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Last updated 5th May 2021

Coronavirus Compendium of advice and resources

About this compendium and this page (29/04/2021)

A message from the Coronavirus Task Group

This compendium of advice and resources is generated and managed by the Diocesan Coronavirus Task Group, chaired by Bishop Philip. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: The Task Group ensures this compendium is updated as regularly as possible. Dates after headings indicate when most recent updates to the sections have taken place. More recently we have also introduced a 'current situation' section near the top of the compendium. This summarises the latest position but is not exhaustive. It should still be read in conjunction with all available information here and elsewhere on this website, alongside information we have linked to on other websites; including the national Church of England website. 

Please bear with us however. Often events are fast-moving and sometimes the latest information may take a bit longer to appear here. However the 'go to' place for the very latest news is always the regular Coronavirus Task Group Briefing sent on email and also available on this website here. 

All information promoted in those emails is the most up to date we can give you and will find its way into this compendium as soon as we can transfer it.

One more important thing regarding dates: If you see a recent date nearby to a date which is earlier, this does not mean the advice is not relevant; rather it means it hasn't had to change in the period that has elapsed since first being added. We will always remove anything not relevant asap so, by definition, anything on this page or linked to from this page is current. 

Staying in touch (23/12/2020) 

The Diocese still has a dedicated email address which is constantly monitored: The address is coronavirus@blackburn.anglican.org

Please email if:

  • You want advice or clarification
  • You are an Incumbent, Curate or Assistant/Associate Priest (particulalry those aged under 70) and you are unwell or self-isolating (with the date you started self-isolating) 
  • You have something to share about good practice in your parish
  • You have concerns and worries and need pastoral support or prayer

Until further notice a regular email briefing is being sent at least weekly (and sometimes more than once a week) by the Coronavirus Task Group to all clergy and licensed lay ministers, church wardens, PCC secretaries, PCC treasurers and Vision Champions. This is our main method of communication to parishes about the pandemic and parish response to it.

The briefing will be supplemented by occasional letters direct from Bishop's House when necessary. Parish Update ebulletin was suspended in March but has now returned - appearing every two weeks on a Wednesday.

Parish Update will contain all other news and information that is helpful to parishes. 

Meanwhile there are also regular weekly messages from the Bishops and Archdeacons. They can be viewed on our Diocesan YouTube channel

The current situation (01/04/2021) 

There is a helpful up to date summary guide on all current permitted activities here on The Church of England website

  • The Coronavirus Task Group continues to issue briefings to parishes. You can find all task group briefings here
  • From January 5, Lancashire was part of the national Lockdown 3.0 and we are now moving towards an easing of lockdown restrictions in gradual stages ... see more on this via the gov.uk link two points below.
  • Some parishes had closed but new advice has now been issued by the local Directors of Public Health in Lancashire about the reopening of places of worship (see below). 
  • In the coming weeks and months, with the advent of the vaccine and the continuing rollout, national restrictions will be very gradually lifted more broadly in a series of stages. You can read more about the Government plans here on www.gov.uk (where you can find an onward link to the full roadmap out of lockdown. 
  • We could continue to see local flare-ups in particular localities in the coming weeks and you can keep an eye on local rates here.
  • A helpful suite of resources has been made available by Public Health England to assist people in their thinking about how we emerge from this lockdown. They can be found here.

Although there has been conflicting local versus national messaging, currently (even with national lockdown) public worship can continue, in line with the Government guidance, if parishes choose to do so. Guidnce for singing has been updated - see below. 

Public worship 

This section of 'the current situation' is where we will post the very latest information we have about public worship as the national situation begins to become more dynamic. There is also further information about public worship in a separate section below. 

  • The local Directors of Public Health in Lancashire issued a change in advice on March 1 regarding places of worship. You can find their letter here.
  • They want to reinforce that this is not a return to ‘normal’ worshipping practices but more a suggestion that the levels of risk seen in January are starting to abate. There should still be strict adherence to the guidelines around social distancing, hand washing or sanitising and wearing of masks indoors.
  • In light of the letter, the vaccine roll out and following the announcement that schools were to fully reopen on March 8, the dispensation given by the Bishop of Blackburn which allowed for the closure of churches to public worship ended with a three week grace period and now the current position is that churches staying closed must seek specific permission from Bishop Julian. This is done in writing (by email is sufficient) and will be considered on a case by case basis. Without such permission a church building cannot legally remain closed to public worship from this date.
  • Please note: Any decision to reopen after a time of closure should be taken alongside local church leadership and following a thorough risk assessment. If you are unsure about what to do, or need any assistance in making your decision, please contact your Area Dean, an Archdeacon or contact the coronavirus email address and someone will be in touch with you. 
  • Singing - updated advice on singing can be found below. 
  • If you have any questions about the above, or anything else, please do continue to use our advice compendium and email the coronavirus email using coronavirus@blackburn.anglican.org

