Church of England Diocese of St.Albans Milton Bryan

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Management Updates

We continue to monitor the evolving Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and will endeavour to keep you up to date. The information on this page is regularly updated with the most recent news at the top of the page, so please check back to ensure you have the latest information. 


UPDATE: FRIDAY 14 AUGUST 2021

This Sunday morning 15 August at 10:30 am we look forward to the return of Songs of Praise.

With the easing of covid-19 restrictions you are welcome to sing and worship in fullness.

After Service Refreshments are also returning - in a Covid-secure way.

Tea/coffee and sealed individual or twin biscuit and treat packs will be available.

We will be taking your order on your way into church and will bring this to you after the service.

You are welcome to remain in your pews or head outside with your refreshments.

We ask that you 'Respect Social Distancing, be Cautious, Caring and Considerate to those around you'.

UPDATE: SATURDAY 17 JULY 2021

On Friday 16th July at 16.52pm The Church of England released its latest update with further documents published and updated guidance to help churches to prepare for stage 4 of the Government’s roadmap coming into effect on Monday 19 July.

It is worth remembering that the circumstances in each parish church will inform local PCC decision-making together with the Incumbent. In the coming week, we will be working on and praying into how to navigate the changing situation as restrictions to limit the transmission of Covid-19 are progressively eased. We look forward to updating you further with details on services and arrangements.

Your safety and health are our priority, and we will continue to take all steps necessary to limit the transmission of the virus.

UPDATE: TUESDAY 18 MAY 2021

Here is an updated link from which we take our advice on the government's latest news, laws and Church of England guidance concerning the risk management of Covid-19 in church which was released yesterday evening:

https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2021-05/COVID%2019%20advice%20on%20conducting%20public%20worship%20v3.3.pdf

Our PCC are currently consulting on this within our own local context and we shall be confirming our latest plans and measures in due course. Please revisit this page to keep up to date.

UPDATE: MONDAY 17 MAY 2021

The Revd Dr Brendan McCarthy, the Church of England’s adviser on medical ethics and health policy, said: “The changes in guidance which come into effect today represent a relatively modest step along the road of easing restrictions affecting places of worship in common with many other public places. The increase in maximum numbers at weddings and the lifting of the cap on those permitted to attend funerals will be welcome by many families. A more extensive easing of restrictions is expected next month when England is due to move to step four on the Government’s ‘reopening’ roadmap. However, despite major progress in the rollout of vaccinations, recent developments around the world – especially the tragic events in India – show that there is still uncertainty ahead and we we will continue to encourage a measured approach to the path forward as we seek to protect the most vulnerable.”

UPDATE: SUNDAY 7 MARCH 2021

Spring sunshine brings signs of hope, light and brighter days ahead, and we write to update you, that we are planning on returning to worshipping in our church building on Palm Sunday - Sunday 28 March at 11:30am.

Until Sunday 28th March we will be maintaining our closed church policy during this lockdown, opening for maintenance and cleaning visits only. We are a responsible and committed PCC ensuring a Covid-secure Church and environment each time we gather together. We will be observing and worshipping in accordance with latest government rules and Church of England guidance extant at the time.

We continue to pray for all who are affected by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and hold you and your families in our prayers.

UPDATE: SUNDAY 21 FEBRUARY 2021

At a recent PCC meeting [held via Zoom Conference on 16.02.2021] the PCC consulted and agreed that there should be no immediate change in the 'closed church policy' for St Peter’s. This means that our church building will remain closed for all of February. We will report on plans for March and April soon.

Although the church building is closed, our Vision, Ministry and Mission remains, and church life continues in many ways. ‘Church’ is where the people are and we are still here for you and hold you and your families in our prayers. 

If you would like to join with our WhatsApp group, the live online services each week or recordings, please contact Kelvin White or Revd Steve Nuth.   

UPDATE: SUNDAY 10 JANUARY 2021

In recent days our PCC have been busy reviewing and consulting on the national and local Coronavirus/Covid-19 situation in line with latest instruction and guidance.

