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

Last updated: Tuesday 19 January, 10:11

New FAQ:

  • What advice is available for services during Lent, Holy Week, and Easter?

New documents:

Read a response from the Bishop of London to the Prime Minister’s statement outlining new restrictions in England

We will continue to review and update advice documents in light of Government guidance.

Last updated: Thursday 14 January, 11:52

Updated documents:

Read a response from the Bishop of London to the Prime Minister’s statement outlining new restrictions in England

We will continue to review and update advice documents in light of Government guidance.

Last updated: Tuesday 12 January, 10.01

Updated/New FAQ:

  • Is singing permitted? (in Prayer and worship) – further update in light of amended Government Guidance. 

Monday 11 January, 14.50

Updated/New FAQ:

  • Is singing permitted? (in Prayer and worship) – further update in light of amended Government Guidance. 

Monday 11 January, 13.45

The Government has today updated its guidance for places of worship

Updated/New FAQ:

  • Is singing permitted? (in Prayer and worship)
  • Should I work if I’m clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV)? (in Safety, safeguarding & wellbeing)

Read a response from the Bishop of London to the Prime Minister’s statement outlining new restrictions in England

We will continue to review and update advice documents in light of Government guidance.

Last updated: Wednesday 6 January at 16:20

Updated documents:

Updated/New FAQ:

  • What is permitted during lockdown?
  • What do we need to do if we have decided to suspend public worship?
  • Can churches be used as vaccination centres?
  • Can funerals go ahead?
  • Can weddings go ahead?

Read a response from the Bishop of London to the Prime Minister’s statement outlining new restrictions in England

We have streamlined the advice on this page, and will continue to review advice documents in light of Government guidance.

Last updated Monday 4 January at 21:25

Read a response from the Bishop of London to the Prime Minister’s statement outlining new restrictions in England

The advice on this page will be reviewed in the coming days in line with Government guidance. 

Last updated Wednesday 30 December at 15:47

The Government has announced a formal tiering review, whereby more areas have been elevated to tiers 4 and 3. The guidance for places of worship within tiers has not changed at this time, and public worship may continue in all tiers, in line with the Government guidance and the advice below.  

We are also conscious of those who will not wish to attend a church building in light of increased numbers of cases, and many churches will continue to offer local streamed worship, together with national online weekly worship and daily audio prayer services via the Time to Pray app and podcast, and the Daily Hope telephone line for any who are unable to access the internet. 

See church online for more details.

Last updated Monday 21 December at 16:02

Following the announcement by the Prime Minister on Saturday a new Tier 4 level of restrictions is now in place. The latest Government guidance is here and specific guidance for those in Tier 4 areas is here. We await further updated guidance for Places of Worship and will share it here when available.

New Advice for clinically extremely vulnerable in new Tier 4 areas has been published.

Read a Church of England response to updated coronavirus guidance in response to the Prime Minister’s statement about Christmas arrangements.

Updated documents:

Last updated Thursday 17 December at 16:36

Read a comment from the Bishop of London in response to the Prime Minister’s statement about Christmas arrangements.

Updated documents: 

Wednesday 09 December at 17:54

Updated Documents:

Tuesday 08 December at 14:13

Following the publication of the Government’s guidance for Places of Worship, we are updating all our documentation to ensure it is in line with current guidance. The following updates have recently been made. The top box in each document details any changes:

New Documents:

Updated Documents:

Tuesday 01 December at 12:22

The Government has published its Places of Worship guidance including rules applicable from 2 December.

We are reviewing our advice in light of this and will update our Q&A and documentation as soon as possible.

Monday 23 November

Following the publication of the Government’s Covid-19 Winter Plan, including permission for the resumption of public worship, we are awaiting the publication of detailed guidance after which we will update our advice.

