Coronavirus Info

"Thank you for the hope you are bringing in these challenging times. Please do read through the most recent guidance. We are in a rapidly changing situation and it is particularly important that we are ready to respond to new situations as they arise. As we explain below, I and my fellow bishops recognise that clergy and lay leaders will be those best placed to assess the local situation and to make informed decisions accordingly which prioritise safety while sustaining the life of the church. If you have any questions, please contact your archdeacon
Bishop Michael

Regularly updated guidance will be on the national Church of England website as soon as it is available. Please check back regularly for the most up-to-date versions of guidance - which can change rapidly.

Other key guidance includes the Government's guidance for the safe use of places of worship and on the safe use of multi-purpose community facilities.

We are producing regular updates through the Bulletin for clergy and other church leaders, staff and volunteers in Lichfield Diocese. Click here to receive these.

Meanwhile, we have collected here updates and information on many aspects of church life - whether in parish, school, chaplaincy or fresh expressions:

Latest Updates

16 April

APCMs

The Church of England has posted the following response to the question 'Is There Any Guidance Concerning Our APCM Meeting?' on its website:

See also the APCM page on our website

There are also updated guidance documents on the Church of England website on conducting public worship and funerals.

15 April

Public Services following the death of HRH Prince Philip

The limits for normal life events like individual memorial services is currently 15. However, the Church of England is treating worship services which include giving thanks for, or saying prayers for, Prince Philip, as public worship and therefore with the limit set at the safe capacity of the building. This is because Prince Philip was a public figure and it is a public service of worship, not an individual memorial service. However, it is acknowledged that the boundaries between individual and public worship are not always clear, and it is ultimately the responsibility of the “venue manager” (usually the incumbent) to decide which rules apply.

The Church of England website also now includes the current Government guidance on condolence books, which should remain online only. It also has updated FAQs on Is Singing Permitted? and How Can I Get A Lateral Flow Test?

9 April

Death of HRH Prince Philip

The Church of England website has an online condolence book plus worship, liturgical resources and guidance for churches to use. A news story, featuring tributes from Bishop Michael, Bishop Clive, is on our website.

1 April

Updated CofE guidance docs & APCMs

The Church of England website has updated its guidance on conducting public worship, weddings, outdoor worship & churchyards and test & trace.

Details for holding annual church meetings by 31 May 2021, to elect churchwardens and APCMs, are here. Information about this year's Archdeacon Visitations' will be circulated in due course - see latest info here.

26 March

Updated Government guidance - including singing

The Government has published updated guidance on the safe use of places of worship. It includes these paragraphs on singing:

From 28 March

  • Indoors: - small groups 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, with social distancing being maintained at all times. Communal singing should not take place.
  • Outdoors, in the grounds or the outside space of a place of worship: When communal worship takes place outdoors, 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 social 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 29 March

  • indoors: guidance and rules remain the same as from 28 March
  • outdoors, in the grounds or the outside space of a place of worship: when communal worship takes place outdoors, the congregation may join in and should follow the principles set out in the performing arts guidance. New social contact limits apply.

25 March

Updated CofE guidance & Bishop Michael letter

The national Church of England website has the following updated documents:

For further information, including guidance on singing in other settings or outside of communal worship, please refer to the performing arts guidance.

17 March

Risk assessments for worship

It is required that risk assessments are completed and updated for all churches for worship both inside and outside. If you are gathering for worship for the first time between now and Easter please send a copy to your rural dean.

Having done so, or if you are already worshipping in person, there is no longer the need to send a weekly update but ensure the risk assessment is regularly updated as guidance changes, regarding what activities are permitted and numbers allowed to attend occasional offices, over the coming weeks.

If you are unable or ready to open safely and would like to request dispensation to remain closed please send a copy to your rural dean and archdeacon (as outlined below, 10 March).

10 March

Easter preparations & dispensations

Bishop Michael has written to all clergy, licensed lay ministers and churchwardens this morning about preparations for Easter, including the Chrism Service, Holy Week and Easter morning. He has explained that the general dispensation from the canonical requirements for worship will be extended until Good Friday (2 April). After that, a dispensation should be sought where a benefice does not feel able or ready safely to offer in-person worship on Sundays.

Details about the dispensation process - including the suggested template to use - are here.

Meanwhile, the Church of England website now has a helpful Four Step Plan graphic which summarises current national guidance.

8 January

Churches as vaccination centres

The Chancellor of the Diocese of Lichfield has granted an Additional Matters Order that allows churches and their halls to be used for vaccinations without the need for a faculty application providing the conditions in the order are met. See also the national Church of England guidance on Churches As Vaccination Centres.

7 January

Personal risk - and streaming

Clergy, lay ministers and other church workers and volunteers are reminded to familiarise themselves with this personal risk factors document from the Church of England when considering whether or not they should carry out their normal roles at this time of heightened risk

Following a couple of local enquiries, the national Church has also confirmed that people can still enter church buildings to stream or record services if they wish even though this wasn't specifically mentioned in the Government guidance. Resources to help churches go online are available on our website and from the national Church.

Other documents:

Other guidance and resources

Church Buildings during Covid-19

Occasional Offices

The latest legal advice on a range of matters during the pandemic.

The Ministry Shift

A 15-minute live video resource for the support of ordained and lay ministers

Virtual worship and resources

A selection of national and local broadcasts and streams of services, studies and meditation. Also:

Safeguarding during the covid-19 lockdown

Congregations continue to serve their communities and each other - but we must still have due regard for safeguarding our children and vulnerable adults

Finance and Covid-19

Advice and details for parishes including:

Pastoral Care and support

Our Wellbeing support for clergy, diocesan staff and their families continues to work - see here for details including specific advice on wellbeing through lockdown.

And our Education team put together a support page around ‘Loss and Change’ and Covid19, drawing together recommended resources that are particular focused on schools but could be used by churches too. You can find them on the website here.

Schools

Our colleagues who serve the 108 CofE schools in the diocese have lots of information and resources here.

Space for Learning

Hundreds of people have visited our Space For Learning page where Bishop Michael invited all ministers, clergy and lay people to engage between 1 and 12 June 2020.

Each week day during that time, there was an opportunity to take part in different ways of learning with the theme of Being in Community. Through talks, films, art, poetry, reading and discussion we are engaging with some of the key questions of what it means for Christians to be in community, how we can build communities and what community means at a time of social distancing.


Page last updated: 21st April 2021 10:12 AM