To assist churches to function in line with the latest COVID requirements the following advice documents, together with relevant FAQs have now been updated on the Church of England Advice page.
Please note that this advice is currently issued in draft form, awaiting confirmation of the exact wording of government guidance for places of worship on the use of face coverings. The guidance may change as the situation evolves and we’ll let you know as soon as we’re sent the final versions.
Today’s update is just a quick message to take a look at the government guidance on the safe use of community facilities. So many of us use our church buildings not just for worship but as community spaces and it’s important to take guidance to keep these spaces both safe and welcoming during this time.
The speed with which things are changing means that any detail I might write about re-opening our churches & buildings could be out-of-date within days (hours?)…
However, the main CofE Covid-19 page contains links to all the relevant guidance (church and government) and is updated very regularly. In the meantime, a few key links to note and use:
Weddings : I have written a one page guide on the legal preliminaries for marriage to go alongside CofE and Government guidance. It contains contact details for the Kensington Area Surrogates, plus up-to-date information on fees.
CofE guidance on risk assessments is crucial as the main way in which we can ensure that we mitigate the risks of opening when the virus is still around and by which we can keep within the bounds of Health & Safety legislation.
If in doubt, do contact your Area Dean Sarah Guinness and/or me – between us we’ll find a sensible way through the complications and questions that we’re all dealing with.
Praying for wisdom, energy, and grace in the coming days.
I wanted to take a moment to recommend Daily Hope, especially for those of you who are ministering to the elderly during this time.
Daily Hope is a free phone line (0800 804 8044) which offers a simple ministry to those who might struggle to access services and prayers online. We know churches across the country have risen to the challenge of engaging many creatively online with worship and prayer during lockdown. We were also aware that this also highlighted the ‘digital divide’ between those for whom the online world comes easily and others for whom it is inaccessible and alien. We know that less than a quarter of over 75 year olds regularly engage in online platforms and so wanted to make sure they weren’t excluded from worship in a time of isolation.That’s where Daily Hope comes in.
Daily Hope is an example of a great working together across the church – backed by the Archbishops’ Council – to deliver a solution to a real need. Specialists whose vocation is to minister amongst ‘seniors’, those who have got great tech skills, liturgists and musicians, those from Comms and the Evangelism and Witness team at Lambeth Palace gathered together at the beginning of April to see if they could make this happen.
On the 26th of April the free phoneline was launched. The line offers each caller a number of options – a collection of well-known hymns, the stories behind the hymns, joining in with Morning or Evening Prayer, or receiving the latest relevant public health advice. Since it launched, Daily Hope has received over 150,000 calls totalling 1.7 million minutes from nearly 38,000 unique callers. Callers receive a welcome from Archbishop Justin and then a series of options.Feedback has been hugely positive.
“My mum is 89 and suffers from macular degeneration. She is living alone nearly 200 miles from us without internet access, and, like many at this time, is feeling extremely depressed and isolated. A few weeks ago I told her about the phone line ‘Daily Hope’. I can’t begin to tell you how much she appreciates this initiative. It has brought her such comfort, and I know that she spends many hours listening to it, particularly in the night when she’s unable to sleep.”
Stories like this make it all worthwhile and we’d love it if you can pass out the details of this wonderful service to those in your congregation who could benefit. You can read more on the Church of England website here.
Do continue to let me know if there’s anything I can do to help you during this time.
*This page was edited on the 6th of June with updated documents, please check to make sure that you have the most up to date guidance to hand
Further to the update we did last week on the House of Bishops Recovery Group I am pleased to be able to share with you some more detailed resources to help plan for Government restrictions relating to the coronavirus pandemic being eased. Please note that we have yet to receive the definitive Government guidance so this may still change.
As you’ll remember we have been working on a suite of resources. Along with the two advice papers shared on Friday (on access for contractors and building work), this first set of advice papers relate to the current restrictions affecting buildings, and can be put into use now. These include;
In addition, however, I’m sharing with you some papers setting out advice on how activities not yet permitted might be carried out safely when the time comes.I want to emphasise that these papers are very much intended to help with forward planning and not as definitive guides. We obviously do not yet know the exact timing and sequencing by which Government restrictions may be eased and there could still be significant changes to advice, but these are intended to help churches plan based on the best information we have. They include advice on:
During the course of next week, Parish Buying will begin to make available cleaning, handwash and other supplies in preparation for the gradual re-opening of places of worship , and will be sharing information about this in their monthly newsletter. If you have any questions about these measures, please contact email@example.com.
