Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for churches

Last updated 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

Whilst some Government guidance has been revised, 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.

The information on this page is regularly updated, so please check back to ensure you have the latest guidance. When major changes are made, we will publish update through the Church of England Twitter and Facebook accounts.

FAQs

The House of Bishops' statement on 5 May 2020 addresses the possibility of "very limited access to church buildings for activities such as streaming of services or private prayer by clergy in their own parishes, so long as the necessary hygiene and social distancing precautions are taken"

Please read the detailed guidance below to ensure these activities are conducted in a safe and hygienic way.

General

How can parishes prepare to re-open buildings?
Are religious staff considered key workers?
What is the advice for Chaplains?
What advice is available if domestic abuse is suspected?
What central resources are available to parishes?
Should we still deliver printed communication?
Can churches open for individual and private prayer?

Prayer and worship

Praying and live streaming from church buildings
Copyright licence details for live streaming
What liturgical resources are available?

Life events

Can funerals still go ahead?
Can weddings still go ahead?
Can baptisms still go ahead?

Community support

What guidance is there for pastoral support in the community?
How are churches maintaining contact, especially with vulnerable people?
Can food banks remain open?
Can the building still be used for blood donations?

Fabric and building maintenance

This advice is written to help clergy return to their churches safely. It is intended to be helpful and not to put an additional burden on clergy whilst at the same time enabling clergy to pray and livestream in a way that protects both their and others health.

Please read our guidance checklist on Access to church buildings during lockdown: advice for incumbents and ensure a Parish risk assessment has been completed ahead of accessing a building.

What advice is there for access to buildings during lockdown?
What advice is there for keeping the church clean?

Finance and governance

How can my PCC hold a remote meeting?
How can we enable people to give financially to the church?

Schools and nurseries

Can members of clergy and foundation school governors enter a school building?
Can nurseries and early years childcare provision operate in churches?

Documents

  • Guidance on mental health and wellbeing during Coronavirus (COVID-19)

  • Guidance on Spiritual Communion and Coronavirus (COVID-19)

  • Safeguarding and Coronavirus (COVID-19) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • Crisis, Scarcity, and Christian Ethics – a short note for chaplains during Coronavirus (COVID-19)

  • Wellbeing of clergy and lay ministers during Coronavirus (COVID-19)

  • A guidance note on churches’ community action during Coronavirus (COVID-19)

  • Access to church buildings during lockdown: advice for incumbents during Coronavirus (COVID-19)

  • Guidance for churches and cathedrals on access to their buildings for construction work during Coronavirus (COVID-19)

  • Guidance for accessing church buildings for buildings maintenance during Coronavirus (COVID-19)

  • Access to church buildings during lockdown: general advice for incumbents, churchwardens and PCC members during Coronavirus (COVID-19)

  • Advice on pastoral support in the community, including care homes during Coronavirus (COVID-19)

  • Keeping church buildings clean during Coronavirus (COVID-19)

  • Towards Re-opening Church Buildings: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Risk Assessment Checklist for Parish Churches

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) Advice on Individual Private Prayer

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) Advice on Conducting Funerals

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) Advice on Conducting Weddings

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) Advice on Conducting Baptisms

  • Marking our communities: Re-entering church buildings during Coronavirus (COVID-19)

  • Marking our communities: Prayers of lament, thanksgiving and restoration during Coronavirus (COVID-19)

  • Marking our communities: Remembering & memorials during Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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 national online services – these will be made available each Sunday through the Church's Facebook and Church Online page. There is a different theme for each weke and elements of the service will be shared on social media throughout the week.
  • 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 the app 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.
  • 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. 
  • Live streaming services AChurchNearYou.com now lists thousands of services and events from Church of England churches. 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.
  • Weekly music and hymns – 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 they have a CCLI streaming licence. Read the press release for more details.
  • Running a range of training webinars – to help churches stream sermons, events and make the most of digital platforms. Sign up for free.
  • 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.
  • Preparing for Thy Kingdom Come 2020 – more to follow soon. You can sign up on their website.

Explore the full range of online church resources 

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 worship resources

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.

Version log

View any updates made to the page, with the most recent listed first. 

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: