Church of England Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for churches: Updated 3 Aug

The Prime Minister has outlined plans to make face coverings mandatory in Places of Worship from 8th August and has withdrawn guidance to permit indoor professional performances with immediate effect. We will study detailed government regulations and guidance once they are available (including updated guidance for weddings published 3/8/20) and will update our guidance accordingly.

In the meantime, we continue to strongly advise that face coverings should be worn by all those attending a place of worship, including ministers, worshippers, staff, volunteers, contractors and visitors, where there may be other people present; remembering that they are mainly intended to protect other people, not the wearer, from coronavirus (COVID-19) and that they are not a replacement for physical distancing and regular hand washing.

Last updated:

Friday 31 July at 15:35

Friday 31 July at 11:04

  • New FAQ What are the first steps to take if we believe there has been a local outbreak?in General section

Last updated Monday 27 July at 12:15

  • New FAQ Should we wear a visor for presiding and preaching? in Prayer and worship section
  • New FAQ What can we do about our annual parish meetings? in Finance and governance section

Last updated Thursday 23 July at 15:18

Relevant FAQs have been added and updated to reflect these documents

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Information to help village halls reopen updated

National charity, Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) has published updated information to help village halls reopen in light of new government guidance.

Since 4 July, England’s 10,000+ village halls have been allowed to reopen. But government rules on social distancing, as well as the activities that are permitted to take place in these community buildings are complicated and frequently changing.

Many village halls are run by local volunteers, most of whom are not familiar with interpreting complex legal guidance. Thankfully, help has been on hand from a network of county-based village halls advisers who have been able to explain the new rules using information sheets prepared by ACRE.

The charity first published information to help village halls reopen in June and was met with an overwhelmingly appreciative response. However, at the time it was not clear what sports and performances would be allowed by the government, as well as requirements relating to the numbers of people that could gather in these premises. ACRE sought clarity on many of the questions raised by village halls committees with government officials.

Version 4 of the Re-opening Information Sheet for Village Halls has been issued 20.07.20, to reflect the Government information at 20th July and anticipates changes at 25th July and 1st August. The changes mainly reflect the Government guidance around the opening of performance and sport venues, which are reflected in revision of Appendix D (Management of Social Distancing – a risk based Approach) and new appendices J and K, which summarise key points as they are most likely to affect village halls and similar facilities, such as allowing yoga, keep fit, rehearsals and live performances.

Social distancing has been a common cause of confusion and updated Government guidance for individuals was released on 18th July, including specific guidance that seated wedding receptions for up to 30 are permitted from 1st August. Further guidance about social distancing is given at the end of Appendix D, rather than in Section 2.2, and we hope this clarifies where responsibility lies. There are consequential tweaks to the Special Conditions of Hire (i.e. to the reference on social distancing, to remove the ban on performances, add an optional condition on compliance with any governing sport guidance). Other changes to Appendix D answer common queries e.g. about hiring for children’s parties, children’s entertainers, toddler groups, games. ACRE’s aim is that as further easing of lockdown takes place further changes to the Information Sheet are likely to primarily be in Appendix D, which should be easier for everyone to keep up with.

Download the guidance

Information Sheet – Re-opening Village and Community Halls post COVID-19 closure Updated 20.07.20

Sample COVID-19 Risk Assessment for re-opening Village and Community Halls Updated 20.07.20

Sample Risk Assessment for Hirers Updated 20.07.20

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COVID-19: guidance for the safe use of places of worship during the pandemic: Updated 17 Jul

Contents

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Purpose of this guidance
  3. 3. Key principles for safely opening places of worship
  4. 4. Adapting practices to reduce the spread of infection
  5. 6. How can places of worship communicate this guidance to visitors?
  6. 7. Protective security
  7. 8. Enforcement
  8. Annex A: Risk assessment for protective security – factors to consider
  9. Annex B: Template form for collecting consent and contact details for attendees at places of worship
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Truro Cathedral: New Booking System for Sunday Eucharist Services

Since Sunday 5 July, Truro Cathedral has been glad to offer public worship once again, albeit within the framework of strict new guidelines. In response to the experience of the first two Sunday Eucharists that have now taken place, from Sunday 19 July, two key changes are being introduced – a new advance booking system for Sunday Eucharists and the introduction of an additional Sunday Eucharist.

Please note, the booking system is for Sunday Eucharist services only. There is no requirement to pre-book for any other cathedral services.

A NEW BOOKING SYSTEM FOR SUNDAY EUCHARIST SERVICES

The first change is the introduction of an advance booking system to reserve a place at one of the two Sunday Eucharist services. This has been introduced to assist the cathedral team with managing attendees and their safety and will ensure there is a record of attendees to help facilitate track and trace. From Sunday 19 July, it is essential that everyone wanting to attend a Sunday Eucharist service books their place in advance.

