The government has advised that our church buildings can be opened for public worship from 4 July as long as this can be done safely.
On 30 June 2020 The Church of England published very detailed information and advice to support parishes as public worship recommences.
The key points are:
- An advisory cap of 30 has been set for weddings and other stand-alone services such as baptism and confirmation if not conducted during routine communal worship.
- There is no numerical cap on other services, but social distancing and Public Health requirements must be met.
- The two-metre rule applies for public worship except in situations where closer contact cannot be avoided; extra Public Health precautions must then be taken.
- Consideration should be given to keeping numbers below the maximum possible to further minimise risk.
- Wearing of face-coverings is voluntary.
- While those at extra risk and the clinically extremely vulnerable should be advised of the risks of attending public worship, a decision to do so is theirs alone.
- Government guidance includes a request for names of attendees to be recorded and kept for 21 days to assist track and trace if required (further details from the government are expected to help).
- Singing, chanting and playing of brass or woodwind instruments are not recommended, but a further update will follow soon.
- Detailed instructions on consumables suggest that services of Holy Communion can be held if specific guidance is followed, including the continued suspension of the Common Cup (see the guidance document on Holy Communion).
Public worship guidance includes surrounding grounds (including churchyards, car parks and courtyards); meetings in other places should follow other guidance for people meeting in public spaces.
Bishops Leadership Team wish emphasise the following:
- initially we only need to open one church building for public worship in each benefice.
- worship will look, sound and feel different.
- the requirements for Holy Communion are quite detailed and it may be that not every service will be Eucharistic
- it is important to plan well, start small and build up to a place where everyone feels confident that we can worship together safely.
All information and advice contained on the diocesan coronavirus webpages has been reviewed and updated in order that parishes and clergy have the most current information and guidance available.
The most current and detailed information is on the website. /coronavirus/