Have you heard the call to chaplaincy?

By Jac Smith

December 2, 2020

Have you ever thought about becoming a chaplain? Are you a good listener? Do you have a heart for meeting people where they are, no matter how difficult that place might be, and helping them to find a way back?

Maybe you’ve thought you’d love to be a chaplain but don’t think you’re wise enough or holy enough. No one is – and if they think they are, they’re probably not going to be a great chaplain.

A very special role

Chaplaincy is a very special role. It’s about listening, being watchful and sensitive to other people’s feelings and situations. And it’s about seeing the presence of God, even when it’s late at night, the young person you are dealing with is drunk, bank card lost, phone out of charge and would really rather you weren’t there.

There are so many places where chaplains are present from the obvious to the obscure. From hospitals, the police, and our armed forces to our city streets late at night, music festivals, lifeboats, fishing boats, rural farms, cattle-markets.

Read more

This post will expire on Wednesday February 3rd, 2021 11:59pm

Racial Justice Webinar: ‘Black and Blue’

Watch again: this much-anticipated webinar, streamed live on Wednesday 2 December 2020, featured present and former serving black police officers about their views on the Black Lives Matter movement, institutional racism, ‘stop and search’ and related law and order issues.

Contributors included:

  • Dr Leroy Logan MBE, former superintendent in the Metropolitan police and a former chair of the Black Police Association. Leroy is also the author of Closing Ranks: My Life as a Cop.
  • Janet Hills, a Detective Sergeant in the Metropolitan Police Service. Janet is the first Female Chair of the Metropolitan Black Police Association and was also the National Black Police Association President from 2015-2017.
  • Bevan Powell MBE, the former chair of the Black Police Association and current Methodist Secretary for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

The session was chaired by the Venerable Dr Rosemarie Mallett, Archdeacon of Croydon and Revd Les Isaac OBE, CEO of the Ascension Trust.

Partners

This webinar was produced in partnership with:

Read more

This post will expire on Wednesday February 3rd, 2021 11:59pm

Record number of faith institutions launch new wave of fossil fuel divestment

16 November 2020

Today, 47 faith institutions from 21 countries, including nine institutions from the UK, announce their divestment from fossil fuels as a practical response to the climate emergency.

Participating institutions include five Catholic religious orders in the UK, two United Reformed Church Synods, UK-based local Anglican and Methodist churches, the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (Catholic) and American Jewish World Service.

The urgency of divestment and a just and green recovery from Covid-19

The announcement coincides with the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Faith leaders’ action puts pressure on government leaders, and their commitment to clean energy stands in stark contrast with many governments’ failure to deliver ambitious energy strategies.

The UK government faces increasing pressure to demonstrate global leadership on the climate crisis ahead of the UN climate talks (COP26) taking place in Glasgow in November 2021. Earlier this month, 70 organisations launched The Climate Coalition’s 10 Point Plan for a Green, Healthy and Fair Recovery. This includes a call for the UK government to end all public support for fossil fuels overseas and support countries to leapfrog to renewable and efficient energy.

Lord Deben, Chair of the UK Committee on Climate Change, recently advocated for Catholic leaders to play a more active role when he addressed hundreds of people in a webinar organised by Operation Noah and others on Catholic investment for an integral ecology. He said: ‘It is hugely important for the Catholic community to be very visible… it must be very determined, and it must be clear that we all ought to be in this together.’

This week, from 19-21 November, Pope Francis has convened the ‘Economy of Francesco’, an online conference involving more than 1,000 young adults, which will explore innovative ways of shaping a sustainable economy. This conference builds on an announcement in June, when the Vatican recommended in its first-ever operational guidelines on ecology that all Catholic organisations divest from fossil fuels.

With renewables now growing at a faster pace than fossil fuels, institutional investors are increasingly moving toward sustainable investments in the clean energy economy. Faith investors are an important part of this movement, constituting the single-largest source of divestment in the world, making up one-third of all commitments.

Recently, in preparation for the G20 summit that begins on 21 November, environment ministers released a statement that was widely seen as rubber-stamping fossil fuel bailouts and removed a long-standing G20 call for the end to fossil fuel subsidies.