Some common sense advice about public worship

  • We should be encouraged that those who make the decisions about our public health and safety clearly now think that it is possible for congregations to worship safely in their buildings once more and, as we considered their previous advice to close for public worship carefully, we must now consider this advice and act safely but with some confidence.
  • It is important that we don’t lose our focus on other areas of ministry at this time, especially pastoral care of our people, reaching out in love and service to those who are struggling and praying for our nation.
  • Please do continue to maintain strict adherence to the guidelines around social distancing, hand washing or sanitising and the wearing of masks indoors. While it may be tempting to relax a bit as restrictions begin to ease, we should continue to model good practice as we have done across the Diocese throughout the pandemic. 
  • There may be some church buildings which have been unused for some time. If so please remember to run taps, flush toilets and ventilate the building for a couple of hours before allowing people back in.
  • It is still very important that people do not gather either before or after the service and you will see that the Directors of Public Health mention this specifically as an area of concern.
  • Continue to monitor the situation and ensure that guidance is being rigidly followed and standards maintained. Those who had suspended will need to remember that Christians are called to gather and will need to judge when it is safe to re-start in relation to the timetable outlined above. 
  • It is important of course to act safely and to follow the guidance closely. Please be assiduous (as you already are) in adhering closely to the spirit and the letter of the guidance. Times like this remind us of the critical importance of worship which is not a leisure activity to be switched on and off, but the way in which we access the grace of God in Jesus Christ through Word and Sacrament.
  • Some will still not wish to attend a church building as restrictions ease and many churches will continue to offer local streamed worship and don't forget to subscribe to our Diocesan YouTube channel. There you will also find weekly messages from one of our Bishops and Archdeacons and a weekly service from one of our parishes every single week. Links and information related to each new message and service are also posted to the news section of this website as they go 'live' on YouTube. 
  • Please also do not overlook the power of a simple message sent by post or a quick phone call to comfort and support at this time. 
  • Remember too, there is still national online weekly worship available and daily audio prayer services via the Time to Pray app and podcast, and the Daily Hope telephone line for any who are unable to access the internet. 
  • Clergy support: Along with other professionals, the pressure on clergy remains considerable. Things will remain hard so please tap into and use to the full the networks that we have for support. If you are lacking in such networks or feeling that the pressure is really getting to you, please contact a Bishop, an Archdeacon, an Area Dean or send an email – only two of us see the Coronavirus email address which means that confidences can be kept.

Other points

  • Covid-19 Testing: Lateral Flow Tests are now available free to every household and can be ordered here. They can also be collected from pharmacies. Some of you have been asking for a steer on when it is wisest for clergy to take a test. Our suggestion would be to take one on Friday (prior to Sunday but with sufficient time to arrange cover should a follow-up PCR test be needed) and again on Tuesday. But obviously this should be adapted to what works best for you.
  • We will advise further as restrictions begin to ease but for now meetings such as PCCs should continue to be carried out on an online conferencing platform such as Zoom. Likewise house-groups. There should be no physical meetings other than for worship for now.
  • APCMs ... Our advice is to hold these in late as May as you can. This will increase the likelihood of a safe physical gathering being possible. If anything changes and they cannot happen in person at the end of May you will be contacted by the Dicoesan team
  • Pastoral visiting may continue as it constitutes work and clergy are designated as key workers in this regard. However, only visit in person where pastoral circumstances means that there really is no alternative. More on pastoral visiting below (click the link above in the grey panel to go straight to it). 
  • HSE spot checks on churches have grown as part of general HSE work. See below again for more on this. 
  • If you have changed worship arrangements please remember to keep your online communications and ‘A Church Near You’ entry up to date. Our worship is public so even if it has gone online we must continue to help the public to access it.
  • And if you have been open but do decide to close for worship for any reason in the next period of time, please still inform Bishop Julian either by emailing him direct or by sending a note to the Coronavirus Task Group. The Registry has emphasised the importance of Bishop Julian having this information.

