Coronavirus (advice for churches)

First published on: 17th March 2020

LATEST UPDATES: The information below was amended on 27 July 2020.

In light of the current coronavirus pandemic we will endeavour to keep you up-to-date with the latest advice for churches and parishes. We are asking all church ministers to regularly check these web pages, which we will try to update regularly, as well as the continuously updated advice and 'frequently asked questions' (FAQs) on the national Church of England web pages here. You can see what the latest updates are by linking to the Version Log at the very bottom of that page.

Bishops Martyn and Guli, and our Archdeacons, as well as the diocesan Mission and Ministry team, are  supporting our clergy and lay leaders in prayer and practical matters, just as they are doing for their parishioners and communities. We have been sharing a new video message from Bishop Martyn here every week throughout lockdown, as well as on our Facebook, Twitter and Youtube channels. Below is his final weekly message of the summer.


Here you can check out all of Bishop Martyn's weekly videos during the pandemic.

With rapidly changing advice and information on the opening of church buildings for private prayer, here is a document with guidance for controlling the risks in your places of worship and buildings. There is also a risk assessment form here and guidance for completing the risk assessment here.

The following is guidance from the Church of England 

It will be relevant for those churches not in the new Leicester lockdown zone. For those churches outside the zone that are not yet ready or able to re-open there is guidance on a simple resolution the PCC can pass in order to allow the building to remain closed for longer (see  the legal considerations link below). Our Bishops have been very clear in setting out that where it is not safe or possible to re-open a church, it is perfectly acceptable not to. Every church situation is different. The national advice now also makes that clear and provides more information for clergy, lay leaders and PCCs. 

New advice on the conduct of public worship (including details on use of microphones) has been added following the publication of Government guidance, with updated risk assessmentlegal considerations and advice on opening church buildings to the public. New guidance has also been released regarding the wearing of face coverings in churches. Click here to read more about use of masks.

In case it helps, there is a new flowchart to help churches plan their re-opening (this is an optional resource for use by those who find it helpful) as well as additional information on funerals and other activities here.

Safeguarding: The NSPCC has created a new webpage with information and advice for parents or carers who are worried a child or young person may be struggling with their mental health or has anxiety about coronavirus. The webpage includes information on: talking about feelings and worries; keeping in touch and balancing screen time; ways to create structure and routine; and helping to give children a sense of control. Read the information and advice: Talking to a child worried about coronavirus (COVID-19). Futher vital information about safeguarding can be found here. Please also see our Frequently Asked Questions below.

Domestic Abuse: We know that for those experiencing domestic abuse, self isolating at home presents additional dangers. Women’s Aid have provided some specific safety advice.

Wellbeing of clergy and other church leaders/employees.   We give thanks for all the pastoral care and support being offered in parishes throughout the diocese to those particularly affected by the pandemic. We also recognise that clergy and church leaders/employees are themselves affected in different ways, so here is a link to some wellbeing resources and materials specifically for clergy and church leaders/employees.

A number of churches have contacted us looking for clarity on the legal regulations around streaming servicesHere's the guidance given by the Church of England's national Digital Team.

Regular updates from the Church of England: Please keep an eye onthe national Church of England coronavirus web pages here for the latest guidance and advice.

Everybody Welcome Online: Here’s some really useful analysis and reflection on how churches have been using streaming, social media and other new technologies over the last few weeks. While we’re aware that not all churches have the resources (or broadband coverage!) to do “virtual” church, these are some detailed early observations which many will find useful, and includes suggestions on how to make online church as welcoming and visitor-friendly as possible. A further two documents have now been released, one update building on the original, and one looking to the future.

If your church uses Zoom, please see these updated guidelines and accompanying consent form which include information on obtaining permissions and safeguarding implications (with some particular reference to those under the age of 16) for Zoom meetings and gatherings:

To see news stories from our churches, fresh expressions of Church, chaplaincies and schools around the diocese during lockdown, click here.


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