Update - 7th January 2020
Some helpful documents for churches have appeared on the Church of England Covid Homepage.
Permitted Activities under Lockdown
Note that under the new restrictions, travel to church is allowed, however, people are advised to avoid travelling outside of their village, town or the part of a city where they live. This has particular relevance where there may be only one or two churches in a multi-parish benefice which are suitable for worship under stringent covid conditions.
We strongly urge you not to hold services which encourage people to leave their village or suburb or similar. Please consider moving entirely online.
You will also find a document pertaining to legal questions of suspending public worship. You may find it helpful to use the form of words suggested but we do not insist on this – in particular, if you have already let us know you are suspending public worship, there is no need to repeat this with that particular set of words.
Church Buildings as Vaccination Centres
If you have been approached or are considering to offer your church building to become a vaccination centre, please see guidance here.
The Significant Challenge of the New Strain
We cannot reiterate strongly enough that the new strain of Covid-19 poses a significantly more difficult challenge to control because it is that much more transmissible. Many of you have therefore already informed us they are suspending public worship and going solely online, and we fully support you in that.
‘Mingling’ by congregations, ie chatting in the aisle or in the churchyard, is emerging as a major problem in spite of guidance both nationally and locally; if hand on heart you know this is not something you – understandably - are able to prevent, we strongly encourage you to suspend public worship and go solely online. NHS staff are coming under increasingly severe pressure in our region and they will also appreciate this.
For this reason, both bishops have also moved entirely to participation in online worship for the time being in order so as not to be potential spreaders.
Going online only?
We remember those who have no internet access. Please publicise the Church of England’s DailyHope, a free national telephone line, which offers music, prayers and reflections as well as full worship services at the end of the phone.
The line – which is available 24 hours a day on 0800 804 8044 – has been set up particularly with those in mind who are unable to join online church services during the period of restrictions; to provide comfort and spiritual nourishment to those who are most isolated in our society.
And in other news: College of Preachers – Online Courses
To book a place on any of these workshops, go to www.collegeofpreachers.co.uk/events, and follow the link for the workshop you wish to book.
Preaching in a Scientific Age
- 13 January 2021, 10.30-13.00 | via Zoom
- Workshop leader: Revd Jennifer Brown, Director of Training for the College of Preachers and former Science Missioner in the Diocese of Oxford
How to Craft a Faithful Sermon
- 10 February 2021, 15.00-17.00 | via Zoom
- Webinar Leader: Revd Prof Karoline Lewis, Professor and Marbury E Anderson Chair of Biblical Preaching, and Programme Director for the Doctor of Ministry in Biblical Preaching at Luther Seminary in St Paul, Minnesota, USA, and Programme Director for the Festival of Homiletics.
Preaching on Mark's Gospel through Lent
- 17 February 2021, 10am | via Zoom
- Workshop leader: Revd Dr Ian Paul. Dr Paul is a writer, blogger, and theologian. He is also the Managing Editor at Grove Books and ordained in the Church of England, currently ministering in the Diocese of Southwell & Nottingham.
Please find further details of these on-line workshops on the website.
From today’s reading at Morning Prayer:
See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God, and that is what we are. … Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.
(1 Jn 3:1.18)
Bishop of Huntingdon