UK Churches divesting from fossil fuels in response to the climate emergency

Thames North Synod and Southern Synod in the United Reformed Church are among the organisations participating in the announcement. The United Reformed Church (at a national level) and 10 out of 13 URC Synods have now completed divestment from fossil fuels, as recommended by the URC Mission Council in May 2019.

Trinity Methodist Church, Chelmsford, is another of the organisations announcing its decision to end investments in fossil fuel companies as part of the global divestment announcement. Last month, the Methodist Council voted to support a resolution on divestment from fossil fuel companies, agreeing that further action is needed by JACEI and the Central Finance Board to fully implement a motion on divestment passed by the 2017 Methodist Conference.

Earlier this year one of the Church of England’s three National Investing Bodies, which is managed by investment management company CCLA, sold its last remaining shares in fossil fuel companies. CCLA, whose CBF funds manage investments on behalf of most Church of England dioceses and many local Church of England churches, dropped its investments in oil giants Shell and Total for financial reasons.

A Church of England parish, St Mary’s Walthamstow, announced its decision to divest from fossil fuel companies as part of the global divestment announcement, meaning that 18 local CofE churches have now made fossil fuel divestment commitments. The church’s commitment to divest adds to calls for the Diocese of Chelmsford to divest the close to £1m it currently has invested in fossil fuel companies, according to a report earlier this year by DeSmog.

Last month, the Church of England Pensions Board communicated its decision to divest from ExxonMobil as a result of the US oil company’s failure to set targets for Scope 3 emissions that are generated when customers burn fossil fuels. However, the Church Commissioners intends to continue investing in ExxonMobil, despite Exxon having blocked shareholder resolutions put forward by the Church of England at its AGM in 2019 and 2020. Exxon is also planning to increase production of oil and gas by 35% by 2030.

In September, it was revealed that Shell plans to resume oil and gas exploration in the Arctic for the first time since 2015, despite pressure from faith investors and others that has exposed the inherent weakness of the fossil fuel industry. Shell has cited divestment as a material risk to its business.

Today’s divestment announcement means that more than 400 religious institutions have now committed to divest.

Read more

This post will expire on Tuesday February 2nd, 2021 11:59pm

Christmas volunteering and meals

Volunteer Cornwall want to try to ensure that no-one is left alone over Christmas. This is especially important this year given the disruption to normal life we have all faced.

They have pulled together a page to spread the word about community events taking place across Cornwall, however there are far fewer notified to them than in previous years. Some of these may need your help as a volunteer but all of them are featured because they provide opportunities – especially to older and vulnerable people – to be part of something rather than being alone through the festive period.  Find the details here.

Contact them at christmas@volunteercornwall.org.uk, telephone 01872 266988 or use the Christmas Form to share details of your planned activities if you would like them to be included on their page.

Please note that the last date for adding information on opportunities for the Christmas period will be at noon on Friday 18th December.

There are also opportunities listed for toy donations, some of which are open to receiving nominations of charities which could distribute toys to the people they work with. Make sure your organisation features, if you could use them.

Read more

This post will expire on Tuesday February 2nd, 2021 11:59pm

Changes to DBS checks in place from 28 November

Please be aware that changes to DBS checks have come in, from 28 November, regarding self-disclosure around spent, unspent and conditional convictions. We have received a helpful round-up from Safe CIC, and their partner Dominic Headley (with thanks).

The MOJ guidance makes it crystal clear that under self-disclosure rules, all unspent convictions and conditional cautions must be disclosed, just like any job or activity that is covered by the ROA 1974.

In addition, spent cautions and convictions must be disclosed if they meet the circumstances described in the table below:

Read more

This post will expire on Tuesday February 2nd, 2021 11:59pm

Green Advent Calendar

from Jesuits and Friends, Issue 107, Winter 2020, page 20

Read more Download

This post will expire on Monday February 1st, 2021 11:59pm

Methodist Church Coronavirus Official Guidance : Updated 1 Dec

Latest updated information

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

Church of England Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for churches: Updated 1 Dec

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
1 2 3 44