Please read the detailed guidance below to ensure all activities are conducted in a safe and hygienic way.
Prayer and worship
While public worship in some church buildings will recommence, many churches will be continuing to stream prayers and services.
Whether or not the church is also being used for public worship, please read our guidance on keeping church buildings clean to ensure risk is minimised.
Resources for streaming worship are also available.
CCLI introduced a streaming licence in mid-March 2020. It is available to any church which holds a CCLI Church Copyright Licence, which the majority of Church of England churches do. For many churches, this licence will cover them for their streaming activity:
- For churches who are streaming their services via YouTube or Facebook, the CCLI Streaming Licence will cover them for live worship music performed as part of that stream. (This would include services streamed or webcast via YouTube but embedded into the church’s own website).
- You can check on the CCLI website as to whether permissions for a particular hymn or song are covered by them.
- If the church is hosting the stream/webcast on their own website, they will need the PRS for Music Limited Online Music Licence (LOML) in addition to the CCLI Streaming Licence.
- The CCLI Streaming Licence includes the right to show the words on screen.
- The CCLI Streaming Licence allows a church to make recordings of the services available on their website indefinitely provided you keep renewing your streaming licences.
- These licences cover ‘live’ music performances. If a church is using recorded music as part of the stream, additional rights come into play. Commercially available CDs or music recordings cannot be played unless specific permission is granted by the copyright holder.
- Another license, One License is available which covers an additional range of church and choral music e.g. Taize, GIA Publications, Oxford University Press, Wild Goose Resource Group, Kevin Mayhew.
- The Church of England uses both a One Licence and CCLI Streaming Licence for the weekly online services to enable access to a broad range of Christian music.
- The same rules described above over seeking permission for ‘recorded’ performance still apply.
Rights-free music from the Church of England, St Martin in the Fields and the Royal School of Church Music
- The Church of England, working with St Martin-in-the-Fields and the Royal School of Church Music, is providing a resource of rights-free music for Church of England churches to use on streamed services, via the A Church Near You resource hub providing you have a CCLI Streaming Licence. Read the press release for more details.
- There are several other Christian organisations that provide apps or software that provide backing tracks for worship, some of which are giving churches permission to use their pre-recorded tracks as part of their streams. Please carefully check first before using this material.
Using other copyrighted material
- Permission should also be sought from the owner(s) of any other creative works included in the service. If reproducing bible verses, or liturgy, usually there will be copyright information in the front of the publication, and usually they will allow for a certain proportion to be reproduced.
- For any images etc. the same rules would apply as in normal circumstances. Never assume that you can take an image found on Google and use it in a church service or include it in a service sheet or similar without permission. Read our guidance on using images here.
- Regarding a Service Sheet, as long as there are appropriate licences/permissions in place, making that service sheet available online should be fine.
Advice on using Zoom to stream services
- Churches using Zoom to stream services need both the CCLI Streaming Licence and the PRS for Music LOML. This is because Zoom doesn’t currently have an agreement with PRS for Music as YouTube and Facebook do.
Yes, from 13 June this is allowed under government guidance.
Organists must get permission to enter the building from the incumbent or Church Warden, and their access must be coordinated with those responsible for cleaning. If the organist will be on their own in the building then a lone working assessment should be done. An example can be found online.
The House of Bishops has advised that funerals may be carried out in church buildings.
Please see our guidance on funerals in church buildings for more information.
We recognise how difficult this time is for anyone who has lost a loved one even though a funeral in church is now possible, you may wish to discuss with your vicar or minister the possibility of a memorial service at a date in the future where more people can be present.
From 4 July, the Government has allowed for weddings in places of worship, providing certain public health criteria are met including an advised maximum number of 30 people in attendance.
Please see our guidance on weddings for more information.
Please also see the government’s guidance for safely conducting wedding ceremonies.
Ordinations should take place only when public worship in churches and cathedrals is permitted and when and where it is safe for them to take place.
The Church of England has published guidance for such a time as ordinations are allowed in church buildings again.
Please note this is currently for planning purposes only and could be subject to change.
Foodbanks and services such as GoodSAM should continue where possible, as they have throughout lockdown.
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.
Yes. Donating blood is an essential activity, and has been permitted in churches throughout lockdown.
Please consult Housing Justice, which has detailed specific advice for night shelters.
Fabric and building maintenance
Read our guidance document on Using church buildings for public worship, individual prayer and funerals.
Yes. Although the Government Emergency Regulations require a place of worship to be closed except for the uses permitted we have been advised by government that if the place of worship is being cleaned or preparing to open, it can still be considered ‘closed’ whilst these activities are happening, provided members of the public cannot gain access. We strongly recommend carrying out a risk assessment and consulting the guidance on cleaning before entering a church building.
You may, depending on what you need to install. Advice on gaining permission for temporary additions can be downloaded from our website.
It is possible to carry out construction work.
Read our guidance documents on Opening church buildings for works to the building and interior and Risk assessment template for contractors and construction workers.
Finance and governance
Parochial church councils can, if they wish, meet using virtual means such as Skype or Zoom which enable the members to see and hear each other.
However, care must be taken so that members of a PCC who are unable to participate in a meeting in that way are not excluded from the PCC’s deliberations and decision making. The Chair should take steps to ensure that they are able to participate so far as possible, including where necessary by means of the procedure for conducting business by correspondence set out in rule M29 of the Church Representation Rules.
