ADVICE FOR CHURCHES FROM THE CIRCUIT pdf to download
Updated 24 March 10:00
Updated guidance on use of church buildings, baptisms, weddings and funerals. See FAQs
The Methodist Church has announced the closure of all its church buildings for the foreseeable future. The only exception will be for churches that are offering essential social outreach such as foodbanks, soup kitchens and night shelters, but these must be carried out closely within Government guidelines. The Methodist Church suspended worship services last week with some churches still opening for quiet prayer and reflection. This must now also be suspended. We would encourage people to use our online resources at home which include downloadable services and links to online worship services.
The Revd Dr Jonathan Hustler, Secretary of the Conference said: “We are asking people to change their way of ‘going to church’ to help to protect themselves and others. We have put in place measures that will enable Methodists still to be part of the worshipping community, whilst for everyone’s sake staying away from church buildings. There is a range of resources available for people to use at home which we hope will help them to continue their cycle of prayer and worship. The Methodist Church is more than its buildings and if in these unprecedented times we can continue our life as Methodists without using our buildings we will help to reduce the chances of transmission of the virus.”
In terms of Church business, we recommend that all meetings including church councils and circuit meetings should be cancelled. Districts chairs will be in touch about Synods. The next meeting of the Methodist Council has been suspended and we will advise on how essential business will be carried out. We will be issuing further advice on this.
Other community activities
The Trussel Trust has also issued guidance on how churches can support volunteer supported charities.
The Joint Public Issues Team (JPIT) have produced a simple guide on how you can support foodbanks during the coronavirus pandemic.
Other community events like lunch clubs, after school clubs, playgroups and fellowship groups should be suspended.
Churches must only consider carrying out pastoral ‘visits’ by phone. You should refer to the Government guidelines on visiting vulnerable people if you are considering doing this. Remember that many people are anxious and a reassuring phone call and an offer to pray might be very much appreciated.
If you’re a minister, consider what your plan might be if someone in your congregation is diagnosed with the virus.