While churches have an exemption from closure in this third national lockdown at this time of writing, the Incumbent together with the Churchwardens and PCC have decided to:

Close the church completely with immediate effect from today, Sunday 10 January 2021 up to and including Sunday 28 February 2021. 

The situation will be reviewed monthly in line with Government instruction and Church of England guidance extant at the time.

Our first priority is to keep people safe, especially those in our congregation and the wider parish as a whole who are in the 'at risk' category.

Although the church building is closed, our Vision, Ministry and Mission remains, and church life continues in many ways. ‘Church’ is where the people are and we are still here for you and hold you and your families in our prayers. 

UPDATE TUESDAY 5 JANUARY 2021:

A third national lockdown was announced on 4th January and this will come into force on 6th January. We will write with further information as soon as Government and Church of England have confirmed what this means for churches in their own local context. 

UPDATE: MONDAY 21 DECEMBER:

Tier 4: Following the Prime Minister’s briefing on Saturday afternoon 19 December, almost the entire Diocese of St. Albans has been put into tier 4. This is akin to being back in lockdown. However, we learn that Worship in church may continue, following Covid-Secure procedures and safeguards. No one may mingle with anyone outside their household or support bubble. Just because we ‘can do’ something according to the rules, does not mean we ‘should do’ it and the local situation needs to be considered. Here at St. Peter's we continue to monitor and review our procedures and risk assessments in order to maintain a Covid-Secure environment in church. Our first priority has to be keeping people safe, especially with those in our congregation who are in the 'at risk' category. People should not travel from a lower tier into a tier 4 area. We will observe and work in alignment with Government and Church of England instructions and guidelines at all times. Please continue to visit our website to stay up to date.

https://www.churchofengland.org/news-and-media/news-and-statements/response-updated-coronavirus-restrictions

UPDATE: THURSDAY 10 DECEMBER:

We are pleased that our church building is once again open for Public Worship, and we look forward to our next service on Sunday 13th December for Songs of Praise at 10:30am in this season of Advent. 

Congregations ARE NOT permitted to sing inside the church building. However we are blessed that we can listen to an organist play for us. As always please observe our 'important covid-19 (coronavirus) service notices' in our news and notices announcements and on posters and pew sheets as you arrive at church. 

UDATE: THURSDAY 5 NOVEMBER:

As with all places of worship, our church building is once again closed for public worship from 5th November until 2nd December.

We also write to confirm that there is no Remembrance Sunday Service taking place inside or outside church. Instead a small socially distanced gathering will take place in the churchyard for some prayer and the laying of a wreath.

We are not encouraging attendance from out of parish on this occasion.

As we are in the early days of this second lockdown period, there will be no opening of the church this Sunday for Individual Private Prayer.

The routine and time of opening for Individual Private Prayer is currently under review and will return soon. 

UPDATE: SATURDAY 31 OCTOBER: 

Following the announcement by the Prime Minister of new restrictions to limit the spread of Covid-19, the Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, chair of the Church of England’s Recovery Group said: “We have heard with others the announcement from the Prime Minister this evening of a second national ‘lockdown’ in England and how this will affect the life of our communities and public worship. We will study the detailed regulations and continue to liaise with Government departments to offer clarity to churches. This is a time of real uncertainty for everyone and the Church will continue to be central to the life of our communities in bringing light and hope.” 

Here at St. Peter's we wait for the latest news from our Bishops and will update you shortly. The Church as a body of people in the body of Christ is still very much alive and we are here for you. 

UPDATE: FRIDAY 16 OCTOBER:

Since Wednesday 14 October, a new three-tier risk alert system for COVID-19 has been in place in England. We will study the detailed Government guidance and subsequent Church of England guidance and update any advice in due course. The Church of England has recently issued "A COVID-19 Permitted Activities under the 3 Tier System" for churches. We continue to observe and work in alignment with latest rules and advice. 

UPDATE: WEDNESDAY 30 SEPTEMBER:

In the last month we have returned to public worship in church. Songs of Praise (without singing as this is not permitted, but blessed to listen to an organist play for us) on the third Sunday at 10:30am. Holy Communion (in bread wafer form only) with Revd Steve Nuth on the fourth Sunday at 11:30am. 

