KEEP WELL, KEEP PRAYING, KEEP CONNECTED
We know there many issues that arise from national and government guidance, and that things are changing frequently in the UK – be assured that we’re working on this and we’ll stay in touch with you. In all of this, we have three key aims:
Keeping people well
keeping people praying
Keeping people connected
Please make sure that you keep an eye on the Church of England website for all the latest guidance for churches and parishes relating to Coronavirus - and if you have specific queries you need help with, or you're in need of support, please speak with your Churchwarden or Parish Priest in the first instance.
Click the heading or questions below to jump straight to what you need:
How does the 'Rule of Six' affect PCCs wishing to meet in person?
PCCS & APCMS
Earlier this year, Bishop Rose signed a Statutory Instrument, which extends the time period for holding APCMs to 31 October 2020. It also extends the time for holding a meeting of parishioners to choose churchwardens in the year 2020 to not later than 31 October 2020 (see more guidance below)
Bishop Rose has signed a further Statutory Instrument allows Annual Meetings of Parishioners and Annual Parochial Church Meetings to take place online, if needed, so that these meetings can take place by the deadline of 31 October. This means you can hold the meetings in person (up to the Covid-Safe capacity of your venue), virtually, or in person with people able to join in virtually. The following documents and guidance should be helpful to you in this:
Instrument for APCMs and Annual Meetings September 2020
Churchwardens declaration 2020
Virtual APCMs September 2020
The Instrument also allows for churchwardens to be admitted by their incumbent (or Area Dean or Archdeacon where there isn’t an incumbent). The details of the form of admission are at the end of the instrument. Churchwardens will also need to complete the attached declaration and return it to their archdeacon’s office.
We would very much like to thank those PCCs who have worked with their churchwardens, clergy and others to enable our churches to support our communities and provide worship so well during these difficult times.
Many PCCs have met virtually or in person to coordinate the ongoing work of their parishes but some are not sure if they should meet. The various Covid measures have not lifted the requirement under rule M23(1) of the Church Representation Rules 2020 that ‘Each year, the PCC must hold a sufficient number of meetings to enable the efficient transaction of its business.’
Depending on local circumstances and the needs of PCC members, PCC meetings can be in person in the church or church hall or virtually, and business can be transacted by email. The most important thing is that PCCs are actively engaged in the mission and ministry of their parishes.
If you have any questions about how your PCC can be most effective at this time, please contact your archdeacon.
HOW DOES THE 'RULE OF SIX' AFFECT PCCS WISHING TO MEET IN PERSON?
There is an exemption that covers places of worship making it possible for more than six people to gather there. The exemption covers church services as well as some other activities that take place in church buildings. It is local responsibility to risk assess the situation, but an APCM in a church or hall which it set up in the same configurations as worship which is also COVID safe will be permissible. Please ensure that you check the Church of England's website for all the latest guidance.
NHS TEST AND TRACE APP QR CODES
You may have heard that businesses are being urged to display unique QR codes that will enable visitors to their premises to log that visit using the new NHS Test and Trace app rather than filling in their details in the visitors log.
These QR code posters are available for churches from the gov.uk website at www.gov.uk/create-coronavirus-qr-poster
As producing the poster with a unique QR code is a comparatively simple way to support the NHS app and protect people, churches are strongly encouraged to download and display their poster in time for the app launch on 24 September.
(Please note that as not everyone has a smartphone to scan the code, written records of contact details will still need to be maintained for those who cannot use the NHS Test and Trace app.)
DIOCESAN STAFF & PARISH SUPPORT
Diocesan House has reopened for staff - but not for external meetings. However, we have a limit on the number of staff that can be in the building at one time and have Coronavirus safety measures in place. No staff are required to work from the office and many continue to work from home.
The Diocesan staff team remains committed to supporting you as you our frontline workers during this national crisis - and (as long as they remain well) will continue to be available to you by phone and email, whether they do it from an office or their kitchen table. If you have any queries, please don't hesitate to call Diocesan House on 01227 459401 - we will continue to run a switchboard service from this number.
I'M WORRIED AND STRESSED - WHERE CAN I GET SUPPORT?
During July and August, The Living Well is offering accompanied prayer time on Tuesdays and Fridays and self-guided individual retreats on Mondays and Thursdays. Booking is essential. To book and for more information, please cpontact the team (details below). The team is also available for listening, prayer and support by phone and email so don't hesitate to contact us them if you need some help:
You can also email requests to their weekly prayer support team:
PRAYER FOR THOSE AFFECTED BY CORONAVIRUS
Keep us, good Lord,
under the shadow of your mercy.
Sustain and support the anxious,
be with those who care for the sick,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may find comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us from your love
in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Find more prayer and worship resources here.