Last updated Friday 27 March at 17:20
- Updated Will food banks or other essential services have to close? FAQ
- Updated Can funerals still go ahead? FAQ
- New The church (or a hall) is used for blood donation, can it continue? FAQ
- New The church (or hall) is used for a night shelter, can it continue? FAQ
- New How can we ensure the church building is safe and secure while closed? FAQ
Friday 27 March at 10:45
- New What advice is there for Chaplains? FAQ
Following the Prime Minister’s announcement of 23rd March, the Archbishops have written to clergy in support of the measures, requiring that churches must now close both for private worship and public services.
Our church buildings are therefore now closed for public worship, private prayer and all other meetings and activities except for vital community services until further notice.
We are aware this is a very difficult time and will prompt a number of further questions. The FAQs below will be regularly updated, so please do keep checking back. When major changes are made we will publish updated through the national Church’s social media accounts.
Funerals may now only happen at the Crematorium or at the graveside. Only immediate family members can attend (if the crematorium allows) – that is, spouse or partner, parents and children, keeping their distance in the prescribed way.
Emergency baptisms can take place in a hospital or at home, though subject to strict hygiene precautions and physical distancing as far as this is possible.
Sadly, there can be no weddings in church buildings until further notice.
Foodbanks and services such as GoodSAM should continue where possible under strict guidelines and may have to move to be delivery points, not places where people gather. If you can do consider making a financial contribution to your nearest foodbank.
Anyone running a food bank should follow the advice found on the Trussell Trust’s website.
Such services should always be notified to your insurer, and any special conditions requested by them complied with.
Live streaming of services is more important than ever and is permissible from homes.
We encourage us all to consider how we can be as creative as possible with streaming services and other resources. There are many, many fantastic examples of churches and clergy using technology to reach and engage communities. Read more guidance here.
Live streaming should be operated by the person presenting or a member of their household. External personnel should not move between households to facilitate.
If a church wishes to host a live-stream on their own website then they can apply for a Limited Online Music Licence (LOML).
Can we play live music in the video?
A church wishing to sing and play live music on a live or pre-recorded video on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram are able to without applying for a licence as it is covered by the platform. The video is required to be ‘unbranded’.
Can we play backing music or a recorded song in the video?
If a backing track or a recorded song is played as part of the video, this is copyrighted material and a Limited Online Music Licence (LOML) should be applied for.
Can I embed a video on my website?
If the video is embedded from YouTube, as the host of the video, the platforms licence covers this.
If the video is hosted on the church website, the church would need to apply for a licence.
Information on licenses
Schools and childcare providers are being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children, including those whose parents are critical to the coronavirus response and cannot be safely cared for at home.
The Government has published a list of categories of workers whose children will be prioritised. It includes “religious staff” – such as parish clergy and chaplains whose work is critical to the coronavirus response.
All parents are being asked to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and schools are remaining open only for those children who absolutely need to attend. Clergy who wish to confirm that their role is necessary to the continuation of an essential public service must contact their bishop for approval.
Bishops are extending the period for holding annual meetings. Please check your diocesan website for information.
We are encouraging churches to find creative ways of staying in touch with those who are isolated and vulnerable and to give them spiritual support and also practical support as far as possible. We have published a list of digital and print resources and we are also developing new content. This is all available further down the page.
A range of reflections, audio and video material is being developed to sit alongside existing resources. Read more further down the page.
Thank you for all you are doing. More advice and support for you will be posted next week (commencing 30 March).
Yes. Donating blood is an essential activity, and travelling to give blood is allowed.
Please consult Housing Justice, which has detailed specific advice for night shelters here.