St Luke’s Virtual Wellbeing Programme

Specifically-prepared resources to support clergy wellbeing during a time of Covid through reflection either individually or as a group.

The St Luke’s Virtual Wellbeing Programme is updated every Monday and all the resources will be available here for you to use as and when you need them.

Week 1 – Thoughts from a trauma informed perspective
Week 2 – Making a start on long-term recovery from a crisis
Week 3 – Self-care at a time of loss
Week 4 – Covid-19, crisis fatigue – and you
Week 5 – Prayer, wellbeing and our rootedness in God
Week 6 – Relatedness
Week 7 – Rhythms and Wellbeing
Week 8 – Meditation on Lament
Week 9 – Here be dragons
Week 10 – Creating a safe space
Week 11 – Understanding the body
Week 12 – A Christian approach to managing anxiety
Week 13 – Reflections on Transitions
Week 14 – Liminality in a time of covid
Week 15 – Easing out of Lockdown
Week 16 – Ministering to Uncertainty

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Living Well through the next Six Months

One of a set of seven posters from the Diocese of Oxford.

The Bishop of Oxford introduces the programme:

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

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

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Minority communities in the time of Covid and Protest : A Study of BAME Opinion

Our new report explores the diversity of opinion within Britain’s ethnic minority communities at a time of pandemic and protest.

During a time when questions of race relations, racism and systemic discrimination in British society have come to the fore, HOPE not hate Charitable Trust and the Joseph Rowntree Trust have conducted a major survey of opinion across Britain’s Black and ethnic minority communities to better understand our country’s experiences during this time. 

Our rare survey looked at opinion on a range of social and personal issues from Black Lives Matter protests, debates over statues and historical racism, the effects of Covid-19, views on policing, intercommunity relations, identity and more.

Though the limitations of the administrative term BAME are well debated, our unique sampling of just ethnic minority communities gave us a chance to outline both the universally shared experiences resulting from being a minority and the unique perspectives of the many varied faiths, races, generations and heritages within Britain.

Our report found:

  • Widespread support for Black Lives Matter protests across ethnic minorities.
  • A lack of faith in the police and the courts, but with the benefit of the doubt extended to most individual officers
  • Evenly divided opinion as to whether the UK is one of the least racist countries in the world and whether you can admire someone’s achievements even if they had racist views.
  • A scepticism around the ‘statue debate’ which was seen by many as a politically correct distraction from the real debate
  • Both a generation gap and ‘immigration gap’ when it came to assessments of racism
  • Racism is one of people’s biggest concerns but most believe that they are in control of their future
  • A consensus amongst ethnic minorities on the importance of black history and BLM
  • Worrying sense of alienation from political representation, particularly amongst women
  • Greater economic hardship as a result of Covid-19 and lockdown compared to wider population
  • Increasing importance of religion and religious identity especially for younger generation
  • Generally positive intercommunal feeling but not without noteworthy pockets of tensions and frictions

Read the full report ‘Minority Communities in the Time of Covid & Protest: A Study of BAME Opinion’ to find out much more.

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Cornwall’s Faith Communities Invited to Join New Alliances

During lockdown there has been significant joint working within the voluntary sector, pioneered by Cornwall Voluntary Sector Forum. These new approaches to collaboration, and plans to strengthen the sector and better serve the people of Cornwall are well developed and starting to roll out. The full details of the Alliance agreements can be found on the VSF website here, but the highlights are:

  • VERA, the VCSE Emergency Response Alliance, will continue to meet as a strategic alliance for the VCSE. VERA is comprised of VCSE chief executive officers representing a wide range of services to residents and visitors.
  • Thematic Alliances, with four up and running (Infrastructure, Mental Health, Disability and Carers) and plans for 13 more, with membership from organisations which deliver applicable services, to focus on specific beneficiary groups or single issue causes.
  • Local Alliances, building from the community response hubs, commencing in September. Local alliances will help more organisations to get involved, and collaborate to improve their local offerings.

If you are interested in being part of this, please visit the VSF website, join as a member (it’s free) and let us know what areas you are interested in.

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Social Prescribing – new insights and recommendations from the VCSE sector: 9 Sep, ONLINE

You are invited to a webinar at 10am Wednesday 9 September, to launch two new reports on how best to support the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise sector (VCSE) to play its role in social prescribing. Please register to receive joining instructions for this free event.

