Coronavirus guidance for churches

LATEST ADVICE

Updated: Tuesday 18 May, 11:30

The Coronavirus reopening roadmap statement has been updated.

 

New FAQs have been added:

  • Are there any additional measures or restrictions necessary in areas of the diocese where there is a surge of Variant B.1.617.2 (Indian Variant) Cases?
  • Is it permitted to serve refreshments after a service?

The following FAQs have been updated:

  • Is it okay to worship public outdoor space that is not a churchyard?
  • Is singing permitted?
  • What advice is available regarding funerals?
  • What advice is available regarding weddings?
  • Is it permissible for community activities to take place in church halls?
  • Is it permissible for community activities to take place in places of worship?
  • Can parishes hold their PCC or APCM meetings in person?

 

Statement:  Coronavirus reopening roadmap

(Updated: 18 May 2021)

On Monday 17 May 2021 England moved to Step 3 of the roadmap out of lockdown.

The Church of England website was updated to include the following statement from The Revd Dr Brendan McCarthy, the Church of England’s adviser on medical ethics and health policy: -

 “The changes in guidance which come into effect today represent a relatively modest step along the road of easing restrictions affecting places of worship in common with many other public places.

“The increase in maximum numbers at weddings and the lifting of the cap on those permitted to attend funerals will be welcome by many families.

“A more extensive easing of restrictions is expected next month when England is due to move to step four on the Government’s ‘reopening’ roadmap.

“However, despite major progress in the rollout of vaccinations, recent developments around the world – especially the tragic events in India – show that there is still uncertainty ahead and we will continue to encourage a measured approach to the path forward as we seek to protect the most vulnerable.”

A Church of England document “COVID-19 Permitted Activities from 17th May 2021 under ‘Step 3” provides a helpful summary.

It can be accessed here: COVID-19 Permitted Activities from 17 May 2021 under ‘Step 3’

Everyone is encouraged to continue to check this website regularly.

 

Are there any additional measures or restrictions necessary in areas of the diocese where there is a surge of Variant B.1.617.2 (Indian Variant) Cases?

New FAQ: 18 May 2021

There are no specific additional measures and steps in place for areas of the diocese where there are surges of this variant.

The manner in which this variant is transmitted is consistent with how it is known the virus has been transmitted to date– so being mindful of the mantra “hands, face, space and ventilation” continues to be strongly encouraged.

 


Beware of scams!

beware the scamWe are aware of a number of scams where companies claim to be working on behalf of the Church of England to provide services such as working toward net zero carbon or installing COVID-safe air purifiers. Please be very wary of such approaches and take a few minutes to check out that companies are genuine by calling someone at Church House. Don't be pressured into providing details of your bank accounts.  Some parishes have lost money to scammers in this way.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


 

Can public worship take place in our churches?

(Updated: 29 March 2021)

Public Worship is permitted in a church, churchyard or other premises where church services are routinely held provided that any person attending is:

• alone or

• part of a group all from the same household or from two linked households

and must not join any other group or mingle with any person from another group

The organiser must carry out a statutory risk assessment and take all reasonable measures to limit risk of transmission. An updated version of the risk assessment template (v0.9) was published by the Church of England on 25 March 2021:

Risk Assessment Template for Opening Church Buildings to the Public

The Church of England Risk Assessment Template for Outdoor Worship is also available.

 

Is Individual Private Prayer Permitted in our churches?

(Updated: 29 March 2021)

Yes, it is permitted for our churches to be open for individual private prayer at this time.

It is recommended that a risk assessment is undertaken and all reasonable measures are taken to limit risk of transmission of virus.

 

Is it okay to worship public outdoor space that is not a churchyard?

(Updated: 18 May 2021)

Yes, this is permitted.

If people do want to engage in worship in these spaces, then the guidance relevant to that place should be adhered to.’

 

Is singing permitted during acts of worship?

(Updated: 18 May 2021)

On 17 May 2021 the Church of England updated their advice regarding music and singing.  The advice is as follows: -

Government guidance states that singing should follow the principles of safer singing and the principles set out in the performing arts guidance. In particular:

  • Where music plays a big part in worship, and recordings are available, these should be considered as an alternative to live singing or performing.
  • Any instrument played during worship should be cleaned thoroughly before and after use.
  • Any performers should be positioned in a way that avoids face-to-face performance, as far as possible.
  • Limit the duration of any singing, as far as possible.
  • Do what you can to improve ventilation to ensure plenty of fresh air whenever possible, including opening windows.
  • Always ensuring there is a gap of at least 2m between any performers and the first row of worshippers. Further mitigations like screens or other barriers between the performers and worshipper may also be considered.
  • If worship takes place inside, the congregation should not participate in any activity that can create aerosols, including communal singing, shouting and chanting.