Read a statement from the Bishop of London

Thursday 12 November at 16:29

New FAQs:

  • Can I still undertake pastoral visiting under the new restrictions? in the Community support section

Monday 09 November at 13.17

  • Q&A which are not applicable during second lockdown have been removed
  • All documents have been left live for reference, but please note that advice contained within may not be relevant during lockdown. We have marked individual documents which contain guidance which is not relevant during lockdown.

Last updated Friday 06 November at 13:05

New Documents:

New FAQs:

  • What youth and children’s activities can take place during the new national lockdown? in the Schools, nurseries and youth provision section

Updated FAQs:

  • Can we still hold a Remembrance Sunday service? in the Prayer and worship section

Last updated Tuesday 03 November at 14:12

Updated FAQs:

  • Can we still hold a remembrance Sunday service? in the Prayer and worship section

Last updated Saturday 31 October at 19:50

Please read our latest statement in response to the Government announcement of a second lockdown in England. 

Visit the Government website for the most recent updates.

Last updated Monday 19 October at 14:21

Updated Documents:

Last updated Friday 16 October at 16:40

Since Wednesday 14 October, a new three-tier risk alert system for COVID-19 has been in place in England. View our at-a-glance guide to the restrictions for churches. We will study Government detailed Government guidance when it is available and amend our advice as necessary.

New FAQs:

  • Who can attend a wedding? in the Life events section
  • What should I do if a member of my congregation tests positive for COVID-19? in the General section

Updated Documents:

Last updated Tuesday 13 October at 11:40

Following the announcement on Monday October 12 of a new three-tier risk alert system for COVID-19, we understand that Places of Worship can remain open at all Tiers – although at the ‘high’ and ‘very high’ Tiers there should be no mixing between households.

This recognises the important role churches and other places of worship continue to play in serving their communities and providing vital comfort and support to people amid very difficult times.

However, we fully appreciate the scale of the threat from COVID-19 and recognise the vigilance that places of worship will need to continue to practice in order to minimise the possibility of spread of the virus.

We will study Government detailed Government guidance when it is available and amend our advice as necessary.

Last updated Friday 25 September at 16:00

New FAQs:

  • Can we still hold a Remembrance Sunday service? in the Prayer and worship section
  • Can confirmations still go ahead? in the Life events section

Updated FAQs:

  • Can funerals still go ahead? in the Life events section 
  • Can weddings still go ahead? in the Life events section 
  • Can baptisms still go ahead? in the Life events section
  • Can ordinations still go ahead? in the Life events section

Updated Documents:

Last updated Tuesday September 22 at 14.25

Following the announcement by the Prime Minister of new measures to limit the spread of coronavirus, the Church of England is continuing to engage with Government departments to review advice to churches. 

The Prime Minister emphasised that we can draw comfort from the fact that places of worship as well as schools and businesses are staying open.

We note the change from a maximum of 30 attending weddings to a maximum of 15 from Monday September 28 and will study any detailed documents when they are available and amend advice to churches accordingly.

We anticipate further updates in the next few days with further additions to the FAQs and we also continue to review the downloadable guidance papers which will be updated accordingly. All updates will be notified at the top of this page.

Last updated Tuesday September 15 at 13:45

The Government has issued an updated version of its guidance for the safe use of places of worship during the pandemic in light of the new ‘rule of six’ regulations.

The Church of England is continuing to engage with the Government. All of the advice below is being reviewed.  Updates and amendments will be highlighted at the top of this page as they are made.

Last updated Wednesday 09 September at 10:42

Following indications that the number of people permitted to take part in a social gathering is to be reduced from 30 to six in England, we understand the new regulations will not apply to public worship or individual prayer in church buildings. Read our short statement.

