and no morning tea so not a lot of opportunity to chat. And the seats were hard because the cushions have been removed to facilitate the extra cleaning required.
At our little country church things were somewhat more relaxed (no masks) and everyone did their best to adhere to the 'rules' within the confines of the small building. This church has been gathering for a month or two now but we chose not to join them until this week because the congregation is elderly and we were regularly travelling on public transport in the city where the virus was not contained until recently.
The good news is the number of people in church can double from next week and we can sing provided we wear a mask so Christmas services will be closer to normal.