Diocese of Manchester

Coronavirus support

Updated 10:00 on 31 March 2020

This page has the latest information and guidance for churches concerning the Coronavirus. 

The Diocesan Coronavirus Response Group is responsible for responding to the evolving situation, getting information out to our parishes and keeping this page updated. 

Latest guidance - letters from Archbishops and Bishops 27 March 2020

Funeral advice - updated 31 March 2020

Frequently asked questions

Latest documents

Diocesan prayer in time of crisis

Latest guidance

Updated (10:00 on 31 March 2020)

In light of the Government guidance around non-essential contact, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have issued advice that all churches are to close with immediate effect to help halt the spread of Coronavirus. 

Download letter from Archbishops and Bishops to clergy issued on 27 March 2020. This letter is strongly supported by the Bishops of Manchester, Bolton and Middleton. See their letter of 27 March 2020.

The Archbishops and Bishops of the Church of England have urged everyone to follow the instructions given by the Prime Minister to stay in their homes in a national effort to limit the transmission of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). But they called on the Church to “continue to pray, to love, to care for the vulnerable”.

It follows the announcement by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson of sweeping restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the virus.

The latest national guidance, supported by Bishop David, is that

  • All Church of England churches will close with immediate effect both for public worship and for private prayer 
  • There will also be no weddings or baptisms
  • Funerals may now only happen at the Crematorium or at the graveside and only immediate family members may attend (see below for more details)
  • notice explaining that the church is closed should be displayed on the church door (personalise with your church details)
  • Livestreaming is permissibly from homes and is to be encouraged. 

The Bishop of Manchester, David Walker, said “In the light of the Government’s measures, announced by the Prime Minister, we urge everyone to follow the instructions given. Let us continue to pray, to love, to care for the vulnerable, and build our communities, even while separated.”

Please check the above website every day to ensure that your church is following the most up-to-date guidance.

Read the full guidance currently issued by the Church of England

The Church of England has new resources on funerals and bereavement (issued 27 March 2020)

New Mental Health reflections for coping with anxiety and loneliness (26 March 2020)

Coronavirus liturgy and prayer resources

Frequently Asked Questions

The national church has a comprehensive list of FAQs which is constantly being updated. We are following national guidance and recommend that you check the Church of England FAQ section daily. New FAQs provide advice on
  • Weddings
  • Baptisms
  • Funerals
  • Live Streaming, digital and broadcast resources
  • Church halls
  • Closure of Churches 

Funeral Advice (updated 31 March 2020)

Sadly, funerals may now only happen at the Crematorium or at the graveside. Only immediate family members can attend (if the crematorium allows) – that is, spouse or partner, parents and children, keeping their distance in the prescribed way (this is true also for burial of ashes). No wake or gathering should be held following the funeral, and this should be scheduled for a later date.

We recognise how difficult this will be for many and add to the pain of a loss, and encourage you to discuss with your vicar or minister the possibility of a memorial service at a date in the future where more people can be present.

The Church of England has new resources on funerals and bereavement (issued 27 March 2020)

Has the faculty jurisdiction been suspended during the Coronavirus outbreak

No, faculty jurisdiction has not been temporarily suspended.

If the works concerned required faculty or List B approval at the beginning of this month, this is still needed and 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.

Any questions or queries can be submitted to DAC@manchester.anglican.org

What do we do about church security?

Subject to observing the current advice regarding social distancing and vulnerable groups, it is acceptable for someone (a clergy person or a churchwarden) to check the building is secure.This should be considered as part of the parish coronavirus continuity plan. Advice is also available from the Church of England.

Is post (including cheques and invoices) being dealt with while Church House is closed?

Yes. Arrangements are in place to receive and deal with incoming post. If you would like to take this opportunity to explore paperless methods of dealing with your parish finances, please email  finance@manchester.anglican.org

What should we do about our APCM?

Parishes which have NOT yet held their APCM

  • For those parishes which have not yet held their meeting of parishioners to elect churchwardens and APCMs to elect PCC members and deanery synod reps the deadline has been extended from 31 May 2020 to 31 October 2020
  • The term of office for churchwardens who were chosen in 2019 will be extended until 31st January 2021
  • The term of office of serving lay members of deanery synods is extended until 30thNovember

Parishes which HAVE held their APCM

  • If parishes have already held their meeting of parishioners and APCMs the churchwardens chosen in 2019 i.e. last year will remain in office until the new wardens are admitted to office which could be as late as January 2021
  • Similarly, deanery synod reps elected in 2017 (the beginning of their 3-year term of office) will continue in office until 30th November 2020 and newly elected members will take up their office on 1st December 2020.
  • Newly elected members of the PCC will have already have taken up their office at the conclusion of the 2020 APCM

A direct mailing has been issued (on 20 March 2020) to Area Deans, Lay Chairs, Deanery Synod Secretaries, Incumbents, Churchwardens and PCC Secretaries. Any queries should be directed to governance@manchester.anglican.org

Is there any safeguarding advice for virtual groups that churches are operating during the pandemic?

The current Pandemic is also affecting our children and young people and it is important to try and find ways of enabling their social interaction in a safe way that does not place themselves and others at risk. Social media will be a vital method of communication between children and a way of being able to meet virtually as part of our groups and activities.

Specific information is available on our  Safeguarding page. Please consider this carefully when undertaking any remote activities with children and young people. Guidance provided by 31:8 (previously CCPAS) and Youthscape in relation to youth work is also linked.

We are constantly updating our Frequently Asked Questions on this page and signposting to advice from the national Church. If you have a question not answered in either of these places, you can contact the Diocesan Coronavirus Response Group at pandemic@manchester.anglican.org

Loving our Neighbour - Ideas and resources

Many of our churches, clergy and lay people are finding wonderful ways to serve their communities during this time. Here are some ideas and resources that are being shared online.

For support with your questions surrounding being a church in the digital world, join our Facebook group: Diocesan Digital Support Group. In here we share our digital questions, good ideas, latest news and help each other by sharing digital resources and advice.

A digital 'wall of kindness' to remember a much-loved congregant on Facebook

Share a prayer

Share prayers for your parish, community and the wider diocese on your social media. Tag your prayers with #PrayforManchester so that more people can see them and join you in prayer.

As ever we continue to hold in prayer our churches, the communities we serve, remembering especially the most vulnerable members of our society and those who are anxious and afraid at this time, giving thanks for our health service and all medical staff and support services.

Listen or read to the  Church of England's Prayer for the Day

Food Banks

Foodbanks should continue where possible under strict guidelines and may have to move to be delivery points, not places where people gather. If you can do consider making a financial contribution to your nearest foodbank.

Latest documents

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The Church of England Diocese of Manchester,
Church House,
90 Deansgate,
Manchester M3 2GH

Manchester DBF Company number 149999, Charity number 249424
Telephone: 0161 828 1400