Last updated Thursday 03 September at 12:05

  • Updated FAQ Should we still deliver printed communication? in General section

Last updated Tuesday 25 August at 9:10

  • Updated FAQ Can church bells be rung? in Prayer and worship section

Last updated Thursday 20 August at 9:20

Monday 17 August at 14:32

Read more

Methodist Church Coronavirus Official Guidance : Updated 15 Jan

Latest updated information

Update 15 January 2021

The latest guidance for Places of Worship was published on 11 January and it should be noted that guidance for singing in churches in England has been updated in the light of current restrictions.  The following is a summary:

  • Where singing or chanting is essential to an act of worship, this should be limited to one person wherever possible. Exceptionally, where it is essential to the service, up to three individuals should be permitted to do so. Strict social distancing should be observed and the use of plexi-glass screens should be considered to protect worshippers, and each other.
  • Communal singing should not take place. This applies even if social distancing is being observed or face coverings are used.
  • Chanting, shouting and/or playing of instruments that are blown into should also be avoided in communal worship and in rehearsals.
  • Where communal singing plays a big part in worship, and recordings are available, we suggest you use these as an alternative to live singing. 

Update 5 January 2021

Following the Prime Minister’s statement on 4 January 2021, a new National Lockdown has been announced in England.  This now supercedes all other previous government guidance, including the Tier system.  This came into effect from midnight on 4 January 2021.

A number of the restrictions outlined in the new government guidance affect Methodist Church property.  Unlike previous lockdown decisions, the government has decided that churches can remain open, along with community buildings for certain activities.  Click here to read more.  

Despite this government decision, it should be borne in mind that the opening of our church buildings is not mandatory, and it remains the responsibility of each Church Council to make this significant decision – which should not be taken lightly.  It should be based upon thorough risk assessments and planning to ensure that it is safe to do so.  Every venue should fully meet the health and safety requirements for a COVID-19 secure environment in opening and operation, including the impact on those opening a building and those attending if they fall into a vulnerable group.

The Connexional team have provided a variety of information on alternative ways to worship, fellowship and explore mission.  During this difficult time, we encourage you to explore these  as alternatives to opening a building and the increased risks this may bring.  

Please note that all church property must be COVID-19 secure if open for the uses outlined below.  

ActivityEngland 

Communal Worship & Prayer 
Open but mixing of households/support bubbles is not allowed
Wedding Ceremonies 
Can only take place with up to 6 people and should only take place in exceptional circumstances*
Wedding Receptions Are not permitted 
Funerals Can take place with a maximum of 30 attendees *
Post-death Commemorative Events
Can take place with up to 6 attendees *
Other Standalone Life-Cycle Ceremonies Can take place with up to 6 attendees *
Support GroupsIf they have to be delivered in person, they can continue with up to 15 participants where formally organised to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support.
Church cafesMust close unless providing a takeaway service (until 11pm).
Non-essential retail (charity shops, etc)Must close
Community BuildingsMust close except for a limited number of exempt activities including education and training, childcare purposes, hosting blood donation sessions and food banks and to provide medical treatment.  

*This number does not include staff or anyone working during the event.  

For all other information relating to places of worship, please refer to the Safe Use of Places of Worship and the Safe Use of Multi-Purpose Facilities, which gives further details.

Update 20 December 2020

Following the Prime Minister’s statement on 19 December 2020 a number of significant changes have been made to restrictions during the Christmas Period and for the rest of 2020.  This comes into effect from 20 December 2020.

There are now four Tiers of restrictions across England, with Communal Worship still allowed in all four tiers, but with different restrictions for mixing and attendance in each.  Please follow the links below to read the guidance for each Tier:

Tier 1 (Medium): Tier 1: Medium alert – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Tier 2 (High): Tier 2: High alert – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Tier 3 (Very High): Tier 3: Very High alert – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Tier 4 (Stay at Home): Tier 4: Stay at Home – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

A Full list of local restriction tiers by area – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) can be found through this link.

The government has also updated its Guidance for the Christmas period – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) in England, including its Making a Christmas bubble with friends and family – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk), please refer to this for specific restrictions on Christmas Day.

For all other information relating to places of worship, please refer to the Safe Use of Places of Worship and the Safe Use of Multi-Purpose Facilities, which gives guidance on different groups using the site.