Singing - Indoors

  • A group of up to 6 amateur singers can perform, or rehearse for performance with physical distancing being maintained at all times.
  • There is no limit on the number of professional singers but they should follow guidance on performing arts. Children’s choirs can also perform, whether from one school or more than one, following Government advice for out of school settings on group sizes and infection protection and control for example.
  • Where possible during worship the singers should be at the front of the church while the rest of the congregation remain seated.
  • Communal singing, by the congregation, should not take place and strict physical distancing should be observed.

Singing - Outdoors

  • When communal worship takes place in the grounds or the outside space of a place of worship, the congregation may join in with singing in multiple groups, each consisting of up to 30 people, following the principles set out in the performing arts guidance. This includes ensuring that congregation members follow physical distancing rules. 
  • The Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) has produced more detailed resources on singing and music, which can be found here.

 


What advice is available regarding Holy Communion?

(Updated: 30 December 2020)

The Church of England Guidance for the administration of Holy Communion is available here: Advice on the Administration of Holy Communion

The Church of England have now published advice about Receiving Holy Communion in both kinds by simultaneous administration it is available at this link.

 

What advice is available regarding Funerals?

(Updated: 18 May 2021)

From 17 May 2021 the restriction on numbers able to attend a funeral was further eased. Funeral attendance is no longer limited to 30 people, but is determined by how many people the covid-secure venue can safely accommodate with social distancing.

Anyone working (e.g. the officiant, a verger/churchwarden, an organist) is not included as part of the numerical limit. 

A statutory risk assessment MUST be carried out and all reasonable measures taken to limit the risk of transmission of coranavirus.

Related activities, including the burial of ashes, are also permitted provided the gathering consists of no more than 30 people.

The Church of England guidance in relation to funerals was updated on 17 May  2021: Advice for Conducting Funerals.

The aim of this advice is to support clergy and others who take funerals. Every parish and each church building is different and there can be no single solution.

 “MUST” means this is enforceable by law.

 

What advice is available regarding Weddings?

(Updated: 18 May 2021)

From 17 May 2021 weddings can proceed with up to 30 attendees.

At the present time the following applies:

Weddings are able to take place with up to 15 attendees. The organiser must carry out a statutory risk assessment and take all reasonable measures to limit risk of transmission of coronavirus, as described in the guidance available.

The number includes the bride and groom. Physical distancing should be strictly adhered to.

Anyone working (e.g. the officiant, a verger/churchwarden, an organist) is not included as part of the numerical limit. 

“MUST” means this is enforceable by law.

The Church of England updated their detailed advice document on conducting weddings: Advice for clergy conducting weddings on 17 May 2021.

Those observing the wedding, who should wear face coverings consistent with the requirements for any other public space. The bride, groom and the officiant are not required to wear a face covering.

A statutory risk assessment MUST be carried out and all reasonable measures taken to limit the risk of transmission of coranavirus.

The announcement made by the Prime Minister on 22 February 2021 outlined the following:

  • No earlier than 21 June - All limits on weddings and other life events to be removed, subject to the outcome of the scientific Events Research Programme.

In order to further assist with enquiries that are being received from couples who are seeking to plan their weddings an information sheet has been prepared which contains additional advice and guidance. This has been produced by Donna Myers and can be accessed here: Marriage services during the pandemic (February 2021)

This document reflects the information and guidance that is currently available. It will be reviewed and updated as the government and Church of England publish further, specific advice.

 

Can banns be read during public worship?

(Updated: 8 March 2021)

Yes – if the church is open for public worship it is perfectly appropriate for banns of marriage to be read.

Banns of Marriage can only be called within the context of the principal service of public worship in a parish church on a Sunday. Banns cannot be called behind closed doors during a ‘live-streamed’ or ‘virtual service’. Neither can they be called by way of a public notice which is displayed on the church door. To be valid, banns can only be called if the church is open for members of the congregation or the general public to physically attend the service concerned.

