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

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