Please note this is for England only so please check the websites for ScotlandWalesIsle of Man and the Channel Islands (Guernsey & Jersey), for specific local changes.

Update 10 December 2020*

The government has published Guidance for the Christmas Period in England, which includes a section on Carol Singing.  Carol singing is allowed indoors & outdoors by professional and amateur choirs.  Additionally, the congregation can join in singing outdoors if the precautions listed in the Performing Arts guidance and the Principles for Safer Singing are followed.  This includes maintaining 2m distance between groups and ensuring that attendees can arrive & depart safely from the venue.  

As well, we have published Guidance for Christmas Celebrations to assist with planning and preparations for the Christmas season.  You can also listen to an interview with Stephen Hetherington,  the Director of Property Support,  about guidelines for the Christmas period. * 0.00 10.15

Lastly, the government has posted more details for Tier 1 (Medium), Tier 2 (High) and Tier 3 (Very High).  Other government updates include the Safe Use of Places of Worship and the Safe Use of Multi-Purpose Facilities, which gives guidance on different groups using the site.  

Please note this is for England only and please check the websites for Scotland, Wales, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands (Guernsey & Jersey).  

Update 1 December 2020

The government has published Guidance for the Christmas Period in England, which includes a section on Carol Singing.  Carol singing is allowed indoors & outdoors by professional and amateur choirs.  Additionally, the congregation can join in singing outdoors if the precautions listed in the Performing Arts guidance and the Principles for Safer Singing are followed.  This includes maintaining 2m distance between groups and ensuring that attendees can arrive & depart safely from the venue.  

As well, we have published Guidance for Christmas Celebrations to assist with planning and preparations for the Christmas season.  

Lastly, the government has posted more details for Tier 1 (Medium), Tier 2 (High) and Tier 3 (Very High).  Other government updates include the Safe Use of Places of Worship and the Safe Use of Multi-Purpose Facilities, which gives guidance on different groups using the site.  

Please note this is for England only and please check the websites for Scotland, Wales, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands (Guernsey & Jersey).  

Update 25 November 2020

The Prime Minister has announced that England will be returning to a Local Restriction Tiers system from 2 December 2020.  Read more about the details for each tier and view or printposters for each tier level.    

Most of the guidelines will be familiar as they will be broadly the same as before the national lockdown was implemented in November.  However, some adjustments will be made to improve on managing the transmission risks.  The key thing to note is that communal worship will be able to restart from 2 December in all Local Restriction Tiers

Please note  that wherever a gathering can take place, social distancing of 2m should still be strictly maintained between anyone who doesn’t live together or are not in a ‘support bubble.’    

ActivityMedium
Tier 1
High
Tier 2
Very High
Tier 3
Communal Prayer Open for as many people as can be safely accommodated with social distancing measures 
Communal Worship Can attend and interact in groups of up to 6 people from different households** Can only interact indoors with your own households** but outdoors can interact in groups of up to 6 peopleCan only interact with your own household** both indoors and outdoors  
Wedding Ceremonies Can take place with up to 15 attendees* 
Wedding Receptions Can take place with up to 15 attendees* Can take place with up to 15 attendees*Cannot take place 
Funerals Can take place with up to 30 attendees *
Post-death Commemorative Events
Can take place with up to 15 attendees *
Other Standalone Life-Cycle Ceremonies (not part of communal worship)Can attend and interact in groups of up to 6 people from different households** Can only interact indoors with your own households**, but outdoors can interact in groups of up to 6 peopleCan only interact with your own household** both indoors 
and outdoors  
Supervised Activities for Children (including Sunday school)Can take place with no limit on the number of children permitted to attend, following COVID-Secure guidance. Adults must ensure social distancing at all times. 

