Previous guidance

The Church of England has just released some updated guidance for churches relating to easing Covid-19 restrictions and opening and managing church buildings in step 4 of the Roadmap out of Lockdown.

The National Youth Agency (NYA) have also updated their advice and their readiness level is now green. Click here to read more.

Click here to see the latest information and guidance from the national Church of England in Stage 4.

Click here to download the latest document from the national guidance regarding opening and managing church buildings in step 4 of the Roadmap out of Lockdown.

Click here for the latest advice from the National Youth Agency (NYA) in regards to Managing youth sector activities and spaces.

Opening for services

- Public Worship - click here for the Church of England’s advice on the Conduct of Public Worship

- Please see details regarding Holy Communion, specific seasonal services and Occasional offices in the ‘Services’ section below.

- Click here for guidance on keeping church buildings clean

Opening for Individual Private Prayer

Click here for guidance

Test and Trace

This guidance was issued by the Church of England on 23 September. The main elements:

- Track and Trace in the paper based form as per previous Church of England Guidance is what should be in place as part of your ‘covid-safe’ processes. The placing of the QR codes on church buildings is part of the mobile app provision that the Government is pursuing as part of the longer term aim, and is strongly recommended (except for church halls where it is mandatory).

- Places of worship are not covered in legislation requiring use of the NHS Test & Trace service (except where they offer certain facilities such as a café, or are open as a tourist destination in which it is mandatory). However, along with other venues where people spend time, churches are strongly encouraged to keep a record of those who have attended to facilitate NHS Test and Trace in the event of an outbreak of coronavirus. Participating in Test & Trace will help to slow the spread of Covid-19. We encourage you to read the CofE guidance notes, as they also provide guidance on the variations such as ‘hospitality coffee shops’ and also data privacy notices.

- Parish buying are offering to supply a service for the QR for those churches who wish to or must use it (eg where they offer certain facilities such as a café, or are open as a tourist destination).

Guidance on wearing face masks

Click here for the latest guidance

Risk Assessments
Before opening your church building you must complete a risk assessment. Find guidance and a template for your risk assessment below:

Risk assessment guidance

Risk assessment template for opening church buildings

Volunteer safer recruitment

Risk assessment Template for Outdoor Worship

Guidance regarding the Rule of Six
The Government announced regulations relating to the ‘Rule of Six’ which came into effect on Monday 14 September 2020. On 17 September 2020 the Church of England issued new guidance relating to those regulations for churches. Click here to download the new guidance and some additional updates as of Friday evening 18 September here.

- The Government document regarding the mandatory Rule of Six is helpful in ensuring that socialising whilst distancing is followed. Area Deans have been emailed a supplementary document (sent 23 September) which can be displayed or referred to as part of each member’s continuing care for one another as we seek to meet with others safely. There are some helpful elements about meeting others safely in this document.

These FAQs from the Minister of Faiths, Community and Local Government on 18 September.

- There is also some guidance for youth groups here.

Permitted Activities under national 'step' regulations

- Guidance and permitted activities under these rules can be found here.

Outdoor Worship and Churchyards

- For guidance click here

Singing in church

- From the 28th March 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. Communal singing should not take place and strict physical distancing should be observed.

- From the 28th March outdoors: when communal worship takes place in the grounds or the outside space of a place of worship, the congregation may join in with singing, and should follow the principles set out in the Performing Arts guidance. This includes ensuring that congregation members follow physical distancing rules. Social contact limits apply, meaning that households, support bubbles or groups of 2 must not mingle. Communal singing in other public open spaces should not take place. From the 29th March the new social contact limits apply, meaning the Rule of 6 applies unless all involved are from the same household or 2 linked households.

