Coronavirus (advice for churches)


First published on: 17th March 2020

LATEST UPDATES:

Updated: Friday 10 December

Updated: Thursday 9 December

The Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, who leads the Church of England’s Covid Recovery Group, said: "As we look forward to celebrating again the coming of Jesus into our world, we can do so with hope.
"Few of us imagined when we first heard of the coronavirus at the beginning of last year that we would now be approaching our second Christmas of a global pandemic.
"The recent emergence of the new Omicron variant and the evidence we’ve seen already of its rapid spread is a cause of real concern.
"And while we are hugely thankful for the rapid development and mass rollout of the vaccines - and the current booster programme - there are important steps we should take now to protect ourselves and each other.
"As Christians we have a duty to care for one another, especially those who are most vulnerable, and the latest measures announced by the Government should offer some extra protection and reassurance for people.
"Caring for one another, sharing, hope, faith and most of all the knowledge that God is with us are at the heart of Christmas.
"This Christmas we will be coming together – whether in person or online – to worship God and celebrate his coming into the world as a human being like us.
"Amid all that we have been through together in the last two years that hope is as strong as ever."


Risk Assessments
Before opening your church building you must complete a risk assessment. Find guidance and a template for your risk assessment below:

Risk assessment guidance

Risk assessment template for opening church buildings

Volunteer safer recruitment

Risk assessment Template for Outdoor Worship

Safeguarding

Talking to a child worried about coronavirus
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).
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.

Online and Digital Church

Running virtual services and online worship
- Legal regulations around streaming services: Here's the guidance (see Livestreaming topics in the FAQ's 'Prayer and Worship' section) given by the Church of England's national Digital Team.
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.
Zoom
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:
- Download this document with hints and tips for Zoom good practice for your wellbeing.

Wellbeing and Mental Health

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
The national church have published guidance regarding the personal risk factors to clergy, church workers and volunteers.
Mental Health Support
Please visit our Wellbeing page that gives details of support available through the diocese.

Everyday Faith at Home

Everyday Faith at Home
Since the start of lockdown we have had to find new ways to live out our Everyday Faith at Home. We've now created a new webpage on which we have gathered some resources and tools you might want to access to aid in your personal discipleship from home. Click here to visit our 'Everyday Faith at Home' page.




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