As the full extent of the Coronavirus situation has been unfolding it’s clear that many things we’ve taken for granted are now radically changed.
This has presented problems for everyone in our communities and it seems our call to love and serve one another is yet again to be shown to be the key quality of the Church. We’ve been blown away by the stories of love, community spirit and generosity we’ve heard right across the country. Keep doing what you’re doing.
In this article we wanted to share what each of our Partner denominations are advising so that everyone is clear and happy on how to move forward for the next few months.
As of 23rd March at 8.30pm the only reasons we should be outside are:
- Essential food shopping (which should be minimal)
- Medical supplies or providing care for a vulnerable person
- Exercise once a day
- Travel to and from work where this is absolutely necessary
Churches had already stopped services but now Churches are closed and all gatherings like Baptisms and Weddings are not to be held. There is an allowance for funerals but with small attendance. (See your Church directions for this.)
Gatherings at all times should be limited to 2 people except where that is your family.
Lastly and vitally, when you’re outside people must stay more than 2m (6.5ft) apart from others. This is in addition to the self-isolation processes already outlined by the Government.
In terms of each of our Partners we looked round each of their websites to make sure you were aware of what was being said by your particular denomination.
The Church of England
The Anglican Church’s website has clear Coronavirus Guidance – https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-churches
After last night’s statement, Archbishops and Bishops shared a statement saying “In the light of the Government’s measures, announced by the Prime Minister this evening, we urge everyone to follow the instructions given. We will give a fuller statement of advice as soon as possible. Let us continue to pray, to love, to care for the vulnerable, and build our communities, even while separated.”
The Methodist Church
Again the Methodist Church has offered clear guidance for churches and congregations – https://www.methodist.org.uk/about-us/coronavirus-guidance/
We also found their section “Mission during Coronavirus” really helpful and something that might of use to all Fresh Expressions of Church. This section focuses on how to pray, talking to young people, serving neighbours
and on Safeguarding considerations.
The URC ‘s website has clear guidance for Churches – https://urc.org.uk/latest-news/3365-urc-issues-coronavirus-advice-to-its-churches
The website also has a Call to Prayer which seems vital at this time and has been modelled by many churches.
Church of Scotland
You can find the Church of Scotland’s guidelines here – https://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/resources/advice-for-churches-covid-19-coronavirus
Like many Churches they’ve seen the potential challenges to Safeguarding advice an have created a specific page which that in mind to support people in the Church. –
The Salvation Army website gives clear guidance and also seeks to mobilise support for Communities. It’s Ready to help is really helpful. the site declares “the Salvation Army works with some of the most vulnerable people in society and as we face the worst public health crisis in our life time, people on the margins of society need us now more than ever.”
Guidance for Salvation Army Churches can be found here – https://www.salvationarmy.org.uk/salvation-army-corona-virus-response
As with other denominations, the Baptist Church has created some clear guidelines for Churches – https://www.baptist.org.uk/Group/Group.aspx?ID=338267
They are also creating regular Prayer Broadcasts as a way to respond during this time – https://www.baptist.org.uk/Group/Group.aspx?ID=338268