Just a quick update today! Following the House of Bishops meeting this week, please find attached new guidance papers which will also be published on the CofE website tomorrow. Do let me know if you have any questions that I can assist with!
Guidance for Churches on Construction work is here
Guidance for on using Professional Contractors is here
Following Thursday’s Zoom meeting, below is a list of important information for clergy to know during the current COVID-19 outbreak. This is a long email, but please do read through to the end!
Funerals are currently being organised locally by Funeral Directors. The centralised system is available, but most people are just using the normal means of contacting clergy. If you are isolating and unable to do any funerals at the moment or have more than you’ve got capacity for, please email me as we can help to share the load.
Funeral Fees are currently waived. This is an expectation rather than guidance and applies whether the deceased is a COVID19 death or not. Please make sure your local Funeral Director’s know about this.
Funeral Pastoral Care for Clergy is available in the Kensington area from John Ryeland. He can put you in touch with a wide range of services that might prove helpful, such as a listening ear, prayer, psychotherapy and more. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
New Funeral Standards have now been released by London’s Strategic Coordination Group (SCG), please do familiarise yourself with them (available here) and let me know if you have any questions. The press release from SCG is here.
Liturgy for Thanksgiving and Memorial Services for future use are currently being put together. Watch this space for the update on this along with any new liturgy.
The Food Bank at St Paul’s Hounslow has capacity to deliver more widely so do refer people if you need to. The Referral pack isavailable here.
They would also appreciate additional volunteers to sort the food into bags in preparation to be collected/delivered. If anyone has volunteers who are under 70 and don’t have any underlying health conditions please email Revd Claire Clarke with their name, email address and telephone number so they can be added to the list of volunteer helpers.
Do people in your community need meals? Working with charities, the landlord of the Anglers Pub in Teddington is making meals that are frozen and can be delivered to vulnerable or older people who are isolating. Delivery and collection are available. They are still working out the logistics, but if you want to know more please click here, or contact Ben (07921 331508) or Jamie (07900 681167).
Looking for more sources of help? The Hounslow Rotary Club has put together this useful document that outline areas you can go to for different problems
TrainingBuilding Church during the COVID19 crisis. This week’s zoom, on Thursday 23rd at 2pm, will be an hour with Daniel Mackintosh, from Citizens, focusing on Community Organising and Congregational Life.
How could our congregations be different coming out of Covid19? We barely had a chance to plan upon entering this crisis, but we can plan for how we come out of it. Churches are adapting and finding new ways to grow and deepen in this moment. To build on that join us for an hour to share stories of how community organising, through organising charity Citizens UK, has been used to strengthen congregational life, develop those who have stepped up to leadership and inspire innovation in church practice.
Join the Zoom Meeting on Thursday 23rd of April at 2pm Click this link (https://zoom.us/j/334060828) or use the meeting ID: 334 060 828
Giving to Churches. Churches are taking different approaches to encourage ongoing financial giving from the congregation during this crisis. Some are putting links to giving pages/ via church suite on their website, another church is using DONATE by text to encourage people to give as they don’t seem to take a percentage (details can be found here), others are putting BACS information on church emails so that people are encouraged to keep giving, despite not being at church.
Helping people during the Crisis. Capital Mass has published this guidance to helping people financially during this crisis, we really do encourage taking a look through.
If you’re not on the clergy WhatsApp group please send me an email with your mobile and I’ll add you to the group.
I hope to see as many of you as possible on Thursday 23rd at 2pm for the training on Building Church during the COVID crisis.
Thank you so much to everyone who has volunteered to help with funerals during this difficult time. For your information, with effect from 6 April 2020, the London Diocesan Fund authorises parishes and their clergy to waive all fees for funerals, whether due to the PCC, or Diocese. This is due to the COVID 19 / Coronavirus, and will be in place until 30 June 2020 when this matter will be considered again.
At the bottom of this post, please see four documents supplied by the diocese to assist in your funeral arrangements during this time. The areas we would like to highlight to you are:
The Central point of contact for all churches in the Diocese of London: email@example.com / 020 3837 5008 from Wednesday 8th April, from 8am to 10pm 7 days a week.
Every funeral should have a celebrant
Shortened services – see Funeral Ministry Info below
Finance: Encourage churches is to be in touch with Mary Spredbury about finance. This document from the CofE helpfully sets out all the key government financial measures which could apply to churches and institutions: Link to Document here
What comes next: This is a thought-provoking piece on thinking beyond this first phase to what comes next (written by one of ‘our’ clergy): Read Here