Leading in the New Normal (Webinar)
A webinar and Q&A featuring an overview of the current Government guidance and laws for churches in England, and an update from six church leaders on their experiences of re-opening after lockdown.
In this first webinar back after a summer break, FIEC National Director John Stevens gives a review and reminder of the current Government guidance and laws for church buildings in England to open after lockdown.
He is joined by six church leaders who have shared their plans for re-opening in previous webinars to find out what their experiences have been and what their ongoing plans are:
- Steve Kneale, Oldham Bethel Church;
- Paul Gamston, South Craven Evangelical Church;
- Spencer Shaw, Emmanuel Church Chippenham;
- Adrian Reynolds, Christchurch Harborough;
- Richard Lacey, Woodgreen Evangelical Church;
- Mark Lawrence, Christ Church Dunstable.
00:00 - Bible teaching (James 4:13-17): the difficulty of planning (John Stevens);
05:18 - Summary of Guidance (England) (John Stevens);
23:48 - How six local churches are moving into the 'new normal';
51:19 - Q&A
- What are the guidelines for small music groups?
- Can people still interact after services at a social distance with the new restrictions on social gatherings?
- Do households need to socially distance in church?
- Will the new restrictions affect church activities in private homes?
- Do baptisms count as a life-cycle event?
- Would test and trace mean church must self isolate even with social distancing?
- Can we gather for Bible study and prayer meetings in church buildings?
- Can other meetings take place in a church building eg. elders' meetings?
- Can we start creche for under 5s?
- Can youth leaders move around different groups of 15 children?
- There is a difference between law and guidance, although increasingly restrictions will be enforceable by police. Anything else also have implications for insurance reasons if not followed and risk assessed;
- From Monday 14 September it will be unlawful for social gatherings of more than six people - indoors or outdoors. Places of worship and other COVID-secure venues are exempt from this law;
- For places of worship, there is no limit of attendance if social distance of 2m is maintained - although interaction between households should be limited;
- It is mandatory for people to wear face coverings when attending a church service. Baptism by full immersion is permitted, though there is guidance on how to do this;
- Conversation and congregational singing is not permitted but a small group may sing and play music in a service;
- A place of worship can be used midweek for bible study and prayer meetings, provided social distancing and other measures are kept. Amplification might be a helpful way to facilitate this;
- Children's and youth groups can meet: no limit on group size for under 5s; small, consistent groups of 15 (including leaders) for over 5s. When parents must stay with their children, social distancing must be adhered to.
Updated Government guidance
- Staying alert and safe (gov.uk);
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): Meeting with others safely (social distancing) (gov.uk);
- Actions for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak (gov.uk);
- Guidance for parents and carers of children attending out-of-school settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak (gov.uk);
- COVID-19: Guidance for the safe use of multi-purpose community facilities (gov.uk).
Updated advice for churches
- Coronavirus: Guidance on re-opening Baptist church buildings (baptist.org.uk);
- Coronavirus advice: Children’s, youth and families ministry (baptist.org.uk);
- Coronavirus: Guidance on church worship (27 August) (baptist.org.uk);
- COVID-19 Advice on the Conduct of Public Worship (churchofengland.org);
- COVID-19 Mission and Ministry with Children, Young People & Families in a Church Setting (churchofengland.org).
You can watch other webinars and sign up for future webinars on the Leadership in Lockdown page.