Welcome to our COVID-19 section
Here we will provide you with all the latest CofE information about the coronavirus, plus we will give you examples of churches in action across our diocese – be that their livestreaming of services or stories of positive community action. Please come back often as we will update this section on a very regular basis.
Guidance on permitted activities
The Church of England has now (Friday, November 6) published guidance on the scope of the permitted activities following the introduction of the further lockdown restrictions.
key points are:
- Our churches can remain open for individual prayer, which is defined as a person or household entering the venue to pray on their own and not as part of a group, led prayer or communal act. Collective or congregational prayer and regular scheduled services are not permitted. This includes a Minister of religion or lay person/volunteer leading devotions or prayer of any sort.
- For those broadcasting a service, they can bring together those people essential for the content of the service, and for technical support. If musicians or singers usually form part of the service being broadcast, they may participate but only if they are essential to the delivery of the service. The numbers or people involved should be kept as small as possible to minimise risks and participants should follow strict hygiene and physical distancing measures. No congregation may be present.
It will be for local decision as to what is ‘essential’ but in determining this we would encourage you to think about both the example we set and the health and wellbeing of those involved.
The Church of England has put out new guidance about worship on Remembrance Sunday. This can be found here, and is meant to be read in concert with the government's Local Authority Preparations for Remembrance Sunday page, which can be found here.
Weddings, civil partnerships, religious services and funerals
Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people, and it is advised that only close friends and family attend. Linked ceremonial events such as stone settings and ash scatterings can also continue with up to 15 people in attendance. Anyone working is not included. Social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a support bubble.
Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies will not be permitted to take place except in exceptional circumstances.
Places of Worship will be closed, unless they are being used for:
- To broadcast acts of worship
- Individual prayer
- Formal childcare or where part of a school
- Essential voluntary and public services, such as blood donation or food banks
- Other exempted activities such as some support groups
The Prime Minister's latest statement (Saturday, October 31) on new restrictions tcan be read here
Goverrnment guidance on new lockdown restrictions from Thursday, November 5 can be read here
The current government advice about places of worship can be found here.
On October 2 the Church of England published updated advice on ministry and mission with children and young people, outdoor worship and churchyards and a new document on heating which can be accessed here.
If you cannot find an answer to your Covid-19 questions on this section of the site, please email covid-19help [at] leeds.anglican.org (subject: Covid-19%20questions) . Your question will then be directed to someone who can provide you with a more detailed answer.
The Diocese has created a new guidance document which we hope will help parishes think through the challenges of emerging from lockdown. Specific guidance contained within this section of the website will need to be applied to different situations, but we hope Lifting the Lockdown will encourage and support wider planning. You can also find a black and white text version of the document here.
A prayer about the coronavirus outbreak, offered by the national church.
Keep us, good Lord,
under the shadow of your mercy
in this time of uncertainty and distress.
Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may rejoice in your comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us from your love
in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The latest advice and guidance from the Diocese and the Church of England can be found here.
The Church of England have recently been involved in conversations with charities and other organisations during this challenging time who are producing constructive advice/reminders about safeguarding for those they work with and support. Here is a short advice note to this effect that your parishes, PSOs and clergy may find useful. This will sit on the national website alongside other information that we are regularly updating.