ADVICE FOR CHURCHES FROM THE CIRCUIT pdf to download
Update 23 June
The Government has today announced that places of worship may re-open from July 4 2020 for services. Our Property Team is working on what Managing Trustees will need to consider in order to re-open buildings and we will update our website as soon as is practicably possible.
We will also be releasing a special service to celebrate a return to public worship.
In the meantime you can see the updates on what steps Managing Trustees will need to take when considering whether to open church buildings here
Property guidance relating to Covid-19 including a Re-Opening a Building Checklist and a Covid-19 Risk Assessment. Both of these can be started now and will need to be followed in the event of any changes.
Safeguarding considerations during the pandemic can be viewed here
We are conscious that those churches in jurisdictions outside England have to abide by different regulations.
Update 12 June
The Government has now published its guidance for the re-opening of places of worship for private prayer. You can read the guidance here. See update from 11 June for details of guidance we have published for Methodist church buildings.
Read a blog by Jude Levermore, Head of Mission here.
Update 11 June
The Government has changed its advice to allow churches and other religious buildings to open for individual prayer from Saturday June 13.
The Methodist Church’s advice remains that churches stay closed, but we recognise that different parts of the British Isles might be at different stages and we appreciate that there may be those who feel their mission depends on their church being open for individual prayer. If Managing Trustees feel they are at a point where they want to open their buildings for individual prayer, this guidance must be followed.
When the Government announced its intention to change the advice it stated that: ‘Places of worship still have discretion over when they consider it safe to open and may decide to remain closed or reopen at a slower pace if they wish’ and we would like to stress that no-one should feel under any pressure to open buildings for individual prayer.
We understand the vital need for prayer at this time and have found that our people have been praying no less because they have not had buildings in which to pray. We know that mission, ministry and church has been happening in new and exciting ways in these times.
We are conscious that those churches in jurisdictions outside England may have different needs and mission opportunities, and have to abide by different regulations from English churches.
Above all, we want people to pray and worship safely and as we have already stated, we are committed to doing a full review of our guidance after the Conference.
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. We would encourage people to use our online resources at home which include downloadable services and links to online worship services.
In terms of Church business, 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 work is in hand to make sure that essential business is 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. 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.