The Journey Out of Lockdown (Webinar)
A panel webinar, with Q&A, to discuss government guidance for places of worship as churches consider opening after 4 July.
After the publication of Government guidance for church buildings in England to reopen from 4 July, John Stevens is joined by three FIEC pastors to discuss the reopening plans at their respective churches.
00:00 - Bible teaching: Philippians 2:1-10 (John Stevens)
08:19 - Government guidance for places of worship in England (John Stevens)
20:12 - Panel discussion (John Stevens, Paul Gamston, Mark Lawrence, Spencer Shaw)
53:46 - Q&A
- What advice should we give to members of our churches who are over 70?
- Is the spirit of the guidance not to meet yet?
- Can we open our churches for other uses during the week?
- If only six different households are permitted to meet outside, how do we interpret that many different households are permitted to meet in a church building?
- What if our insurers reach a different view than we do in our risk assessments?
- What is the responsibility for churches that rent the building they meet in?
- What booking systems are churches using? What do you do if someone attends who doesn't book?
- How long will services last? How do you make sure people move on after the service?
- How long might these guidelines last?
- What practical guidelines are there for preaching and speaking in a safe way?
- Should we let groups who rent our building in during the week?
There was a huge number of questions from church leaders during the webinar, so we made sure any that were missed were answered by John Stevens after the webinar had ended. You can see the questions that were covered and watch below.
Key updates and comments
- A formal risk assessment needs to be undertaken for each church to ensure the building is COVID secure;
- Strict adherence to social distancing is required (2m distance unless impossible);
- Advice against congregational singing, baptism by immersion (splashing allowed), use of the common cup for communion, cash collections, or share books (exceptions can be made when safe);
- Observation of guidance needed for childcare;
- The guidance is from a public health concern - places of worship are "particularly vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19";
- There is a legal requirement of risk assessments and rules on the handling of food. Everything else is 'advice' or 'strongly advised', but the Government expect that churches will follow guidance;
- There is a personal and collective criminal and civil liability of trustees at each church for breaches;
- There is a risk to our witness if guidelines are not followed, and a risk of being uninsured if Government advice is not complied with.
- COVID-19: guidance for the safe use of places of worship during the pandemic (gov.uk);
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): implementing protective measures in education and childcare settings (gov.uk).
- Relaxation of Lockdown for Church Buildings (fiec.org.uk);
- How to Prepare for a COVID Secure Church (fiec.org.uk);
- Not Yet Worship as Normal (john-stevens.com).
Guidance From Other Denominations for Comparison
- Coronavirus: Guidance on re-opening Baptist church buildings (baptist.org.uk);
- Coronavirus: Guidance on church worship (baptist.org.uk);
- Template risk assessment for opening Baptist churches (baptist.org.uk);
- COVID-19 Advice on the Conduct of Public Worship (churchofengland.org).
- What is keeping people away? (churchanswers.com);
- Back to Church: How 5 Congregations Reopened Last Sunday (thegospelcoalition.org);
- Church, Don’t Let Coronavirus Divide You (thegospelcoalition.org);
- When Pastors and Pews Disagree on Churches Reopening (christianitytoday.com).