To all clergy in the Diocese of Southwark, copied to Lay Ministers, Churchwardens and Deanery Lay Chairs
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Following the Government’s announcement last weekend that face coverings were to be mandatory in places of worship, we wanted to share with you the guidance which has been developed by the Recovery Group. Bishop Christopher and the Coronavirus Task Group commend this pattern to you all, asking you to make local decisions concerning distancing and whether face coverings are necessary in certain situations.
- Face coverings during worship
In England, face coverings are currently required by law to be worn in shops, supermarkets, indoor transport hubs, indoor shopping centres, banks, building societies, post offices and on public transport. From 8 August, face coverings are also required by law to be worn in a greater number of public indoor settings including places of worship, museums, galleries, cinemas and public libraries.
There are valid exemptions for some individuals and groups not to wear a face covering in these settings. In particular, those who are leading services or events in a place of worship, and those who assist them (for instance by reading, preaching, or leading prayer), do not always need to wear a face covering, although one should be worn especially if physical distancing cannot be maintained (for example, when distributing consumables). This exemption does not apply to worshippers, who should wear face coverings consistent with the requirements for any other public space unless they have a valid reason for not wearing a face covering.
- Face coveringsduring weddings
In England, face coverings are currently required by law to be worn in shops, supermarkets, indoor transport hubs, indoor shopping centres, banks, building societies, post offices and on public transport. From 8 August, face coverings are also required by law to be worn in a greater number of public indoor settings including places of worship, registry offices, museums, galleries, cinemas and public libraries.
There are valid exemptions for some individuals and groups not to wear a face covering in these settings – in particular, those who are leading services or events in a place of worship. Those exemptions will also cover the bride and groom at a wedding and those officiating/leading the wedding. This exemption does not apply to those observing the wedding, who should wear face coverings consistent with the requirements for any other public space.
- Funding opportunities
The Allchurches Trust has announced grants of up to £50,000 for projects related to the Coronavirus pandemic. They are interested in funding projects:
– responding to the issues of loneliness and isolation exacerbated by the Coronavirus pandemic where new and/or enhanced support is being proposed
– focused on growing community resilience and promoting mental and emotional health and well-being
- focused on growing technological capability and resilience and supporting those without online access to get online through training and support.
To find out more information about the programme and apply online go to www.allchurches.co.uk/hopebeyond
In a similar vein, the Government has announced funding for arts and cultural organisations through the COVID-19 pandemic. The package includes funding for national cultural institutions in England and investment in cultural and heritage sites to restart construction work paused as a result of the pandemic.
The three most relevant to churches/cathedrals are:
– the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage (administered jointly by Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund), primarily revenue funding for organisational resilience
– a capital fund for heritage (administered by Historic England). Details can be found at: https://www.heritagefund.org.uk/funding/culture-recovery-fund-for-heritage
– the Culture Recovery Fund grants (administered by the Arts Council), primarily revenue funding in support of cultural and arts organisations and activities including choirs.
Applications must be submitted by 17 August. Please contact Duncan Gregory, Church Buildings Officer, on email@example.com for more information.
You will also find attached a document from the Church of England that lays out the UK Government’s Financial Measures in response to the Coronavirus.
With all good wishes for the next few weeks, although it seems likely that we may be in touch again in the not too distant future.
The Coronavirus Task Group
(Bishop Christopher, the Very Revd Andrew Nunn, the Venerable Alastair Cutting, Ruth Martin and the Revd Canon Wendy Robins)
Wendy S Robins
Director of Press and Communications
& Bishop’s Press Officer
4 Chapel Court
Borough High Street
London SE1 1HW
Tel: 0207 939 9436
Mob: 07831 694021
As a result of the coronavirus my colleagues and I are working from home until the restrictions are lifted. My office number is diverted to my mobile and we are still here to deal with emails and requests from our parishes.