Occasional Offices 

The following summarises the current position and will be updated as restrictions begin to be lifted. Although we are colloquially saying that public worship has been suspended in some churches, what in fact has been dispensed with is the Sunday service requirements under Canons B11 and B14. 

On that basis, churches which have suspended worship can open for occasional offices and time limited service such as funerals (or weddings and baptisms in exceptional circumstances) can take place. 

However, if you have suspended public worship on the basis of risk, then we would recommend you perform a new risk assessment which is specific to the service in question and discuss the results of this with the families involved. Your pastoral skills will once again be called upon and are greatly appreciated.

In Lockdown 3.0 a current summary for occasional offices remains as follows ... 

  • Attendance at funerals is restricted to 30
  • Weddings may only go ahead in exceptional circumstances and attendance is now restricted to six people. 
  • Baptisms may go ahead under the same restrictions as any other act of public worship.

April 12 is the next key stage in the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown and this will impact on churches in the following way:

  • Weddings. From that date the maximum attendance will go from 6 to 15 guests.

Updated guidance on weddings can be found here. 

Recent news coverage has highlighted the pain felt by numerous families who have been bereaved during the lockdown when funeral ministry has been so restricted.

We are aware also of the cost of this ministry for clergy and others involved in funeral ministry.

Whilst there are no easy answers, now may be the time to start to plan memorial services or services of remembrance in the late summer or early autumn. The Church of England is intending to provide resources for this.

More on occasional offices below. Click heading in the grey panel above to go straight to it

More generally in Lockdown 3.0 

  • Residents should stay at home, unless they have a ‘reasonable excuse’ such as work, education, outdoor exercise and purchasing essential goods
  • All non-essential shops, hairdressers, nail bars and indoor entertainment venues must close
  • Gyms and indoor swimming pools, indoor sports courts and dance studios must close
  • You cannot meet other people indoors or in your garden, unless you live with them or they are part of your support bubble. You can meet with one person not in your household or support bubble in a public space for exercise.
  • People should not leave their local areas or travel abroad, except for limited reasons (including work and education)

HSE spot checks

There have been many more reports of spot-checks on churches by the Health and Safety Executive. We are proud to say that every single one has gone well, but Churches are obviously in the spotlight, so don’t let standards slip when it comes to measures such as face coverings, hand washing and distancing.

Choirs and singing indoors

Whilst it is good that our churches are returning to public worship, we all desperately miss singing and the joyful sound of our choirs.

Sadly here the news is still not good overall because the way in which viral particles are transmitted through the air makes singing a high risk activity. But there have been soe recent changes that make a few more things possible ...

Please note the following:

  • There is still no date for the return of congregational singing. This is applicable both to indoor and outdoor worship.
  • As of March 28 the rigid restriction on singing indoors which was limited to one singer (or three where essential) is now relaxed to be ‘as few singers as possible. So INDOORS small groups of singers will be allowed to perform, or rehearse for performance, only where essential to an act of communal worship. This should be limited to as few singers as possible, with social distancing being maintained at all times. Communal singing should not take place. Singers should be well distanced from members of congregations, ideally behind plexi-glass.
  • Choirs may not sing in public worship and should not rehearse. The earliest possible date for the return of choir rehearsals seems to be April 12th but watch this space.
  • Professional musicians may rehearse and record as long as no congregation is present but must follow the performing arts guidelines closely.

The full guidance can be seen here.

Please do continue to be mindful of how this can be done as safely as possible, and we must also recognise the Church’s role in modelling best practice; the sound of congregational singing is sure to turn a few heads!

The RSCM offers the clearest and most up to date advice and it has updated their guidance this week based on current legislation. This is the RSCM webpage.

Meanwhile we are still awaiting further broader guidance from the national church following scientific research.

There is also guidance on singing in the FAQ section of the national CofE website (see link further below) and this allows for a keyboard player and a single vocalist but permits a maximum of three musicians in exceptional circumstances.

Outdoor services

In the grounds or the outside space of a place of worship: When communal worship takes place outdoors, the congregation may join in with singing and should follow the principles set out in the performing arts guidance.

This includes ensuring that congregation members follow social distancing rules. Social contact limits apply, meaning that households, support bubbles or groups of 2 must not mingle. Communal singing in other public open spaces should not take place.

The full guidance for singing can be seen here.