*This number does not include staff or anyone working during the event. 
** Household or support bubbles   

Please note this is for England only and please check local restrictions for:

Update 12 November 2020

Minor updates including baby and toddler groups. See Coronavirus Guidance for Property

Update 5 November 2020

The new National Restrictions are now in effect from 5 November 2020  in England.*  
As part of these new restrictions, places of worship and their ancillary accommodation will have to close or remain closed for congregational worship and all other user groups, except for the following:

  • Individual Prayer
  • To broadcast acts of worship
  • Funerals (a maximum of 30 close family & friends can attend)
  • Formal childcare or where part of a school (including OFSTED registered early years settings)
  • Essential voluntary and public services, such as blood donation or food banks
  • Support Groups  
  • Place of work where the work cannot be carried out at home 
  • Repairs or construction work that is being undertaken
  • Community cafés providing a take-away service only

Unfortunately wedding ceremonies will not be permitted to take place.

Full details of all the restrictions can be found here  and a poster can be downloaded
In addition, the legislation can be read here

Update 3 November 2020

We have received a few queries regarding Remembrance Sunday.  The government has stated that as an exemption from the new National Restrictions (subject to Commons vote on Wednesday), a service of remembrance can only take place outdoors around a cenotaph.  Therefore, no congregational services can take place on church grounds but ministers can broadcast a service virtually.  More information can be found here.  

Update 2 November 2020

Following the Prime Minister’s statement on 31 October, it has been confirmed that new National Restrictions will be brought into effect from 5 November 2020  (subject to a Commons vote on Wednesday) in England.*  
As part of these new restrictions, places of worship and their ancillary accommodation will have to close or remain closed for congregational worship and all other user groups, except for the following:

  • Individual Prayer
  • To broadcast acts of worship
  • Funerals (a maximum of 30 close family & friends can attend)
  • Formal childcare or where part of a school (including OFSTED registered early years settings)
  • Essential voluntary and public services, such as blood donation or food banks
  • Support Groups  (click here to view the guidance)
  • Place of work where the work cannot be carried out at home 
  • Repairs or construction work that is being undertaken
  • Community cafés providing a take-away service only

Unfortunately wedding ceremonies will not be permitted to take place.

Full details of all the restrictions can be found here.  

Until 5 November, the restrictions under the 3 tier system should be followed.  After 5 November, the National Restrictions will take precedence until they are lifted.  We will expect more details to follow over the coming week.  All such updates will be posted on the Methodist website, Signpost for Ministry, TMCP website and the usual communications channels (including social media) as they are made available.

*Please note this is for England only and please check local restrictions for Scotland and Wales.

Update 20 October 2020

The Welsh government has announced a Firebreak.  During this time, places of worship are closed to the public, except for those invited to a wedding or funeral and for those broadcasting a worship service.  Click here to read more.  

The English government guidance on the Safe Use of Places of Worship has been updated to  include a useful summary of restrictions for specific activities in each tier level.  The Guide for Using Your Worship Space has been amend to reflect the Covid-19 Alert Level tier system.  Updates have been made to the Guide to Managing Your Church Building.  This guide is designed to assist in preparing for conducting a Covid-19 Risk Assessment (Word) or (pdf version).  The HSE has also produced a sample risk assessment that may be of assistance.  

For information regarding local lockdown in Scotland, click here.  

Update 13 October 2020

The government has introduced a new system of local Covid-19 Alert Levels in England.  Check the alert level for your area on the List of Areas with Local Restrictions.  Then read through for the guidelines for the relevant alert level:

The government have also produced printable A4 Local Alert Level posters.
Guidance must be read in the context of where you live as devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales may have different guidelines.   

Read more

Bishops issue lockdown letter

January 5, 2021

ollowing last night’s address by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, putting the country into a full lockdown from Wednesday, January 6, the Bishop of Truro, the Rt Revd Philip Mounstephen and the Bishop of St Germans, the Rt Revd Hugh Nelson, have written to clergy and parish leaders.

The new lockdown restrictions at this time do not require places of worship to close and private prayer may also continue.