 

Can Baptisms take place? 

(Updated: 11 March 2021)

Baptisms can go ahead providing appropriate steps are taken to minimise risk.

If the baptism takes place as part of communal worship, there is no numerical cap – but the maximum number of attendees must not exceed the number that the building can safely accommodate whilst remaining covid-19 secure.

The Government recognises that communal worship comes in all shapes and sizes with some regular services as well as some additional services that mark important milestones in the faith calendar – with this in mind if a church arranges an additional service (that other members of the church are free to attend) for a baptism to take place then the maximum number of attendees must not excecced the number that the building can safely accommodate while remaining covid-19 secure.

The Church of England have updated the guidance on baptisms: Advice for Clergy Conducting Baptisms which provides detailed information and advice which is intended to assist clergy as they think through the best way of celebrating baptism.

Full immersion baptism is permitted. Planning must take place to ensure that:

  • Those being immersed should be at least 2 metres away from the congregation and officiants at all times, except while they are being immersed
  • Only one person should be immersed at any time and they should only be attended by a single officiant/clergy member
  • During the immersion, physical contact should be avoided apart from clergy/the officiant placing their hands on the head of the person being immersed
  • Clergy/the officiant should wash their hands after each person is immersed, or if this isn’t possible they should use hand sanitiser.

 

Can “Private” Life Event services take place?

New FAQ: 11 May 2021

“Private” services (i.e: not performed in the context of communal worship) will be deemed to be a “significant event” and will be permitted.

These services may include baptisms (not performed in the context of communal worship) or renewal of marriage vows.

The gathering MUST consist of no more than 30 people, a statutory risk assessment MUST be carried out and all reasonable measures taken to limit the risk of transmission of coronavirus.

 

Can Confirmations take place? 

(Updated: 30 December 2020)

Yes.  Confirmations are permitted to take place. Detailed guidance, published by the Church of England is available via the following link: Advice for the conduct of Confirmation services

Any parishes that are seeking to have confirmation services should contact the office of the relevant Bishop to make the appropriate arrangements.

 


Is it a requirement for our churches to have Covid-19 Risk Assessment in place?

 (Updated: 29 March 2021)

Yes.

For our church buildings to be open we need to have conducted a risk assessment.

The latest version of the risk assessment template was published on 26 March: Risk Assessment Template for Opening Church Buildings to the Public 

The Safer Churches document also illustrates safe ways to manage the flow of people into and out of the building while noting that corporate worship and some of the other activities it mentions are not possible at this time.

Parishes are reminded that under existing Health & Safety legislation, failure to complete a risk assessment that accounts for Covid-19 could constitute a breach of that legislation, as could having a risk assessment with insufficient measures.

The actions the enforcing authority can take include the provision of specific advice to employers to support them to achieve the required standard, through to issuing enforcement notices to help secure improvements. Serious breaches and failure to comply with enforcement notices can constitute a criminal offence, with serious fines and even imprisonment for up to 2 years.

 

Is it necessary for face coverings to be worn in churches? 

(Updated: 11 May 2021)

Face coverings are now required by law to be worn in a greater number of public indoor settings. This includes places of worship. There is no easing to this legal requirement after 17 May 2021.

Worshippers should wear face coverings consistent with the requirements for any other public space.

There are valid exemptions for some individuals and groups not to wear a face covering in these settings:

  • Those who are leading services or events in a place of worship and those who assist them (for instance by reading, preaching or leading prayer) do not always need to wear a face covering. A face covering should be worn especially when physical distanced cannot be maintained (ie distributing consumables).

  • Government guidance indicates some health, age, or equality reasons for which people may not be expected to wear face coverings.

  • Clergy and ministers are encouraged to be sensitive to the needs of those who rely on lip reading, facial expressions, or clear sound.

  • Other assisting ministers should wear a face covering at all times, except:

    • when proclaiming a reading or leading prayers, or when leading another part of the service, provided that they are able to maintain physical distancing from other individuals whilst doing so (i.e. at a lectern);

    • when receiving Holy Communion

The Church of England published an advice document that is available to download: Advice on Face Coverings

 

What do churches need to do about Test and Trace

 (Updated: 22 September 2020)

New regulations relating to Test and Trace were introduced from 18 September 2020.