National Voices, the coalition of health and social care charities in England, will be launching its report Rolling Out Social Prescribing – understanding the experience of the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector.

TCV, who were funded to develop aspects of social prescribing by The National Lottery Community Fund, will be releasing their report How Do We Sustain Social Prescribing In The Wake Of Covid-19?

The NHS’s new strategic commitment to social prescribing represents a welcome recognition of the distinctive role of the VCSE sector in supporting people to live well, whatever their health conditions, and in building healthy communities. It is a key opportunity for our sector to establish effective partnerships with the NHS.

This unique partnership event will present, compare and discuss the findings and recommendations from two recent research projects, reflecting the views and experiences of hundreds of people from across the VCSE sector.

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WCC, Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue release “Serving a Wounded World” document

27 August 2020

The World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) have released a joint document, “Serving a Wounded World in Interreligious Solidarity: A Christian Call to Reflection and Action During COVID-19 and Beyond.” Its purpose is to encourage churches and Christian organizations to reflect on the importance of interreligious solidarity in a world wounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The document offers a Christian basis for interreligious solidarity that can inspire and confirm the impulse to serve a world wounded not only by COVID-19 but also by many other wounds.

The publication is also designed to be useful to practitioners of other religions, who have already responded to COVID-19 with similar thoughts based on their own traditions.

The document recognizes the current context of the pandemic as a time for discovering new forms of solidarity for rethinking the post-COVID-19 world. Comprised of five sections, the document reflects on the nature of a solidarity sustained by hope and offers a Christian basis for interreligious solidarity, a few key principles and a set of recommendations on how reflection on solidarity can be translated into concrete and credible action.

WCC interim general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca reflected that interreligious dialogue is vital to healing and caring for one another on a global level. “In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the human family is facing together an unprecedented call to protect one another, and to heal our communities,” he said. “Interreligious dialogue not only helps clarify the principles of our own faith and our identity as Christians, but also opens our understanding of the challenges—and creative solutions—others may have.”

Cardinal Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, president of the PCID, reflected that Christian service and solidarity in a wounded world have been part of agenda of the PCID and WCC since last year. The COVID-19 pandemic pressed the project into action as “a timely ecumenical and interreligious response,” he said, adding that “the pandemic has exposed the woundedness and fragility of our world, revealing that our responses must be offered in an inclusive solidarity, open to followers of other religious traditions and people of good will, given the concern for the entire human family.”

The document is the latest to be co-produced by the WCC and the PCID following the publication of “Education for Peace in a Multi-Religious World: A Christian Perspective” in May 2019.

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The Methodist Church: Coronavirus Guidance for Property updated 18 Aug

Update 18 August 2020

Updates on singing & the use of wind musical instruments and the addition of  links for government guidance for Scotland & Wales 

Update 10 August 2020

Updates on the following to include the more detailed guidance on when to wear face coverings:

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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Coronavirus: Missional & Theological reflections

Coronavirus continues to have a profound impact right across our world.

For a number of years Christians have been considering how we re-imagine church in a post-Christendom landscape. The rupture to our normal lives from the COVID-19 pandemic has been dramatic. The way in which normal life is being changed and shut down provides an opportunity for the church to practice the two greatest commandments.

During a crisis there are both dangers and opportunities. In a national emergency we have the chance to counter fear with peace and panic with the reassurance of God’s presence and love. In this period, new blogs, prayers and reflections have been produced that might help us in an era of social distancing and isolation to start rethinking the mission of the church in these strange new times.

CTE’s Rev Dr Ben Aldous has compiled an extensive list of links covering:

  • Theological Reflections
  • Biblical themed reflections
  • Isolation and Trauma
  • Missiological and future church reflections
  • Being a Good Neighbour
  • COVID-19 and academic reflections
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Treasure discovered during lockdown

August 11, 2020

By Jac Smith, Truro Diocese

As Revd Canon Vanda Perret says in one of her recent blogs, one constant throughout the history of church life and the way people worship, is that it is always changing. Perhaps not quite as radically or as quickly as it has changed during these Covid dominated months, but change is woven into the fabric of worship. Another constant, of course, is God. He hasn’t changed, He hasn’t left us and as Vanda says of the current re-opening of churches, “When we gather to worship together God will be with us in the same way God is with us as we worship at home, on the internet, on the TV and radio.”

What to keep from lockdown and what to let go of?

So, what can we learn from these changes? What will we keep, and what will we let go of?

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