‘Be kind and understanding’

Addressing the issue over whether to keep church buildings open, the bishops’ letter reiterates their support for parishes and clergy with whatever choice they make and encourages us all to be ‘kind and understanding of those who come to different conclusions’. It states: “As we have said many times before, ‘can’ does not mean ‘must’ and while communal worship is permissible under the government’s restrictions, in some places it will not be advisable. It is for each church community to decide what to do, with support and guidance from the diocese and national church.’

Reminding all that ‘gathering for worship is one part of church life, but not everything, and gathering together in a church building is one way to worship, but not the only way’, the bishops urge us all to remember the fullness of what it means to be church and a church community.

“We are profoundly grateful”

The bishops are keen to acknowledge all the efforts already put in to maintaining church over the last year.

“Over the last 11 months, through times of lockdown and eased restrictions, the church in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has continued to worship, pray and serve – often in creative ways and at significant cost –  and we are profoundly grateful for everything you have done to make that possible.

“During that time we have learnt about worshipping online and by phone, about how to stay safe when we are together in church, about running food banks and debt centres, about sharing our faith and being of practical service to our neighbours. In all of this, profoundly demanding as it has been, we have encountered God in new ways and learnt more about his love for his fragile and suffering world.”

Online & Dial-in Services available

In many areas the various online services and offerings have continued even when the country was not in lockdown. You can find the latest information as to what online services and events are available on the diocesan website here. There is also information about dial-in services available for those who are not online.

Reflecting on the situation we all now find ourselves again, the bishops’ letter goes on to say: “Now we face a new lockdown, and we do not underestimate the demands it places on you and on the communities you serve, especially schools and colleges, where head teachers, staff and students are facing another year of profound disruption. Our prayers are with you all.

“Much is changing as a result of Covid and we have learnt much and lost much. We are being called into an unknown future we had not planned for and while the vaccine offers a way out of the restrictions, life will not return to the normal we once knew. The world is changing, and the church is changing too.

“But we are people of hope, not simply in the future offered by a vaccine, but in the greater future promised by God. Our prayer therefore is that we will all keep our eyes fixed on Jesus Christ, in whom the fullness of hope dwells, and who is the presence of God’s good future with us now. It is in this future, which is nothing less than the Kingdom of God, that our true hope lies.”

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This post will expire on Saturday March 6th, 2021 11:59pm

Response from the Bishop of London to new Covid-19 restrictions

04/01/2021

Following Monday’s statement by the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, detailing new restrictions in England to control the spread of Covid-19, The Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, who chairs the Church of England’s Covid Recovery Group, said: 

“The Prime Minister’s words tonight underline the severity of the situation for the country, as the virus continues to spread rapidly. At a time like this, the Church is here to offer comfort and spiritual support to everyone. We have a duty to care for each other, but particularly those who are vulnerable or who may be most at risk.

“The Government has chosen not to suspend public worship in England at this time and we will continue to follow the guidance and ensure that churches remain as safe as possible. The Government guidance on the safe use of places of worship makes clear that those attending a place of worship must not mingle with anyone outside their household or support bubble.

“However, some may feel that it is currently better not to attend in person, and there will be parishes which decide to offer only digital services for the time-being. Clergy who have concerns, and others who are shielding, should take particular care and stay at home.

“I would urge everyone in our churches to pray for those on the front line in our public services – the NHS and those working in social care, for schools and many others on whom we depend; and for parents and carers of children at this anxious and stressful time.

“There is hope. The vaccination programme is underway and, as Christians, we have a deeper hope in God that comforts us beyond fear itself. As we have been remembering this Christmas Season, even in the midst of our darkest fears, that hope brings light.”

