Coronavirus Info

Thank you for the hope you are bringing in these challenging times!

I encourage you to read through this regularly updated guidance as it arises and together to assess what this will mean in practice for you locally, in your parish, school, chaplaincy or Fresh Expression. I want to reassure you that we do not expect you to do more than you are able to, taking all local and personal factors into account, whilst making the most of the available opportunities to show and to share the love of Christ. If you have any questions, your archdeacon will be glad to give you advice.
Bishop Michael

Regularly updated guidance is available on the national Church of England website here. Please check you have the most up-to-date versions of  guidance, for which a new version may have been published.

Other key guidance includes the Government's guidance for the safe use of places of worship and on the safe use of multi-purpose community facilities.

We are producing regular updates through the Bulletin for clergy and other church leaders, staff and volunteers in Lichfield Diocese. Click here to receive these.

Meanwhile, we have collected here updates and information on many aspects of church life - whether in parish, school, chaplaincy or fresh expressions:

Latest Updates

1 December

New Government places of worship guidance

The Government has published its Places of Worship guidance including rules applicable from tomorrow, 2 December. The national Church of England is reviewing its advice in light of this and will update its website as soon as possible.

30 November

Resumption of public worship

Bishop Michael today wrote to all clergy and lay ministers about the resumption of public worship on Wednesday, 2 December.
 
Churches who wish to apply for dispensations from public worship as outlined in the letter are encouraged to use the suggested template from the Diocesan Registry below. This is not necessary for individual churches who decide not to reopen if others in their benefice (or plurality) are reopening.

Dear Bishop

I am writing to confirm that the Parochial Church Council [s] of the Parish [es] of [xxx] [and xxx] in the Benefice of [xxx] has [have] met [digitally as the case may be] and has [have] passed a resolution reflecting its [their]  discussions and consideration of the current circumstances relating to the Coronavirus issues facing the country at the present time with particular reference to the ministry of the Church of England within the Parish [es] and the Church [es] of [xxx]  [and xxx].

The resolution for each PCC was “to request the Bishop to exercise his/her powers under Canon B14 to dispense with the obligations to say, sing or celebrate services under Canon B11 and B14 within the Church [es] of [xxx] until [date]”. [As minister, I concur with this request]

There is no intention that the Church [es] of [xxx] should cease to be used altogether for public worship and there is a full intention that services should be resumed as soon as is appropriate.

The factors which [I]/[the PCC] took into consideration included the following:

30 November

Carol services and singing guidance

The Government published new guidance on carol singing yesterday which covers singing outdoors and indoors and door-to-door carol singing. New FAQs on this and nativity plays in church are also on the Church of England website along with a statement from the Bishop of London.

26 November

Tiers by area

The Government has published a full list of local restriction tiers by area from 2 December. Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin are in Tier 2 (High Alert), while the Black Country, Birmingham, Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent are in Tier 3 (Very High Alert).
 
General information on each tier is here while the Government's Winter Plan (see 23 November below) outlines what this means for churches. As and when any more detailed guidance is available, we will share it here.
 

23 November

Resumption of public worship set for 2 December

The Government has published its Covid-19 Winter Plan which outlines the resumption of public worship in all three tiers from 2 December. Pages 24-5 of the plan outline what this means for churches in each tier, along with restrictions on weddings and funerals. Which areas are in each tier are expected to be announced this Thursday.
 
The Bishop of London has welcomed the resumption of worship in a statement responding to the plan.
 

6 November

Updated guidance

The Government has updated its guidance for the safe use of places of worship during the current national lockdown period.
 
An updated guidance document for churches is also now available on the national Church of England website is also now available, alongside one on livestreaming worship and updated risk assessment template for churches.
 
Bishop Michael wrote to churches in our diocese on Wednesday, saying hope, and reaching outwards, are more important than ever as we enter a second lockdown. He also asked people to join the national call to prayer during lockdown. Resources and information are available here.

3 November

Remembrance Sunday

The Government has updated its guidance on preparations for Remembrance Sunday. It says: "Local authorities in England and faith leaders can organise outdoor Remembrance Sunday events at a public war memorial or cenotaph, if you complete a COVID-19 risk assessment and take all reasonable measures to limit the risk of transmission of the virus."
 
The guidance included details on who can attend, what the event can involve, communal singing, social distancing and test & trace measures.
 
See also the Q&A ('Can we still hold a Remembrance Sunday Service?') in the Prayer and worship section of the national Church's Coronavirus guidance. This also includes links to Remembrance resources for churches.

