Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for churches

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. 

Download a poster to display on your church building

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.

FAQs

Can funerals still go ahead?
Can baptisms still go ahead?
Can weddings still go ahead?
Will food banks have to close?
Can we still live stream services?
What about key workers?
What should I do about my PPC or APCM meeting?
How will churches maintain contact, especially with the vulnerable?
What support is being offered centrally to parishes?
What advice is there for Chaplains?
The church (or a hall) is used for blood donation, can it continue?
The church (or hall) is used for a night shelter, can it continue?
How can we ensure the church building is safe and secure while closed?

Documents

Digital resources

What is currently available?

There are a range of new and existing Christian resources available for people to engage with at this difficult and challenging time in the life of the nation and the world:

  • Weekly service broadcasts - these be made available each Sunday through the Church's Facebook page.
  • Time to Pray app - everything you need for Prayer During the Day, with variations according to the day of the week and the season of the Church’s year. Download for free.
  • Daytime prayer and Night prayer service audio - building on the existing daily prayer feed, this includes daytime prayer and night prayer for each day. It will be available as a downloadable app in the coming weeks.
  • Live streaming services from churches - AChurchNearYou.com now lists hundreds of churches offering livestreams of services from across the country. Churches need to add the 'Livestream' tag to their services and events that will be broadcast. Remember to add into the description how people can watch this. You add a link to the platform you're using to stream, such as your Facebook Page or YouTube Channel. Find out more about live streaming services and events.
  • Increasing the number of training webinars - to help churches stream sermons, events and make the most of digital platforms. Sign up for free.
  • #LiveLent: Care for God's Creation - the Church of England's Lent campaign for 2020. With weekly themes shaped around the first Genesis account of creation, it explores the urgent need for humans to value and protect the abundance God has created. This daily audio content is available via the app and daily emails. Sign up for free.
  • The BBC's Daily Service and Sunday Worship - radio programmes will be using some of the themes from #LiveLent as part of their broadcasts.
  • Prayer for the day - each day the Church of England publishes audio and text of the Prayer for the Day.
  • Smart speakers – daily prayer and #LiveLent audio content can be accessed via our smart speaker apps.
  • Mental health reflections – 13 daily reflections that seek to provide hope, reassurance and comfort. We have also published five tips to help tackle loneliness and isolation. 

Read a blog which outlines how a church can inexpensively stream a sermon service or thought for the day from the vicar or member of the church in situations where people are unable to attend church. 

What will be developed in the weeks ahead?

In the days and weeks ahead, we will continue to significantly expand our output:

  • More video content – this will include video services and more films for Holy Week and Easter. In addition, we will make Holy Week audio content available.
  • A series of new reflections from Easter Day onwards – work is underway on an updated app, audio and email resources. More details to follow soon.

Alongside the use of audio, app, smart speakers and social media, one of the main principles we are working to is to make as much as possible available in simple downloadable and printable formats for those who can’t easily access the technology.

Prayer and liturgy

A new page has been created containing:

  • Prayers and intercessions for personal or group use
  • Special prayers for use if it isn’t possible to meet in church
  • A simple form of prayer for the morning and evening, which can be downloaded, printed, and shared with those remaining at home or who are unable to access the Internet.

These resources are offered to help those who are struggling to find words at this difficult and stressful time, and to enable Christians to worship in solidarity with one another even if it is not possible to gather in church.