The Government have stated that places of worship should keep a record of those who have attended to facilitate NHS Test and Trace.

Providing information for Test and Trace is voluntary. If somebody informs you that they do not want to provide their details to be shared for the purposes of NHS Test and Trace, they can choose to opt out.

The detailed advice note that all churches are encouraged to read (published in August 2020) remains current for now: NHS Test & Trace Data.

As are the following templates:

Test and Trace Consent Form

Test and Trace online privacy notice template

Test and Trace privacy notice template

Greater Manchester Combined Authority have conveyed a request from the NHS that public venues, such as places of worship, display a QR code to aid in Test and Trace, to support app that was launched in September 2020.

Download Introducing the NHS covid-19 App

Download How to create a QR poster for your venue

 

What happens if somebody who has attended church tests positive for Covid-19?

(New FAQ: 15 September 2020)

The person who tested positive will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace. They will determine who the "contacts" are of that person by asking them where they went etc.

There are criteria as to who would be a "contact". They are set out in the government guidance document about Test and Trace.

A ‘contact’ is a person who has been close to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 anytime from 2 days before the person was symptomatic up to 10 days from onset of symptoms (this is when they are infectious to others). For example, a contact can be:

  • people who spend significant time in the same household as a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 sexual partners a person who has had face-to-face contact (within one metre), with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, including:

    • being coughed on

    • having a face-to-face conversation within one metre 

    • having skin-to-skin physical contact, or contact within one metre for one minute or longer without face-to-face contact 

    • a person who has been within 2 metres of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes 

    • a person who has travelled in a small vehicle with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or in a large vehicle or plane near someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 

    • Where an interaction between 2 people has taken place through a Perspex (or equivalent) screen, this would not be considered sufficient contact, provided that there has been no other contact such as any of those indicated above.

If you are a contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, then you will be notified by the NHS Test and Trace service via text message, email or phone.

If you have not been notified that you are a contact, this means you do not need to self-isolate and should follow the general guidance, for example, social distancing, hand-washing, and covering coughs and sneezes.

 

What are the first steps we should take if we believe there has been a local outbreak?

(New FAQ: 11 August 2020)

The government has produced an action card. It includes all relevant steps that should be followed.

Download action card.

 


Is there any updated advice regarding recording church attendance for schools admissions purposes?

(New FAQ: 25 November 2020)

Yes.  On 24 November 2020 Deborah Smith produced a document that gives advice and information – it can be accessed here: School Admissions Advice Update November 2020.

Notes for Clergy on the variation to Admission Arrangements for many Church of England Schools and Academies following the closure of church buildings for public worship.

 


Is ministering to the sick and dying permissible within the community?

(Updated: 11 May 2021)

At the present time, ministering to the sick and dying is permitted on the basis that it constitutes work purposes of the provision of voluntary or charitable services.

From 17 May 2021 there will be no restriction, assuming that no more than 6 people gather.

One of the church’s most important areas of ministry is pastoral care. The usual ways of undertaking this have been very significantly affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Whilst innovative ways are being found to keep in touch and offer care, the usual route of face to face visiting has not been possible in most situations. This has been challenging and distressing for very many clergy and lay ministers as well as for those who receive such care.

The Church of England has now produced specific guidance giving Advice on pastoral support in the community, including care homes.

 


Is it permitted to serve refreshments after a service?

New FAQ: 18 May 2021

Serving refreshments after a service or as part of a community activity or event is now permitted.

You can serve food and drink for consumption inside, outside, and for takeaway or delivery.

The Government guidance for restaurants and cafes applies, even if churches are serving refreshments for free, or for a voluntary contribution.

In addition, the limits on gatherings still apply:

• gatherings of up to 30 people are permitted outdoors

• gatherings of up to 6 people or 2 households of any size are permitted indoors

Full advice is available within section 24 of the Church of England document that can be accessed via this link:

COVID 19 advice on conducting public worship v3.3.pdf (churchofengland.org)

 

 


Is it permissible for community activities to take place in church halls?

(Updated: 18 May 2021)

Government guidance, published on 17 May 2021, sets out the basis on which activities can take place in community facilities (e.g. church halls).

COVID-19: Guidance for the safe use of multi-purpose community facilities

It states:

From 17 May, larger gatherings exceeding the social contact limits may take place providing certain conditions are met.