Read more

This post will expire on Thursday March 4th, 2021 11:59pm

Response to updated coronavirus restrictions


Following the announcement of fresh restrictions, including a new higher tier, ahead of Christmas, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, who chairs the Church of England’s Covid Recovery Group, said: “The news of fresh restrictions in many areas will be a bitter blow.
“For many people, it will mean spending Christmas Day alone.
“None of us has experienced a situation quite like it in our lifetimes.
“We note the rise in infections and hospitalisations with real concern.
“But we also know that there is real hope. We are nearer the end of this than the beginning, with a vaccine already being made available and treatments improving.
“We recognise the increased risk we face from the coronavirus – which has already taken so many lives and has now developed a new, more easily transmissible, strain – and we recognise our duty to look out for our neighbours and protect the vulnerable.
“So, as many of us enter these new restrictions, we must commit ourselves more than ever to looking out for those who are alone, to caring for those in need and to praying for our nation and world.
“We know that public worship – both in person and through remote means – has brought comfort, hope and inspiration to so many.
“So we are grateful that, even in tier four, church buildings can be open this Christmas. But I urge everyone to take precautions and, especially for those in tier four, to be exceptionally careful.
“Even though attending public worship is permitted, many people may feel it is currently better they do not do so. Clergy and others who are shielding should certainly feel no compulsion.
“At this time of year – even this year – we celebrate the birth of Jesus with joy and hope.
“Jesus came to bring light that shines in the darkness.
“We need that light now and always.”  

The Church of England Communications Team
Church House
Great Smith Street
London
SW1P 3AZ

Direct Dial Telephone: 020 7898 1326
Email: comms@churchofengland.org
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Pilot for family members to get regular testing for safer care home visits

Named family and friends may soon be able to regularly visit loved ones in care homes as a new testing pilot is launched.

Published 14 November 2020 From: Department of Health and Social Care

  • Care homes across Hampshire, Cornwall and Devon will pioneer the new system which will see a designated visitor given access to tests
  • Around 20 care homes will be included in the trial before a wider roll-out in December

Family members or friends of those living in care homes will be given regular testing to reunite them with their loved ones in care homes as a new pilot launches on Monday (16 November 2020).

The pilot is taking place in around 20 care homes across Hampshire, Cornwall and Devon from Monday and will be rolled out more widely in December in time for Christmas.

Regular testing will be offered to one family member or friend per resident, which – when combined with other infection-control measures such as PPE – will support meaningful visits. These will enable, where possible, indoor visits without a screen to take place while reducing the risk to care home residents, staff and visitors.

Visitors will be offered either PCR tests which they can do at home, or the new 30-minute rapid lateral flow tests (LFTs), which can be administered in person at care homes before a visit.

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This post will expire on Sunday January 17th, 2021 11:14am

Carols on the Doorstep : 20 Dec, AT HOME

Carols on the Doorstep

Thank you for your interest in Carols on the Doorstep in partnership with Premier Radio.

Our event is being held on Sunday 20th December at 5:30pm for about 15 minutes and we will sing about 4 carols. The carol sheet will be available from here in the next few days, we are just finalising things with the radio station so keep checking back.

The poster is available for you to download below for advertising on social media and around your community as well as an invitation which you can use to invite others on your street to join in.

We are aware there are other similar events happening in some parts of the country including doorstep carols which originated in Shropshire and these are being held on the 16th December at 6pm and is for 30 minutes. We are more than happy for people to choose which they feel works best for them and their community in terms of date and time and length. We know many areas cannot get their local radio station on board which was why we ended up partnering with Premier, we didn’t want any communities not to be able to participate.

We look forward to communities coming together on either date and having a good carol sing and bringing some joy.

Carols on the Doorstep Poster Download

Carols-on-the-Doorstep-Invitation (word format) Download

Carols-on-the-Doorstep-Invitation (pdf format) Download

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This post will expire on Sunday December 20th, 2020 11:59pm

Christingle in a time of Covid

Christingle

The Children’s Society have produced some brilliant resources for holding Christingle services this year.

Some of the highlights include:

The resources also include branded Christingle paper bags, Christingle songs and hymns, colour in window stickers, balloons, candles, red tape, candle collection boxes and donation envelopes, amongst many others.