PCC meetings, APCMs and Deanery Synods

Latest Guidance
An Instrument has been issued by the Bishop of Leicester which provides for APCMs to be held this year either exclusively by electronic means or to enable virtual attendance at an APCM held as an in-person meeting.
- There is also a Guidance Note, provided by the Diocesan Registrar, which sets the context for this permission, and gives particular guidance on how to deal with voting. The date by which APCMs have to take place remains 31st October 2020. If, having read the attached information, you have particular questions or concerns, please do direct them as usual to Andy Brockbank (note new email address, the Archdeacons Office or the Diocesan Registrar’s Office as appropriate.
- An Instrument has been issued by the Bishop of Leicester which allows for Deanery Synod meetings to be held exclusively by electronic means. It also provides an alternative of virtual attendance at a Deanery Synod meeting that is held as an in-person meeting (when eventually after the current lockdown in-person meetings are once again permitted). Under this Instrument voting at such Deanery Synod meetings may also be undertaken by electronic means as determined by the Deanery Standing Committee.

Opening for Services, Seasonal Services and Occasional Offices

Lent, Holy Week and Easter
- Baptisms are possible providing appropriate steps are taken to minimise risk. If the baptism is taking place as part of a regular act of worship the usual requirements for public worship apply (see 'The Rule of six' FAQ section in CofE guidance). From 28 September, standalone life events will be subject to the ‘rule of six’ limits. The Church of England is seeking Government clarification on this and will update their guidance once detailed documentation is published.
Holy Communion
- Advice on Receiving Holy Communion in both kinds by simultaneous administration can be found here
Ordinations and Consecrations

Pastoral Support

Offering Pastoral Support
- Click here for the latest guidance from the Church of England in pastoral support in the community, including care homes.


Talking to a child worried about coronavirus
The NSPCC has created a new webpage with information and advice for parents or carers who are worried a child or young person may be struggling with their mental health or has anxiety about coronavirus. The webpage includes information on: talking about feelings and worries; keeping in touch and balancing screen time; ways to create structure and routine; and helping to give children a sense of control. Read the information and advice: Talking to a child worried about coronavirus (COVID-19).
Domestic Abuse
We know that for those experiencing domestic abuse, self isolating at home presents additional dangers. Women’s Aid have provided some specific safety advice.

Online and Digital Church

Running virtual services and online worship
- Legal regulations around streaming services: Here's the guidance (see Livestreaming topics in the FAQ's 'Prayer and Worship' section) given by the Church of England's national Digital Team.
Everybody Welcome Online
Here’s some really useful analysis and reflection on how churches have been using streaming, social media and other new technologies over the last few weeks. While we’re aware that not all churches have the resources (or broadband coverage!) to do “virtual” church, these are some detailed early observations which many will find useful, and includes suggestions on how to make online church as welcoming and visitor-friendly as possible. A further two documents have now been released, one update building on the original, and one looking to the future.
If your church uses Zoom, please see these updated guidelines and accompanying consent form which include information on obtaining permissions and safeguarding implications (with some particular reference to those under the age of 16) for Zoom meetings and gatherings:
- Download this document with hints and tips for Zoom good practice for your wellbeing.

Wellbeing and Mental Health

Wellbeing of clergy and other church leaders/employees
We give thanks for all the pastoral care and support being offered in parishes throughout the diocese to those particularly affected by the pandemic. We also recognise that clergy and church leaders/employees are themselves affected in different ways, so here is a link to some wellbeing resources and materials specifically for clergy and church leaders/employees
The national church have published guidance regarding the personal risk factors to clergy, church workers and volunteers.
Mental Health Support
Please visit our Wellbeing page that gives details of support available through the diocese.
Should I work if I’m clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV)?
The Government has advised: ‘You are strongly advised to work from home because the risk of exposure to the virus in your area may currently be higher. If you cannot work from home, then you should not attend work. This includes all clergy and lay volunteers and workers with churches.’ For more information please see:

Everyday Faith at Home

Everyday Faith at Home
Since the start of lockdown we have had to find new ways to live out our Everyday Faith at Home. We've now created a new webpage on which we have gathered some resources and tools you might want to access to aid in your personal discipleship from home. Click here to visit our 'Everyday Faith at Home' page.

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