This may enable certain social gatherings such as informal classes, activities, and events (subject to the capacity caps on events) to go ahead.

These gatherings must be organised by a business, charity, public body or similar organisation.

The organiser must take reasonable steps to ensure that those attending do not mix beyond what is permitted – up to 6 people or 2 households indoors and up to 30 people outdoors – (unless another exemption exists, such as for organised sport or exercise, supervised activities for children or a significant life event).

Activities which are exempt from social group limits or which have different group limits include:

  • support groups 
  • childcare provided by a person who is registered under Part 3 of the Childcare Act 2006 or supervised activities for children 
  • education or training 
  • providing essential voluntary services or public support services, including digital access to public services, medical treatment, the provision of food bank or other support for the homeless or vulnerable people, blood donation services or support in an emergency 
  • voting, counting of votes or activities ancillary to voting or the counting of votes in an election or referendum  

See full guidance on what you can and cannot do for a list of activities with legal exemptions from the social contact limits.

The decision as to whether to allow an activity to take place in a church hall rests with the PCC as the premises owner.

On that basis it is advised that when considering a request to use the church hall the organiser of the activity is asked to confirm (in writing):

  1. The activity that they are putting on is allowed
  2. Which guidance they are using - there is specific guidance for specific activities (egg Grassroots sports) that the government have issued and which businesses/organisations will be aware of and must work within
  3. Their risk assessment evidences that they can undertake the activity in a covid-19 secure way (and you should ask for sight of the risk assessment)

The government have strengthened the regulations in respect to Test and Trace in community facilities.  The latest guidance states:

“we are now mandating that these sectors must ask one member of every party who accesses their services to provide their contact details through NHS Test and Trace. You must have a system to ensure that you can collect contact information for your visitors in place.

Any local authority service or community facility that is found not to be compliant with these regulations will be subject to financial penalties. It is vital that you comply with these regulations to help keep people safe, and to stay open.”

 

Is it permissible for community activities to take place in places of worship?

(Updated: 18 May 2021)

The law only permits a limited number of community activities to take place in places of worship (our churches). at the present time.  This is more restrictive than what is permitted within church halls and community centres.

Full details are available in this document:  COVID-19: guidance for the safe use of places of worship and special religious services and gatherings during the pandemic

The permitted activities are as follows:

  • providing essential voluntary services or public support services, including digital access to public services, medical treatment, the provision of food bank or other support for the homeless or vulnerable people, blood donation services or support in an emergency 
  • Support groups that have to be delivered in person with up to 30 participants where formally organised to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support.  

This includes, but is not limited to, support to victims of crime, people in drug and alcohol recovery, new parents and guardians, people caring for those with long-term or terminal illnesses, or who are vulnerable, people facing issues relating to their sexuality or gender, those who have suffered bereavement, and vulnerable young people, including for them to meet youth workers.

All childcare and supervised activities are allowed indoors (as well as outdoors) for all children.

Numbers should be limited to the number of people who can safely socially distance in the venue in line with COVID-19 Secure guidance. See guidance on providers of out-of-school settings.

Parent and child groups can take place indoors (as well as outdoors) for up to 15 people (children under 5 will not be counted in this number)

With this in mind the diocese advises:

  • Individual PCCs must determine if their premises can be used by other user groups, to undertake activities that are permitted by law and are in line with government regulations.   
  • Individual PCCs must ensure that measures are in place in order to comply with the mandatory requirement to have a Test and Trace system in place
  • Individual parishes contact pandemic@manchester.anglican.org to seek clarification and advice if they’re unsure as to whether a specific activity is permitted.

 


What advice is available for undertaking APCMs in 2021?

(Updated: 6 April 2021)

There has been no extension to the deadline of 31 May 2021 for holding the annual meetings this year. Accordingly the annual meeting of parishioners to elect churchwardens for the year 2021-2022 and the APCM to elect PCC members must take place before the end of May.

Given that we will still be subject to restrictions on social contact during the period in which annual meetings are required to take place, these will once again need to be held virtually or at least partly so.