These services should take place on church property, and not on local common land such as parks or beaches etc. This means that services on top of hills, parades through the village or sunrise services on the beach are, very sadly, not possible this year. A sunrise service or Easter vigil in the church carpark is, however, possible.

Lancashire County Council is in ongoing touch with Government and the Directors of Public Health over this issue and we are grateful to them for their interest and concern for the Christian community.

Schools

Both primary and secondary schools were open to children of key workers and vulnerable children throughout the lockdown. However, March 8 brought a big change with the return of all staff and pupils full time. Head Teachers and their staff continue to particularly need our prayers and support at this time.

At the point of the first week back for many of our schools after a long period of time in which lessons have been delivered to pupils’ homes the sense of relief amongst many parents was almost tangible!

Bishop Julian has prepared a video message for schools on their return which can be found here.

Holy Week and Easter

We hope to be able to provide more advice in future weeks about these key times in the Christian calendar. In the meantime, the Church of England has provided a useful document to help you think through some of the questions which you might have.

Thank you letter from HM Government to Faith Groups (11/02/2021)

Two Departments of Government have jointly written an encouraging letter to thank faith leaders and to provide a great deal of helpful information in one place.

We have added it to our coronavirus compendium here to read now and/or to download and you will find many helpful links within it. 

National Church of England advice (regularly updated) (29/04/2021)

The Church of England has a dedicated Coronavirus area of its website that is updated regularly. Follow this link to read it. 

There is a helpful up to date summary guide on all current permitted activities here on The Church of England website

Please note the guidance on the Church of England website is drawn from new and more detailed Government guidance which can be found here for those who want to see the whole document.

There is updated advice and guidance available here from the CofE  regarding Ash Wednesday and Holy Week. 

Athough restrictions will begin to ease soon we are still in lockdown and the current advice in our compendium is based on that. Even in lockdown public worship can currently continue. You can find all task group briefings here and see the 'latest situation' section above for latest advice about public worship. 

As a record of the ongoing situation and following the publication of the Government's Covid-19 Winter Plan, including permission for the resumption of public worship there was a statement from the Bishop of London

National guidance and documents (01/04/2021)

On the national Church website via this link you will find a suite of links and documents on key topics, regularly updated. They cover everything below (and note, we have also linked directly to the topic of each heading below too, for immediate ease of access via our own website on future visits).

Please also note these documents are updated regularly by the national church as quickly as possible following latest announcements. Some of these documents (such as permitted activities under the tier system) are applicable only when operating outside of any full national lockdown that may be current at the time. These are marked with *.

All links are external to this website but should be 'live'. Occasionally when a document is updated the link is changed rather than kept for the new version. If you spot a link that is no longer working please email the task group email and we will investigate and re-establish the link asap. 

National resources (23/12/2020)

National FAQs (29/04/2021)

On the national website coronavirus landing page you will also find answers to a whole host of FAQs which are regularly updated. They are too numerous to list in entirety here so visit the FAQ section directly by clicking here to browse them all. Please read this section and other links within it with current restrictions in mind. 

The key questions answered include ... 

  • Prayer and worship, including face coverings, live performances/singing, Holy Communion, liturgical resources and much more.
  • Life events: Funerals, weddings, baptisms and ordinations.
  • Community support work, eg foodbanks, blood donations and night shelters.
  • Fabric and building work, including building access; cleaning churches and giving access to builders for maintenance. 
  • Finance and governance, including PCCs, AGMS and giving financially to the church MUST be carried out by on an online conferencing platform such as Zoom.
  • General advice including for risk assessments; pointers for those at additional risk; safeguarding advice in a remote working context; collating 'test and trace' data; for church hall use; holding non-worship events in church buildings and much more. 

Public worship guidance (24/02/2020)

For the very latest guidance please now see 'The current situation' section above. 

Advice may change. If you are unsure of anything or want to make sure you have the latest advice always review the information via the links provided on this page first. 

The House of Bishops provided a response to the government guidelines when they were first announced and have continued to do so. If you are in any doubt please check the national CofE guidance page. The most recent updates and notifications of CofE advice will appear at the top of this page.

Meanwhile the latest risk assessment template from the national church (version 9 currently as of April 1) can be downloaded here. We will continue to ensure we link here to the most recent version available. 

Please note, there may be times when local or national government advice is amended very quickly to respond to the local situation. In those situations the advice for churches may change accordingly. Please always check the Coronavirus Task Group briefings in the first instance for the latest information (just in case there is a 'lag' between issuing the briefing and transferring the information to the compendium). Briefings are sent to parishes and are also placed on the website here. Read all information issued carefully, noting the following ... 