To reserve a place at either of the Sunday Eucharist services, please email the cathedral on worshipbooking@trurocathedral.org.uk and provide the following information:

a.  Your name

b.  Your address

c.  A contact phone number

d.  Which service you wish to reserve a place or places at (10:00 or 11:30)

e.  The total number of people in your group

The cathedral team will email you back to confirm your booking. Please note that emails received after 16:00 on Fridays will not be answered until the following Monday.

If you do not have access to email, you can call the cathedral team on 01872 303117 between the hours of 09:00-17:00, Monday to Friday. Calls outside of these hours will not be connected.

You can also click the ‘book now’ button on your chosen service event on the ‘What’s On’ section of the cathedral website to reserve your place. These individual service events are also where you will find the order of service for each Sunday Eucharist service – available from the Thursday prior to the Sunday services.

Knowing what size groups greatly helps the cathedral as grouped chairs can be set out in advance. The cathedral team will ask for your contact details as part of the required track and trace system – the gathering this information in advance will save significant time at the point of entry to the cathedral. The information will be used for track and trace purposes only and held securely for the minimum government requirement of 21 days before being securely destroyed.

All wider or general enquiries or questions should still be directed to info@trurocathedral.org.uk.

A SECOND SUNDAY EUCHARIST

The second change is the addition of a second Sunday Eucharist service at 11:30 each week. This means that from Sunday 19 July, the cathedral’s Sunday pattern of worship each week will be:

  • 08:00: BCP Holy Communion – takes place at the High Altar (Choir Stalls)
  • 09:00: Morning Prayer – takes place at St Samson’s Chapel
  • 10:00: Sunday Eucharist – takes place in the Nave
  • 11:30: Sunday Eucharist – takes place in the Nave
  • 15.00: BCP Evening Prayer – takes place in St Mary’s Aisle (the cathedral closes after this service)

Due to social distancing restrictions, numbers of attendees at services remain limited. This additional service, which will be a direct replication of the 10:00 service, has been introduced to ensure as many people as possible can join for worship on a Sunday.

All chairs used for the 10:00 service will be cleaned ahead of the 11:30 service starting.

Please note that the existing limits on the nave services remain at 51, with 30 of these seated, and due to the addition of this service, general visiting times for the cathedral on a Sunday will change to 12:30 – 15:00.

WORSHIP GUIDELINES

All pre-existing guidelines for worship in the cathedral remain in place and the team extends sincere thanks to everyone who plans to attend worship for familiarising themselves in advance with the new rules and processes which can be found in the Open for Worship news item.

We ask anyone who has symptoms associated with Covid-19 or has been around someone who has symptoms associated with Covid-19 not to visit any part of the cathedral until fully recovered and to have observed the appropriate government isolation period. Anyone displaying symptoms will be asked to leave.

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Relaxation in rules around charities and insolvency

by Hannah Danson | 1 Jul 2020 | Advice advocacy and legal, Sector news |

The Government passed the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act on 26 June, giving new rules on insolvency, to address the financial problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

These rules apply to voluntary organisations as well as private companies, and the Charity Commission has issued guidance to charities to help them continue operating, and avoid insolvency. These provisions apply to charitable companies, and the majority of the provisions also apply to Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIOs).

New Rules

The provisions cover:

  • moratoriums, offering companies and CIOs breathing space from debt enforcement action so they have the chance to explore options for rescue or restructure
  • limiting termination clauses in supply contracts, to provide for continuity of supplies so companies and CIOs can carry on operating
  • temporary suspension of wrongful trading provisions, allowing company directors and trustees of CIOs to continue operating a charity through the emergency without the threat of personal liability
  • temporary suspension of the use of statutory demands and a restriction on winding up petitions, where a company or CIO cannot pay its bills due to the coronavirus emergency
  • support for viable companies struggling with debt to restructure under a new procedure – these provisions do not apply to CIOs

You can get more detailed information on all these provisions from the Insolvency Service

The act also introduces new provisions about holding member meetings. You can find more information on these provisions in our guidance on AGMS and other meetings

The Gov.uk pages around Guidance for the Charity Sector also contain lots of useful links and resources.

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The Methodist Church: Coronavirus Guidance for Property updated 30 June

Updated on 30 June 2020 in light of current Government Guidelines

The Government announced that Places of Worship can open in England from 4th July with certain restrictions.  However, the decision to re-open a church needs serious consideration and a thorough understanding of what is required in terms of planning and health and safety requirements. There is no compulsion to re-open if Managing Trustees do not feel it can be done safely, or it is too soon.  As our guidance states: 

  • It needs to be well planned, both before the opening and kept under review once the building is in use.
  • Do not assume that you can immediately do things ‘as you used to do’ and accept that saying ‘no’, ‘not yet’ or ‘not like this’ can be positive decisions.

