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Coronavirus - District response
I last wrote to you at the beginning of January when we had just gone into the third national lockdown and when, on the basis of the evidence and statistics, I discouraged public worship for the time being.
As we move through the steps away from lockdown and the vaccination programme continues apace, I know that some churches will be considering re-opening.
As I previously wrote, the decision is within the gift of managing trustees; if a risk assessment has been done, and if people adhere to protocols around distancing, wearing masks, handwashing and cleaning, then public worship could resume.
If you decide to proceed with reopening, please consult with your Superintendent minister. There is also the support of the District team and useful information on the Methodist Church in Britain website.
We pray for God’s continued wisdom and guidance at this challenging time.
Official Guidance from Connexional Property Team
The website has been updated to reflect the new guidance for Step 2 of the roadmap. The link is Coronavirus Guidance for Property (methodist.org.uk).
Update 19 April 2021
The government has updated the Safe Use of Places of Worship to include details of how restrictions will be lifted for churches in England. As more information is released, we will update the information below. The key changes involved in each of the remaining Steps include:
- Funerals remain limited to 30 people
- Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies, wakes and wedding receptions are limited to 15 people
- Children and youth activities are allowed
- Singing Indoors: - a single small group of singers will be allowed to perform, or rehearse for performance, only where essential to an act of communal worship. This should be limited to as few singers as possible, with social distancing being maintained at all times. Communal singing should not take place.
- Singing Outdoors, in the grounds or the outside space of a place of worship: When communal worship takes place outdoors, the congregation may join in with singing, and should follow the principles set out in the performing arts guidance. People can gather in groups of up to six or two households. A ‘household’ can include a linked support bubble.
- Up to 6 people, or two households, can gather outdoors including in private gardens
From Step 3 - no earlier than 17 May
- Up to 6 people, or two households, can gather indoors
- Most significant life cycle events can resume, limited to no more than 30 people. This will include events such as weddings, wakes, private baptisms, naming ceremonies and stone setting ceremonies
- Wedding receptions can also proceed with up to 30 people
Step 4 - no earlier than 21 June
At Step 4, the government aims to remove all limits on life cycle events and other gatherings. This will be subject to the outcome of the scientific Events Research Programme, which will include a series of pilots using enhanced testing approaches and other measures to run events of larger sizes.
Coronavirus/ COVID 19
Government advice can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing
Advice from Connexion (Methodist Church House is closed), being updated regularly online at: https://www.methodist.org.uk/about-us/coronavirus/official-guidance/
Frequently Asked Questions: https://www.methodist.org.uk/about-us/coronavirus/official-guidance/#faqs