  • The words ‘should’ and ‘must’ are used very carefully. Should means you are strongly advised. Must means that it has the force of law.

Remember that the Government has placed churches in a privileged position by allowing us to break the general rules which do not allow more than two households to occupy the same internal space, so it is important to respect the guidance that allows this.

  • Note: The lifting of the prohibition on worship in December (as previously after the first lockdown) brought to an end the legal dispensation concerning the obligation to offer Sunday worship within each Benefice and this canonical duty therefore returned once again following December 2. 

Guidance for churches on work with children and young people, (01/04/2021)

This is a really complicated area and it is not surprising that we have had quite so many enquiries at the Coronavirus email address.

In relation to 'in person' activities, what is permissable currently is set out in this handy document

For the very latest advice in the above context you can also visit the FAQs section on the national Church of England website. 

  • From March 29 groups of no more than 15 children, young people and parents who are part of organised groups such as Sunday Schools and Mother and Toddler groups may gather for OUTDOOR events and activities. Children under 5 and organisers are not included in this number.
  • Care should be taken to ensure that attendees maintain social distance. Such events must be on church property.
  • From April 12 at the earliest parishes can re-commence children’s ministry indoors. Again care should be taken with social distancing and face coverings are recommended.
  • There is a really helpful and detailed document from the National Youth Agency which can be read here. Please note especially the guidance from page 15 and onwards.

April 12 was the next key stage in the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown and this will impact on children's activities in the following way:

  • Activities for children and young people can re-start from this date and can take place indoors. The number limit for children is that set by your local risk assessment. No more than 15 adults should be present at any time.

Meanwhile see this section of our Coronavirus compendium for a selection of great digital resources to support work with children and young people. And the Board of Education's website and social media pages have lots more resources to explore as well. 

Bell ringing (01/04/2021)

For the latest advice (most recently updated on March 26, 2021) click here to go to the coronavirus advice page on Central Council of Church Bell Ringers website.

Guidance for the safe use of multi-purpose community facilities (01/04/2021)

The government has provided extensive guidance about multi-purpose community facilities eg community centres, village halls and (by definition) church halls, outside of lockdown periods. The guidance was most recently updated on February 5, 2021 and everything you need is here

The government states that the communal nature of these facilities also makes them places that are vulnerable to the spread of the coronavirus. 

This information is for those managing multi-use community facilities. It signposts to relevant guidance on a range of different activities that can take place in these spaces, in line with the government’s roadmap to ease the existing measures to tackle COVID-19.

April 12 is the next key stage in the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown and this will impact on community facilities in the following way:

  • Indoor Leisure. The re-opening of indoor leisure activities may mean increased use of church halls. It would be wise to run water and flush lavatories if the hall has been unused for some time. And please review your risk assessment and ensure Covidsecure cleaning as before.

Community ministry (24/08/2020)

“Learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.” Isaiah 1:17

Serving the community is one of the core parts of ministry. But how we provide such ministry must change, at least on a temporary basis, during the pandemic in order that we can protect the most vulnerable in our society.

Visit the 'Resources: Community Projects' section' of our website for more advice and guidance and also see the FAQs section of the national church website for the latest advice on supporting community projects during the pandemic. 

Local lockdowns (03/09/2020)

An assessment of how local lockdown measures map on deaneries and parishes can be found here

DBF managed properties (24/08/2020)

To increase social distancing and limit contact we introduced a new protocol earlier this year to help manage and maintain our repairs and maintenance service. Please follow the link to the this page in the 'Resources: For Clergy' section of the website for more information.

Board of Education digital resources for children and young people (29/04/2021)

The Board of Education's website and social media pages have lots of resources for children, teenagers, for RE and for collective and family worship which are continually being updated. 

A small current selection are highlighted here, courtesy of Lindsay Wright, Digital Resources Officer.

Youth Work State of Mind podcast

The Youth Work State of Mind Podcast is for anyone involved or interested in Christian Youth Ministry. Expect some fun, games, challenges and practical discussion as we dive into everything the ocean of youth ministry has to offer.

To keep up to date with the podcast and for ways to interact with each episode, follow us on Instagram.

