As a district, we would encourage you to be aware of and follow the advice which is on the Methodist website and to check for any updates and changes on a daily basis.
See below for the latest guidance from the Connexion
Update 4 March 2021
Although the announcement was made for the roadmap out of lockdown in England, the guidance for churches has not changed because churches have been allowed to remain open during this latest lockdown. Thus, the guidance listed below is current until the government makes changes to guidance for the Safe Use of Places of Worship or the Safe Use of Multi-Purpose Facilities.
However, the guidance for Out of School Settings has been updated, which may impact some churches. From 8 March 2021, providers should only offer indoor and outdoor face-to-face provision for:
- Vulnerable children and young people
- Reasonably necessary to enable their parents and carers to work, search for work, undertake education or training, or attend a medical appointment or address a medical need, or attend a support group
- Being used by electively home educating parents as part of their existing arrangements for their child to receive a suitable full-time education
- Being used as part of their efforts to obtain a regulated qualification, meet the entry requirements for an education institution, or to undertake exams and assessments
Update 5 January 2021
Following the Prime Minister’s statement on 4 January 2021, a new National Lockdown has been announced in England. This now supercedes all other previous government guidance, including the Tier system. This came into effect from midnight on 4 January 2021.
A number of the restrictions outlined in the new government guidance affect Methodist Church property. Unlike previous lockdown decisions, the government has decided that churches can remain open, along with community buildings for certain activities. Click here to read more.
Despite this government decision, it should be borne in mind that the opening of our church buildings is not mandatory, and it remains the responsibility of each Church Council to make this significant decision – which should not be taken lightly. It should be based upon thorough risk assessments and planning to ensure that it is safe to do so. Every venue should fully meet the health and safety requirements for a COVID-19 secure environment in opening and operation, including the impact on those opening a building and those attending if they fall into a vulnerable group.
The Connexional team have provided a variety of information on alternative ways to worship, fellowship and explore mission. During this difficult time, we encourage you to explore these as alternatives to opening a building and the increased risks this may bring.
Please note that all church property must be COVID-19 secure if open for the uses outlined below.
Communal Worship & Prayer – Open but mixing of households/support bubbles is not allowed
Wedding Ceremonies – Can only take place with up to 6 people and should only take place in exceptional circumstances*
Wedding Receptions – Are not permitted
Funerals – Can take place with a maximum of 30 attendees *
Post-death Commemorative Events – Can take place with up to 6 attendees *
Other Standalone Life-Cycle Ceremonies – Can take place with up to 6 attendees *
Support Groups – If they have to be delivered in person, they can continue with up to 15 participants where formally organised to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support.
Church cafes – Must close unless providing a takeaway service (until 11pm).
Non-essential retail (charity shops, etc) – Must close
Community Buildings – Must close except for a limited number of exempt activities including education and training, childcare purposes, hosting blood donation sessions and food banks and to provide medical treatment.
*This number does not include staff or anyone working during the event.
Test and Trace Information
TMCP have produced a helpful article regarding the legal requirements for Test & Trace and QR codes in response to the government’s recent announcements – read more here. We will also be working on publishing more practical advice on this topic as soon as we can.
You can also read the government guidance on the following:
- In England – Test and Trace
ADVANCED AND FOUNDATION MODULE: Information from the Connexion is that face to face training should be suspended. Deadlines for completion of the training will be extended. Where people are new to post, we are encouraged to direct people to the relevant handbook for their role. The Nottingham and Derby District are to be a pilot district for the new online training. Further information has been emailed to ministers and circuit administrators.
T4T (TRAINING FOR TRAINERS) FOR THE FOUNDATION MODULE: The District has produced a digital/online version so that trainers are then prepared to roll out the new module when the current restrictions have been removed. A number of training sessions have already taken place. The District safeguarding team will inform people of any new dates as they become available.
ALL WE CAN – METHODIST RELIEF AND DEVELOPMENT FUND
For information from Tim Baker, Churches and Volunteers Manager at All We Can, Click here
For further information from Tim Baker about their online and digital worship resources, click here
REFLECTIVE RESOURCE FOR FUNERALS
The following resource has been produced to be used at home for those who are unable to attend a funeral.
Click here to download the resource.