All the Christingle resources can be viewed and ordered here.

Read more

This post will expire on Friday January 1st, 2021 10:01am

A Letter to the Nation from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have invited the nation to join them in prayer, in a message encouraging ‘calm, courageous and compassionate’ responses to the difficulties of the second national lockdown in England.
 
Dear Friends,
These are deeply challenging and difficult times for us all. When we are surrounded by fear and suffering, it can be hard to feel hopeful. This coming winter feels like it will be longer and darker than usual.
There is a story in the Bible where Jesus and his disciples are caught in a storm. The disciples are understandably terrified as the wind and waves threaten to overpower them. ‘Why are you so afraid?’, Jesus asks. This year, we too have been caught in a storm which often feels overwhelming. And yet we can look to Jesus, in the boat with us, who calms the storm and comforts us in our fear.
We are writing to share our belief that whoever you are, and whatever you happen to believe, you are loved by God. Beyond measure. We also want you to know that we are praying for you, particularly asking that Christ’s love will comfort us, calm our fears, and lead our nation and our world through this terrible pandemic. Starting this week, we have asked every church to pray each day at 6pm. We invite you to join with us. You’ll be able to find simple resources on the Church of England website and social media channels.
There are three other responses that we want to encourage everyone to consider –
First, let’s be calm. By only buying what we need and not hoarding, or by reaching out to our neighbours as we did during the first lockdown, we can be stronger together in ways that are impossible if we go it alone. When things go wrong – as they always will with such complex challenges – let us look for good and right ways forward together.
Secondly, let’s be courageous. There are many reasons to be fearful at the moment, but the story of Christ calming the waves calls us to give our fears to Jesus and have faith in Him. The British willingness just to get on with things is one of our very best characteristics – let us not be paralysed by fear. We will all need each other’s courage in the months to come.
Thirdly, let’s be compassionate. So many of us are holding so much pain – our own and the pain of those we love. We will need to be gentle, kind and patient with each other. In the first wave we showed we are a nation of compassion and kindness. Let’s dig deep and keep that love for our neighbours strong in this second time of struggle.
Even though there is much darkness around us, there are also many points of light in the weeks ahead.
This Sunday is Remembrance Day. As we remember the courage and sacrifice of those who gave everything for this nation in war, we are also reminded of the possibility for hope after destruction, of new life after suffering. In the coming weeks, there are great religious ceremonies. For Hindus, Sikhs and Jains there is Diwali, the festival of light. Sikhs will celebrate the birth of Guru Nanak. The Jewish community will observe Hanukkah. Many Muslim communities have just celebrated Eid-e-Milad, the anniversary of the birth of Muhammad.
Soon it will be Christmas. At his birth Jesus was also called Emmanuel. It’s a word that appears in lots of carols. It means ‘God is with us’. And this is the message of Christmas: in Jesus, God is with us, sharing our darkness and our struggles, bringing comfort and joy. It is the source of our hope. As the Bible says: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” (John 1:5) Let us shine in the darkness of this winter.
May God bless you and keep you, and all those you love.
The Most Revd & Rt Hon Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury 
The Most Revd & Rt Hon Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York 
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This post will expire on Monday January 4th, 2021 3:42pm

Interfaith call to PM to allow public worship

Church Leaders and leaders from other faiths are sending an open letter to The Prime Minister, The Rt Hon Boris Johnson, calling for buildings used for public worship to remain open for that purpose. The Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, the two Anglican Archbishops, CTE President Pastor Agu and leaders from Jewish, Hindu, Sikh and Moslem faith communities, among others, have signed this letter.

The faith leaders set out how public worship can play a vital role in supporting social cohesion and mental health and offer “an essential sign of hope”.

They conclude: “We call on the government to recognise and support this, and enable us to continue to worship safely, as part of the essential fabric of the nation.”

Read the full letter here.

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This post will expire on Sunday January 3rd, 2021 11:00pm

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