You've Got the Power' Holiday Club Activity eBook

This activity eBook is a fully downloadable purchase. It contains six weeks' worth of activities for children to complete so they can earn six special badges. It could be a great gift to your families who are in transition from primary to secondary if you're not able to give them a physical gift.

Find out more hereYou've Got the Power follows six incredible children in the Bible, and through fun activities and challenges we can learn what they did, discover new skills for ourselves and celebrate that we've all got the power to do amazing things for God no matter what our age.

Youth Camp from Home

Youth Camp has gone online with a range of resources and materials to create a youth camp from home for young people. The pack will contain ‘how to’ videos and pre-recorded talks so you can explore the Bible verse Micah 6:8, PLUS activity plans and an interactive scavenger hunt. More details can be found on the Board of Education website

For toddlers…

Many parishes are starting to re-establish toddler groups and prayer is vital in this task. The Toddler Group National Month of Prayer is coming up in June. The Board of Education have supported this initiative for a number of years by posting on our social media platforms every day in June a series of creative prayer activities aimed at under 5s which can be used both in toddler groups and by families at home. For more details Blackburn Diocese Board of Education | Facebook


Occasional offices (weddings, baptisms and funerals) (29/04/2021)

Follow the links below to the very latest advice: 

Occasional Offices 

In Lockdown 3.0 a current summary for occasional offices remains as follows ... 

  • Attendance at funerals is restricted to 30
  • Baptisms may go ahead under the same restrictions as any other act of public worship.

April 12 was the next key stage in the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown and this impacted on churches in the following way:

  • Weddings. From that date the maximum attendance rose from 6 to 15 guests.

Updated guidance on weddings can be found here. 

Meanwhile, the Liturgical Commission has produced additional resources which can be found by visiting the Resources: For Clergy section of our website.

It is possible that several of the family will be in self isolation during the initial days after a COVID19 death and possibly at the time of the funeral. 

Further pastoral support information can be found by visiting this section in the Resources: For Clergy section of our website.

Recent news coverage has highlighted the pain felt by numerous families who have been bereaved during the lockdown when funeral ministry has been so restricted.

We are aware also of the cost of this ministry for clergy and others involved in funeral ministry.

Whilst there are no easy answers, now may be the time to start to plan memorial services or services of remembrance in the late summer or early autumn. The Church of England is intending to provide resources for this.

Decisions on whether to offer occasional offices (and the socially distanced capacity of each church) will be made by each church/parish leadership taking account of the context and guidance. We appreciate there will therefore be differences in what can be offered in each church.

Banns of Marriage

We are already aware of a number of instances where weddings or the reading of Banns has been disrupted. This is yet another instance where your pastoral skills will be called upon and much appreciated.

Banns cannot be read via livestream or recording. It must be during an act of public worship and in person. If you have time to read them after the 2 December then you can do so when public worship has re-commenced.

If you do not have time to complete them after we recommence then the legal means by which we can complete these preliminary checks is by applying for a Common License. This has the benefit of lasting three months so if weddings cannot go ahead immediately in December then there is time.

The registry has also indicated that they are prepared to arrange a new licence after three months free of charge should it be necessary. There is a cost to the license and the reduced cost is £152 and the couple will need to bring their ID documents and swear oaths before a Surrogate.

If the Banns have not been completed the couple should have the Banns Fee returned. Please contact the Bishop’s Chaplain (chaplain@bishopofblackburn.org.uk) should you require the name of your closest surrogate or if you have any further questions.

Parish finances (23/12/2020)

We are aware that many parish clergy, churchwardens,  treasurers and PCC Members (as charity trustees) will be concerned about the effect of prolonged church closures on parish finances. 

Please go to the COVID19 page in the Resources: Parish Finances section of our website for the latest advice and guidance.

Call to Pray and Give

Meanwhile the Diocese collectively participated in the 'Call to Pray and Give' from November 12. This was a Diocesan-led initiative to boost parish funds at the end of this very challenging year, to enable current levels of stipendiary mission and ministry to continue.

People were encouraged to bring gifts to their first Sunday church service after the second lockdown, on December 6. 

From a recent Coronavirus Task Group briefing: Despite the pandemic playing havoc with our plans, the response to the Call to Pray and Give initiative has been powerfully encouraging. With responses still coming in, so far we know that £250,000+ has been donated in one off gifts to Parishes across the Diocese.

This is a very precious sign of the how much people value the ministry of the local church. If you were unable to share in the initiative in November and December there is nothing to stop individual parishes doing something similar in the New Year. Most of the Call and Give resources on this page are useable at any time and they will remain available on this page to support parishes. 

