“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1
This page features updates from the Church of England and our bishops for churches and church-run groups in relation to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
The other pages in the section are:
Prayers and resources – for ministry guidance and inspiration
Practical matters – concerned with parish finance and administration
On-line training and development – find out what opportunities are available
Throughout these changing times we are sending out a weekly, short Connect e-bulletin to keep people up to date with the latest guidance and resources. Sign up to receive it on our Newsletters page. You can also find all the latest news items related to the Coronavirus in a dedicated Coronavirus Guidance and Updates news section.
Latest guidance from the Church of England
On 23 March, the Prime Minister has announced that all places of worship must close with immediate effect. This meant that our churches could not be open for private prayer and no weddings or baptisms can take place. Following new guidance from the House of Bishops on 5 May 2020 approving a phased approach to reopening church buildings, the Church of England issued guidance for incumbents on the access to church buildings for private prayer or streaming during lockdown (Phase 1). You can download the document below.
Go to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance for Churches Church of England web section for more resources and frequently asked questions (FAQs) for parishes.
From our bishops
Following the House of Bishops meeting, which determined that diocesan bishops can now decide when it is appropriate for clergy to return to their church buildings for live streaming or private prayer, Bishop Peter and Bishop Ruth wrote to clergy, Readers and churchwardens on 11 May issuing permissive guidance. You can download the letter and guidance below.
On 27 May, the bishops and archdeacons wrote to all clergy, lay leaders and officers to reassure them that, as we have moved into phase one of the lockdown in terms of church buildings, they will continue to keep them up to date with all guidance and directed them to the latest advice on the ‘Caring for and securing our church buildings’ page.
They said: “It is important to reiterate that the guidance is there for your benefit and support. We would not want you to see it as requiring all of us to return to wider pastoral ministries or church buildings if that is not possible for you. Each of us needs to take seriously the restraints of our own situation and assess the risks in sensible ways.”
Lord God, carer of all people, creator, sustainer and healer;
We pray for all who have contracted Covid-19. Be with them and their loved ones and bring healing to their bodies.
We pray for all medical staff and emergency services as they look after the physical health, worries and concerns of their patients, especially the vulnerable and particularly those who have reduced contact with the outside world. Let us be good neighbours, looking out and after each other.
We remember the work of scientists, discovering and testing vaccines for this disease, and we pray for all of us, caught up in our everyday lives with the effects of these outbreaks.
Bless your world Lord, and help us to be blessings to one another, in Jesus name. Amen