As the Church Representation Rules do not make provision for this and the instrument issued by the Bishop to authorise remote meetings last year was limited solely to the 2020 meetings, the Bishop has signed the attached instrument

This enables the meeting of parishioners and the annual meeting to be held either entirely remotely or as a “hybrid" arrangement, whereby some attendees might be present in person and others via virtual means i.e. by telephone conference, video conference, live webcast and live interactive streaming etc. Whichever arrangement is used, a person is to be regarded as present at the meeting if the person is able to hear and be heard, and where practicable see and be seen, by the other persons present. Any required vote to be taken at the meeting may be by such method as determined by the Chair. Provision is also made to enable any extraordinary or special meeting which may be required to be held before restrictions are fully lifted to likewise be conducted in a remote manner.

Whether meeting virtually or in person, the usual requirements must be completed including:

A. Display of notices

In addition to the required physical display of notices, it is advised that there is additional publication via email, social media or websites.

B. Revision of the electoral roll

When revising the roll, rule 4 (Part 1 of the new Church Representation Rules) stipulates that a person's name must be removed from the roll where he or she has not continued to habitually attend public worship in the parish during any period of six months and has not been prevented from doing so by illness or other sufficient cause.  The pandemic and closure of churches over the course of the last year will generally satisfy the "other sufficient cause" test and therefore names should not be removed without making further enquiries. 

The position regarding eligibility to be added to the electoral roll is far more complicated.  An individual may apply to have his or her name on the roll upon the basis of habitual attendance at public worship during the preceding six months.  Whilst no specific national advice has been issued upon habitual attendance at public worship during the pandemic for the purposes of the electoral roll, habitual attendance has been considered in detail in the context of establishing a qualifying connection for the purpose of marriage.

The Faculty Office has clearly stated throughout the various lockdowns that where couples had already started to attend public worship (i.e. in person) and were only prevented from maintaining that attendance due to suspension of services, provided they resumed attendance as soon as services resumed, the "gap" was still capable of counting towards habitual attendance. However "attendance" at any virtual or live-stream act of worship alone could not be said to be attending public worship and so could not count towards establishing a qualifying connection.

There should be parity between those seeking to establish a qualifying connection for marriage and those who wish to be added to the electoral roll, as this is also a method of establishing a legal right to marry in a particular parish.  Whilst this could disenfranchise some for the APCM in 2021, names can be added to the electoral roll throughout the year and eligibility to stand for election as a PCC member etc. requires the individual to have had his or her name on the electoral roll for at least the preceding six months (rule M8(1)). Thus there should be no issue for eligibility to attend or stand for election at the APCM in 2022.

C.  Nominations for election to the office of churchwarden or PCC member

Ideally nominations should be on one form with 'wet' signatures. However, you may determine that it is preferable to have three separate hard copy forms for each nomination, each signed by the relevant person to avoid encouraging unnecessary physical contact. If you are not currently worshipping in the church building, the PCC will need to determine to whom these forms should be delivered.

Should you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact Donna Myers at the Diocesan Registry (dm@mandioreg.co.uk or 07395 322707).

 


Can parishes hold PCC meetings in person?

(Updated: 18 May 2021 )

There has been no change to the guidance in relation to holding an APCM as we have moved into Step 3.  It is recognised that for many parishes holding an APCM or PCC meeting in person is preferable. However, at this time parishes should hold their APCM and PCC meetings online or by telephone.  

There is only one exception to this.

The exception is where a parish CANNOT hold the APCM or PCC online or by telephone. In this very exceptional situation it is possible to hold the meeting in person (as it would be deemed necessary to provide voluntary or charitable services).

The option to meet in person should only be taken if holding a meeting virtually or via telephone is not feasible at all.

Parochial church councils can, if they wish, meet using virtual means such as Skype or Zoom which enable the members to see and hear each other. (Zoom and other platforms also allow people to participate using a conventional landline or basic mobile phone, using the dial in facility. You don’t have to have a webcam and microphone, nor a smart phone.)

However, care must be taken so that members of a PCC who are unable to participate in a meeting in that way are not excluded from the PCC’s deliberations and decision making. The Chair should take steps to ensure that they are able to participate so far as possible, including where necessary by means of the procedure for conducting business by correspondence set out in rule M29 of the Church Representation Rules.

It is recommended that following a virtual meeting, decisions such as the authorising of expenditure, entering into contracts or those that require a formal resolution of the PCC are put in written form and circulated for formal approval under the correspondence procedure in rule M29, which under Rule 76 can be conducted by email.

 


Can small groups meet, and can talks be given that are not part of public worship?