Please refer to the Opening of Churches for Worship v2 guidance for further information as well as the government guidance on Safe Use of Places of Worship

Guidance must be read in the context of where you live as devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales may have different guidelines.  If a local lockdown has been introduced, then those guidelines must be followed.  Please refer to www.gov.uk/coronavirus for updated information.   

First Steps

For any activity in a church building, there are 2 assessments to take which underpin any activity. 

  1. If a church building has been closed, please refer to the Re-Opening a Building Checklist (Word) v2 or (pdf version)
  2. A Covid-19 Risk Assessment v5  (Word) or (pdf version) with an Action Plan.  This assessment will help trustees to think through what needs to be put in place in terms of social distancing, good hygiene and cleaning regimes.  The government now states that a risk assessment on Covid-19 is mandatory to comply with H&S regulations.   

Further guidance can be found on:

If you have a specific question, please contact your District Property Secretary or Property Support.  

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Church of England Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for churches 2 July 2020

Last updated Thursday 2 July at 16:02

  • New FAQ Can we have worship outside? in Prayer and worship section
  • Updated Churchyards document

Whilst Government guidance has been revised to allow certain activities to take place in church buildings, it is still vital that the necessary hygiene and social distancing precautions are kept in place in order to protect the NHS and save lives.

The information on this page is regularly updated, so please check back to ensure you have the latest guidance. When major changes are made, we will publish update through the Church of England Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Please read the detailed guidance below to ensure all activities are conducted in a safe and hygienic way.

FAQs

Prayer and worship

Life events

Community Support

Fabric and building maintenance

Finance and governance

Schools and nurseries

General

Documents

Guidance

Resources

Further reading

The below Marking our communities resources have been prepared by The Liturgical Commission:

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Presence, Provision and Prayer in the Pandemic : 2 Jul, ONLINE

Whilst its buildings have been closed, churches have extended their important role in providing food and welfare provision to those in need. But what has pastoral care really looked like in lockdown? Wrestling with high mortality rates and radical uncertainty has deeply unsettled people prompting a range of spiritual questions from the wider community. How have the churches responded to these challenges? This webinar explores the pastoral, spiritual and material dimensions of the COVID-19 pandemic drawing on emerging research and practice. Speakers will be:

Dr Anne Richards, the Church of England’s National Adviser on mission theology, new religious movements and alternative spiritualties and convener of the Mission Theological Advisory Group of the CTBI.

The Revd Canon Malcolm Rogers MBE, Vicar of St Gabriel Huyton Quarry, Area Dean of Huyton, Canon of Liverpool Cathedral. Malcolm received an MBE for services to community cohesion in Knowsley, Merseyside.

Dr Jo Sadgrove, Research and Learning Advisor, USPG; Research Fellow Centre for Religion and Public Life, University of Leeds. Jo is currently working on an AHRC funded research project analysing the intersections of pastoral care, spiritual care and public health in the Early Modern Period and the present day.

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Creating Safe Places for Victims of Domestic Abuse : 2 Jul, ONLINE

“Staying home does not mean staying safe, when locked in with an abuser.” Frances Fitzgerald, MEP.

Calls to domestic violence helplines have surged over the past few months. With drop-in centres and refuges closed, victims have few places to turn for help.

Shockingly, the number of women being killed within their own homes has reached numbers not seen in decades.

Domestic violence has always been a hidden problem – it’s become even more so in the midst of COVID-19.

Now is the time for churches to take a lead in providing safe places for victims of domestic abuse.

Churches are at the heart of their communities and are well-positioned to provide the unconditional support victims need to escape abuse and rebuild their lives.

In our next Cinnamon Connect Webinar, we’ll be exploring:

  • How COVID-19 has exacerbated domestic abuse
  • What laws are in place to protect victims
  • What churches need to be aware of before responding
  • How churches can become safe places for those seeking support

On Thursday 2 July – at 11 am Nick Amis from Cinnamon Network will be talking with Rosemary Magill, CEO of Women’s Aid ABCLN; Detective Superintendent Anthony McNally from the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Public Protection Branch; and Colette Stewart from Onus, a charity that empowers churches to recognise and respond to domestic abuse.

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Guidance COVID-19: Guidance for the safe use of places of worship from 4 July Published 29 June 2020

Contents

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. Changes from 04 July
  3. 2. Purpose of this guidance
  4. 3. Key principles for safely opening places of worship
  5. 4. Adapting practices to reduce the spread of infection
  6. 5. General actions to reduce the spread of infection
  7. 6. How can places of worship communicate this guidance to visitors?
  8. 7. Protective security
  9. 8. Enforcement
  10. Annex A: Risk Assessment for protective security- factors to consider
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