To all clergy in the Diocese of Southwark, copied to Lay Ministers, Parish Secretaries, Churchwardens, Deanery Lay Chairs and Deanery Secretaries
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The Church of England has issued revised guidance for the use of our churches during the second lockdown and here are the details for you.
- Church of England Guidance during the second lockdown
The major change as you will know during this second lockdown is that our churches can be open for private prayer and that services can be streamed from behind closed doors. Those there to help with this should be kept to a minimum. It is, however, useful to read the new guidance which is attached and which can be found here: https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2020-11/COVID%2019%20New%20Lockdown%20Guidance_v1.0.pdf
- Risk Assessment
A revised Risk Assessment has also been issued which can be found here https://www.churchofengland.org/media/20510
- Streaming services
We trust that streaming services went well over the weekend and that it is now beginning to be a little like second nature for those of you who were able to do it during the first lockdown and have continued in a mixed mode since then.
If streaming is new to you or you have any problems or queries we are pleased to be able to attach a helpful document about streaming from the Church of England Communications Team which can be found here https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2020-11/COVID%2019%20Livestreaming%20Worship%20v1.0_1.pdf
Also if you would like some help and advice please do contact Daniel Stone in Press and Communications who should be able to help you (email@example.com)
- Government guidance on use of place of worship
The Government has re-issued guidance on the safe use of places of worship which can be found here:
- Government guidance on funerals
The Government has also re-issued guidance on funerals which can be found here:
- Guidance from Becky Clark
Becky Clark who is the Director of Churches and Cathedrals and Secretary to the Church Buildings Council and Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England
Has also sent the following information:
It is important to note that, whilst the places of worship guidance applies in most circumstances, other government guidance also has an impact on churches and cathedrals depending on the activity taking place within them. The DCMS guidance on performing arts venues applies if churches or cathedrals are operating as concert or performance halls, and whilst it allows for professional groups to rehearse and perform/broadcast with no audience, non-professional groups are not permitted. It may be reasonable to consider child and adult choristers as professionals for these purposes, but other church choirs probably would not be so counted. I know this is somewhat confusing, but it’s easier if the basic principle is understood: as few people as possible should be out and about and mixing with each other. All venues are being asked to use their common sense and support the efforts to reduce the spread of the virus as far as they are reasonably able to do so. So if in doubt, the question is not how far the law might be pushed but instead: how essential is this activity and does that justify the risks?
The guidance on multi-purpose community facilities, which has applications to church halls, has not yet been updated but we anticipate this will happen shortly.
There is no change to guidance around construction, maintenance, repairs, archaeology, surveys and investigations, conservation, curation and care of collections, and associated activities: all are still permitted so long as a risk assessment has been done and safety mitigations put in place, as they cannot be done from home. The guidance and the risk assessment template can be found at the following addresses: https://www.churchofengland.org/media/20646
We will, of course be in touch again if there are further announcements and changes.
With our continued thanks and prayers for all that you do.
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