(Updated: 11 May 2021) 

Yes, but they must be outdoors. Outdoor gatherings (including in private gardens) of up to six people or two households are permitted from 29 March 2021.

From 17 May 2021 the numerical limit for outdoor gatherings increases to 30 people.  No outdoor gatherings of more than 30 people are permitted unless all involved are from the same household or 2 linked households.

From 17 May 2021 Homegroups or other meetings taking place in private homes (including vicarages) are permitted. 

The maximum number legally eligible to meet must not exceed six (unless all involved are from the same household or 2 linked households)

 


Is it possible to undertake construction work at churches?

(Updated 9 December 2020)

Yes. It is possible to carry out construction work. The guidance provided by the  Church of England should be followed:

Guidance for PCCs, incumbents and cathedral Chapters: opening church buildings for works to the building and interior

This guidance document contains a link to an editable version of a template risk assessment for use by parishes when considering access for contractors and construction workers.

 

Has the Faculty Jurisdiction been suspended?

(Updated: 10 November 2020)

No, faculty jurisdiction has not been suspended. If the works concerned require faculty or List B approval, this is still needed and you must not proceed without the necessary approval being in place.

Where a need to undertake urgent repairs arises, please contact your Archdeacon in the first instance. If an interim faculty approval is necessary, the Archdeacon will contact the Registry and permission will be sought from the Chancellor. Please be aware that the Chancellor has already indicated that he will need to be persuaded that an interim faculty is the only option open to the parish concerned.

Specific advice regarding the display of public notices for faculty applications has now been received from the Chancellor – it is available via this link.

 


PASTORAL SUPPORT DURING THE CORONAVIRUS EMERGENCY

A new page offers practical advice and online resources to help you take care of yourself as you care for others during the pandemic

PASTORAL SUPPORT PAGE


GREATER MANCHESTER REMEMBERS

Greater Manchester Remembers is an online space to honour those that have died as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic who have lived in, or have a link to, Greater Manchester.

BOOK OF REMEMBRANCE


PRAYERS

A number of resources are available at www.ChurchofEngland.org/PrayerForTheNation.

A prayer for those who mourn
Gracious God,
as we remember before you the thousands who have died,
surround us and all who mourn with your strong compassion.
Be gentle with us in our grief,
protect us from despair,
and give us grace to persevere
and face the future with hope
in Jesus Christ our risen Lord.
Amen

A prayer from an Assistant Head Teacher in Burnage

Dear Lord, at this time we pray for school leaders that you will give them peace and wisdom to make the right decisions. Help them to manage the demands of the government, with the needs of the children, the needs and wants of parents and the desires of staff. Help all who work in schools to stay safe as they currently care for the children of key workers and vulnerable children and work towards the next steps of reopening. 

We pray for peace for all those anxious about the reopening of schools potentially from 1st June and the risks that carries with it. We pray that the right decisions will be made. We ask for good discussions to take place between the government and the teaching unions and that there will be positive outcomes from these. 

We give thanks that some families have been able to spend quality time together during lockdown. We also pray for those families who have found lockdown challenging; for some because they are struggling to meet the needs of their children; for others who are balancing trying to work from home whilst also home educating their children; while others are facing financially difficulty or suffering from ill health. 

We give thanks for the many different agencies that have supported schools as they continue to meet the wide ranging needs of their communities and we pray that the new partnerships formed will go from strength to strength. 

Overall we pray, Lord, that you will protect the children in our schools and keep them well in body and in mind and we pray that we will overcome this virus so that children can return to school safely. Lord in your mercy; Hear our prayer.


 

A prayer from a school governor

“They just talk and talk”. Lord, this is what teachers have found when children have recently joined the provision for key workers having been at home for weeks. 

Father of us all, our children are suffering. Adults in their homes may be too busy to talk to them. They miss their friends and they miss just talking. They are under-stimulated.

Lord, bring healing to body, mind and soul of our children especially as they start to return to school and give staff great skill in supporting and helping these children as they rediscover relationships outside the home and talk and talk.

In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 


 

A prayer for those working from home

Father of creation, the structure and the shape of our days are so different. 

There are so many distractions at home and there is a huge temptation to spend more time working than we did before lockdown.

Help us to use our time wisely, to invest in the relationships most important to us and to take proper breaks. 

May we rediscover a new shape to our days that is centred and guided by your Spirit.

In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 




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