For you quick access, below is the most recent information on the new lockdown and how they pertain to Churches.
Regulations – we are sure you’ll have all seen over night that the regulations went live (available here). They set out:
- that you can leave home to attend a Place of Worship
- how Places of Worship can open for a number of specific purposes i.e. for individual prayer and funerals etc – each purpose will be explained in the guidance. Relevant extract from the regulations below:
“(7) A person who is responsible for a place of worship must ensure that the place of worship is closed, except for uses permitted in paragraph (8) and regulation 11(18).
(8) A place of worship may be used—(a) for funerals,(b) for commemorative events celebrating the life of a person who has died,(c) to broadcast an act of worship, whether over the internet or as part of a radio or television broadcast,(d) to provide essential voluntary services or urgent public support services (including the provision of food banks or other support for the homeless or vulnerable people, blood donation sessions or support in an emergency),(e) for childcare provided by a person registered under Part 3 of the Childcare Act 2006,(f) for individual prayer, and for these purposes, “individual prayer” means prayer by individuals which does not form part of communal worship, or(g) to host any gathering which is permitted under regulation 8 or 9.
(9) A person who is responsible for a community centre or hall must ensure that the community centre or hall is closed except where it is used—(a) to provide essential voluntary activities or urgent public support services (including the provision of food banks or other support for the homeless or vulnerable people, blood donation sessions or support in an emergency),(b) for the purposes of education or training,(c) for the purposes of support groups, or(d) for the purposes of—(i) childcare provided by a person registered under Part 3 of the Childcare Act 2006, or(ii) supervised activities for children.(10) A person who is responsible for a crematorium or burial ground must ensure that the crematorium or burial ground is closed to members of the public, except—(a) for funerals or burials,(b) commemorative events celebrating the life of a person who has died, or(c) to allow a person to pay respects to a member of their household, a family member or friend.“
Q&A – We thought it would be helpful to share the answers to these with you:
Who can be involved in the broadcast from a place of worship?
- Attending a place of worship for broadcasting or filming an act of worship is permitted but should only involve those people working or volunteering who are essential for the content of the service, and for technical support to enable people to watch and worship online or via a television or radio.
- If musicians or singers usually form part of the act of worship that is being broadcast, they may participate but only if they are essential to the delivery of that act of worship. The numbers or people involved should be kept as small as possible to minimise risks and participants should follow social distancing guidance.
What about Out of School Setting activities for children?
- The guidance from DfE covering off the impact of the new national restrictions on the education sector has just been published here
- As such, out-of-school activities may continue to operate if their primary purpose is either/and/or:
- providing registered childcare
- offering other childcare activities, where this is reasonably necessary to enable parents to work or search for work or undertake training or education
- for respite care, including for vulnerable children.
- to be primarily used by home educating parents as part of their arrangements for their child to receive a suitable full-time education (which could include, for example, tuition centres, supplementary schools, or private tutors).
- Youth support services, including 1-1 youth work and support groups, may also continue to operate.
- All other out of school activities, not being primarily used by parents for these purposes, should close for face-to-face provision for the duration of the national restrictions.
What constitutes a support group such as continue to take place in a Place of Worship?
- To ensure support for the most vulnerable during this period, support groups that provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support can take place with up to 15 people attending, if the support group is organised by a business, a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution or a public body.
- Examples include support to:
- victims of crime (including domestic abuse);
- those with, or recovering from, addictions (including alcohol, narcotics or other substance addictions) or addictive patterns of behaviour;
- new parents;
- those with, or caring for persons with, any long-term illness or terminal condition or who are vulnerable;
- those facing issues related to their sexuality or identity including those living as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender;
- those who have suffered bereavement; and
- vulnerable young people, including to enable them to meet youth workers.
- Anyone working is not included as part of the 15 person limit.
Hope this is helpful and do reach out to myself or Rev Sarah if you have any specific questions that aren’t answered in these documents.