Following a virtual meeting, decisions such as the authorising of expenditure, entering into contracts or those that require a formal resolution of the PCC should be put in written form and circulated for formal approval under the correspondence procedure in rule M29 (which under Rule 76 can be conducted by email).
Churches rely on the generosity of their congregations and their communities to support their mission and ministry. Many people give regularly to their church by standing order or direct debit. Others give in cash when the offering is taken in a church service or when visiting the church, and people will not be able to give in this way whilst our church buildings are closed.
Many individuals are going through financial uncertainty as a result of lost or changed employment during the restrictions, and that may affect their giving too. This means that it is even more important that those who can give are able to do so. You could consider including an update in a bulletin or online parish magazine to let people know how to go about giving online or by standing order or direct debit.
For further guidance visit Parish Resources.
Schools and nurseries
You should contact your Headteacher about access arrangements and follow the school guidance. More information about school opening can be found on the Government website.
Yes, Government guidance does not prohibit school groups from coming into church, providing any use is in line with Government guidance both for safe operation of schools and use of places of worship.
Yes, as of 1 June, places of worship may open for early years childcare provided by a person registered on the Early Years Register under Part 3 of the Childcare Act 2006. For more information see the DfE website.
Early Years provision in church halls or other buildings not designated places of worship is also permitted, subject to the same rules as other school and nursery settings.
Places of Worship must continue to meet all existing health and safety obligations with regard to ensuring that their premises are safe for providers to hire and to operate from. Once Early Year providers reopen and are operating from premises in Community Settings and Places of Worship, it is for the early years provider to ensure that they are following government guidance on implementing protective measures in education and childcare settings, as well as all existing requirements set out in the statutory framework for the EYFS.
All parishes can now complete a risk assessment to help them prepare to re-open their church building(s).
There is a section on the homepage of the safeguarding area of the Church of England website which is updated with COVID-19 advice.
Domestic abuse may affect anyone at any time, but the isolation resulting from COVID-19 is particularly affecting victims/survivors of domestic abuse.
For more information please see our advice on safeguarding matters during the COVID-19 restrictions.
A 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 and 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.
A new Daily Hope phone line is now available, free of charge, to those unable to access online resources.
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 a church building.
View any updates made to the page, with the most recent listed first.
Last updated Tuesday 30 June at 9:00
- Following the publication of Government guidance, we are updating our advice, and will publish this shortly.
Last updated Thursday 25 June at 17:58
- Following the Prime Minister's statement on 23 June, we are awaiting publication of the detail of the Government's guidance before updating our advice.
Wednesday 17 June at 09:00
- Updated FAQ Can construction work be carried out? in Fabric and building maintenance section
- Updated Keeping church buildings clean document
- New Risk assessment template for contractors and construction workers document
Tuesday 16 June at 14:30
- New FAQ What guidance is in place for clergy, church workers and volunteers who are deemed to be at additional risk? in Prayer and worship section and advice document
- Updated FAQ What guidance is available for Holy Communion? in Prayer and worship section
Monday 15 June at 10:45:
Friday 12 June at 17:15:
- Updated Risk assessment document for opening church buildings
- New Using church buildings for individual prayer and funerals document (combines previous Access to church buildings during lockdown: advice for incumbents and Access to church buildings during lockdown: general advice for incumbents, churchwardens and PCC members into a single guidance document)
- New FAQ Can organists enter church buildings for organ practice and maintenance? in Prayer and worship section
Wednesday 10 June at 11:30
- New FAQ Can clergy, staff and volunteers enter church buildings to prepare for re-opening? in Fabric and building maintenance section
- New FAQ Do we need to get permission to put social distancing or hygiene measures into a church building? in Fabric and building maintenance section
Tuesday 9 June at 16:15.
Read the House of Bishops' statement accompanying the below updates:
- Updated risk assessment document for opening church buildings
- New opening church buildings for works to the building and interior during document (combines previous Access to church buildings for building maintenance and Church and cathedral building access for construction work into a single guidance document)
- New permissions for temporary works in churches and cathedrals document
- New FAQ Can ordinations still go ahead? and advice document
- New FAQ What guidance is available for Holy Communion? and advice document
- Updated FAQ Can funerals still go ahead? and advice document
- Updated FAQ Can churches open for individual and private prayer?
Friday 5 June at 10:45:
- New Prayer and worship FAQ section
- New FAQ What liturgical resources are available? and accompanying documents
- New FAQ Can churches open for individual and private prayer? and accompanying document
- New FAQ How can parishes prepare to re-open buildings? and updated risk assessment in Word format
- Updated FAQ Can Weddings still go ahead? and accompanying document
- Updated FAQ Can Funerals still go ahead? and accompanying document
- Updated FAQ Can Baptisms still go ahead? and accompanying document
Monday 1 June at 13:00:
- Updated FAQs on schools and nurseries to include information about reopening of nurseries in church buildings and other church-owned property.
Thursday 28 May at 15:35:
- New Schools and nurseries section including:
- New FAQ Can members of clergy and foundation school governors enter a school building?
- New FAQ When schools re-open can church buildings be used by schools as a place of worship or gathering?
- Updated Should we still deliver printed communication? FAQ
Wednesday 27 May at 10:40:
- New FAQ and guidance on What guidance is there for pastoral support in the community, including care homes
- Updated Fabric and building maintenance section including:
- Access to church buildings during lockdown guidance checklist
- Parish risk assessment template
- New FAQ and guidance on What advice is there for access to buildings during lockdown?
- New FAQ and guidance on What advice is there for keeping the church clean?