2 November

New national lockdown

Following the announcement by the Prime Minister of new restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19, Bishop Michael said:

"While we face major challenges as churches and communities, we have a message of faith, hope and love to share with all. With these new restrictions in place, we need to do all we can to encourage one another, and to pray for each other as we journey through these uncertain times, following Jesus as Lord."

A letter has also been sent from the Archbishops and the Bishop of London to clergy.

The latest guidelines concerning churches are on the Government website.

As more detailed national guidance is available, we will link to it on this page.

20 October

Updated guidance

The national Church of England has published updated advice on it website on ordinations & consecrations, conducting public worship, funerals, confirmations and baptisms.

19 October

Covid-alert posters & Remembrance Sunday

There are two new Government links which may be useful for churches: one for Remembrance Sunday guidance and links to new posters for different tier alert levels.  

16 October

At-a-glance guide

The national Church of England website now includes a helpful at-a-glance guide to restrictions for churches across the three tiers. Places of Worship remain OPEN at every tier, There's also updated advice on conducting weddings.

12 October

Local outbreak advice

There are new FAQs on the national Church of England website about NHS Test & Trace and the first steps to take if there is a local outbreak linked to your church, including a helpful action card to download from Public Health England which outlines key steps for places of worship to help them quickly identify and contain any potential COVID-19 outbreak. The CofE advice strongly recommends the NHS Test & Trace App, and therefore QR code, for church buildings as well as church halls.

If your church houses a cafe, is open to tourists or casual visitors, is open to the public for any purpose not connected to worship, or is running a community centre or hall, you are required by law to display an NHS Test & Trace QR code poster from today. Please read this guidance closely for exemptions and other details.

9 October

Archdeacons' Visitations

From Bishop Michael:

Due to the ongoing restrictions due to COVID-19, I have taken the decision to ‘inhibit’ the Archdeacons Visitations during which newly elected churchwardens are admitted to their office. This is in accordance with the procedure mentioned in Canon C22(5) and following Canon E1.2(a).

Those who have been elected as churchwarden should present themselves for admission to their incumbent or priest-in-charge; or, where these are not available, to their Rural Dean or Assistant Rural Dean, showing them a valid DBS certificate. This can take place before 31st October 2020 if an annual meeting of parishioners has already taken place, and no later than 31st January 2021.

I ask therefore that churchwardens be admitted locally, after those newly elected have confirmed that they have a valid DBS certificate. If needed churchwardens can be admitted to their role online.

The relevant documents are available on the Archdeacons' Visitations page.

2 October

Latest guidance updates

There are new guidance documents on the Church of England website on outoor worship & churchyards, mission & ministry with children & young people and church heating. There is also guidance for Fresh Expressions and updated parish continuity plan guidelines.

Please get in touch with diocesan Parish Evangelism Enabler (0-12s) Laura Edwards if you need any support or advice about youth or children's work.

3 September

Banners and posters

Posters and signs to put up around church buildings regarding physical distancing, face masks, giving online and other matters are now available to download free of charge on the Church of England website.

26 August

Guidance on meetings of parishioners to choose churchwardens and APCMs, including options for mixed physical/virtual or fully virtual meetings

If you are unable to hold wholly physical annual church meetings this year, please find

This follows the instrument signed in March to enable Annual Church Meetings to take place up to and including 31 October, due to COVID-19. Please contact your archdeacon if you have an questions.

 

Other guidance and resources

 

Church Buildings during Covid-19

Occasional Offices

The latest legal advice on a range of matters during the pandemic.

 

The Ministry Shift

A 15-minute live video resource for the support of ordained and lay ministers

 

 

Virtual worship and resources

A selection of national and local broadcasts and streams of services, studies and meditation. Also:

Safeguarding during the covid-19 lockdown

Congregations continue to serve their communities and each other - but we must still have due regard for safeguarding our children and vulnerable adults

Finance and Covid-19

Advice and details for parishes including:

Pastoral Care and support

Our Wellbeing support for clergy, diocesan staff and their families continues to work - see here for details including specific advice on wellbeing through lockdown.

And out Education team put together a support page around ‘Loss and Change’ and Covid19, drawing together recommended resources that are particular focused on schools but could be used by churches too. You can find them on the website here.

Schools

Our colleagues who serve the 108 CofE schools in the diocese have lots of information and resources here.

Space for Learning

Hundreds of people have visited our Space For Learning page where Bishop Michael invited all ministers, clergy and lay people to engage between 1 and 12 June.

Each week day during that time, there was an opportunity to take part in different ways of learning with the theme of Being in Community. Through talks, films, art, poetry, reading and discussion we are engaging with some of the key questions of what it means for Christians to be in community, how we can build communities and what community means at a time of social distancing.


Page last updated: 1st December 2020 2:28 PM