We are continuing to work hard to assure you, keep you safe and warmly welcome you to a Covid-Secure Church of St. Peter, Milton Bryan.

We have a Risk Assessment that is reviewed regularly inline with latest guidance. Hand Sanitizer is available on entry; A Register is taken with Consent Forms in supporting the NHS Test and Trace; Masks are available in case you forget to bring your own face covering; Social distancing signage is installed; We observe a two meter social distance inside and outside church. 

UPDATE TUESDAY 22 SEPTEMBER: 

Following the announcement by the Prime Minister of new measures to limit the spread of coronavirus, the Church of England is continuing to engage with Government departments to review advice to churches. 

The Prime Minister emphasised that we can draw comfort from the fact that places of worship as well as schools and businesses are staying open. We note the change from a maximum of 30 attending weddings to a maximum of 15 from Monday September 28.

We anticipate further updates in the next few days. All updates will be notified at the top of this page.

Whilst Government guidance has been revised to allow certain activities to take place in church buildings, it is still vital that the necessary hygiene and social distancing precautions are kept in place in order to protect the NHS and save lives.

UPDATE 18 SEPTEMBER: 'THE RULE OF SIX' AND PLACES OF WORSHIP:

HOW DOES THE 'RULE OF SIX' AFFECT CHURCH SERVICES? Public worship can continue. There is an exemption that covers places of worship making it possible for more than six people to gather for acts of communal worship. However, it is not a blanket exemption. People must not be part of a group of more than six unless they are from the same household or support bubble.

ARE PLACES OF WORSHIP EXEMPT FROM THE 'RULE OF SIX'? 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 and as well as some other activities that take place in church buildings. However, it is not a blanket exemption. People must not be part of a group of more than six unless they are from the same household or support bubble. 

UPDATE 17 AUGUST: Open Church - Private Prayer and Regular Worship:

OPEN CHURCH: We have been OPEN for Private Prayer and Visitors throughout July and August and will continue to do so in September on Sunday afternoons 2pm to 5pm.

REGULAR WORSHIP: We are working towards opening up for regular worship and we plan to do this in September. 

These arrangements are subject to Government instruction and Church of England guidance nearer the time. 

UPDATE 10 AUGUST: How are we managing opening church back up?

What we have done: 1. We have carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment which is regularly reviewed. 2. We have cleaning, hand cleansing and hygiene procedures in place, in line with government guidance. Hand sanitiser, wipes and now masks are available on entry. 3. We have taken all reasonable steps to help everyone maintain a 2 meter distance between different users of our church. We are currently restricting the use of every other pew to help maintain a safe distance when seated in church. 4. We are operating a test and trace system with forms available on entry. A COVID-19 Privacy Notice is available on request. 

What we expect you to do: 1. Refrain from entering if you are feeling unwell or have experienced any COVID-19 symptoms in the past seven days. 2. Take responsibility for your own safety and that of your household and other people by maintaining social distancing and observing all hygiene measures. 3. Ensure children are supervised at all times.

Note on Face Coverings: Congregation members should wear face coverings inside Church, this is currently a legal requirement. Those involved in services with leading or reading can remove their face coverings to read, lead or preach. There are some exemptions for those with a legitimate reason not to wear a face covering and guidance can be found here: https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2020-08/COVID%2019%20advice%20on%20face%20coverings%20v3.0.pdf.

UPDATE 8 AUGUST: Face coverings are currently mandatory on public transport and in a range of indoor venues and this includes places of worship and church halls. This is a legal requirement, unless of course you have an exemption.  

UPDATE: From 4th July, the Government has allowed resumption of public worship. However public worship can only take part in limited form. Singing is not permitted. Refreshments are suspended.  

UPDATE: Since 15 June, the Government has allowed access to places of worship for individual prayer and funerals. 

UPDATE: On 23 March 2020, the Prime minister announced that all churches must close with immediate effect, introducing strict new measures in an attempt to curb the spread of Covid-19 as part of the national Coronavirus lock-down.