A free Church fundraising toolkit

The Ecclesiastical Insurance Group has launched a new addition to its fundraising hub called ‘Fundraising in a Box.’ This includes:

  • Step-by-step guides to help you navigate the uniquely complex world of church fundraising
  • Clear guidance and steps to make your churches fundraising journey easier and more successful
  • Support for you and your church volunteers whether experienced in fundraising or learning on the go.

The toolkit ‘Fundraising in a Box' can be pre ordered by visiting this website. Once ordered, the toolkit will be posted to the churches within the next couple of months.

Parish governance (27/11/2020)

There are many implications for how we maintain and enable our institutional life to continue nationally, as a diocese and in parish.

Please go to the COVID19 page in the Resources: Parish administration and governance section of our website for the latest advice and guidance.

Pastoral visiting (30/12/2020) 

Pastoral support for individuals is an important part of role of the church. There have been a number of questions about this to the coronavirus email but the advice makes it clear that pastoral visiting is work and thus permissible during the lockdown.

Take good care when doing so and there is clear advice about how to conduct visits safely. You can find all this advice here.

For more information and advice on pastoral visiting go to the  COVID19 page on the Resources: For Clergy section of our website.

Prayer and liturgy resources (05/04/2021)

In response to the Coronavirus outbreak, prayer and liturgy resources continue to be produced and made available here on the national CofE website.  

In addition, there is an Order of Service for prayer and worship at home made available each week here and produced by Rev. Neil Kelley from St Laurence's in Chorley. 

We also have prayers available to be said by a family or carer at end of life. Click here for those. 

Safeguarding (including domestic abuse risk) (24/08/2020)

As we consider the changes taking place in society as a result of the pandemic one thing does not change; the need to consider best practice in safeguarding is as important now as it has ever been. 

Social and digital media use, including supporting congregations and people exploring faith online during the pandemic (27/11/2020)

Our Being Witnesses Manager, Joy Rushton and the Diocesan Communications Manager, Ronnie Semley, collaborated on a report looking broadly at digital engagement across the Diocese during the first six months of lockdown. 

The report, seen by the Bishop's Leadership Team and Bishop's Council, also includes a specific section on the digital work of the Board of Education, written by Lindsay Wright, the Board's Digital Media and Resources Lead.

The report examined some of the wonderful digital engagement that has been happening across the Diocese; examines levels of digital engagement in more detail and looks to the future. Read it here. 


As reflected in the report linked to above, it has been good to watch how social media platforms have been used in new and exciting ways to engage with communities.

Social media can, as we know, also be used for harm and we would want to advise against any use of social media which may promote upset, angst or discord at this time. 

During lockdown you may have been producing services on YouTube (live or recorded); you might have been holding all kinds of meetings on FaceTime, Skype, Zoom etc and you may have discovered new ways of 'being church' in the digital space. 

We have all kinds of advice to help you be as effective as you want to be when it comes to digital outreach. Via this COVID19 digital resources page in the Resources: Communications section of our website you will find the following (with more being added):

  • Local and national digital resources
  • Digital training material (including a brand new course developed by retired BBC Producer Norman Ivison who attends St James' Clitheroe)
  • Social media best practice tips compiled by Ronnie Semley, Diocesan Communications Manager and further social media insights from Lindsay Wright, Digital Media and Resources Lead in the Diocesan Board of Education
  • Using technology and copyright advice

As church buildings begin to reopen after the second lockdown, it is also worth considering what provision you wish to make available online to enable those members of your congregation who may still be shielding or unable to join in person. 

Many churches have reported substantial numbers of people engaging online who may only come at Christmas, Easter or not at all.

This has certainly been the experience when looked at across the national church and anecdotally we are also hearing reports of this happening across our own Diocese.

So how can they be included in ongoing activities? The Opening the Doors project is the national Church's initiative providing resources to help encourage people into churches, when it is safe to do so of course.

You can also read more advice from the national Digital Team here

And remember to follow the link to the COVID19 digital resources page in the Resources: Communications section of our website for further advice. 

Test and Trace (27/11/2020)

The latest national Church of England advice is here for churches to assist in keeping records of service attendees and visitors as part of the government 'test and trace' initiative.

Templates:

  • Data consent form here
  • Privacy notice here
  • On-line privacy notice here
  • Place of work 'action cards' from Public Health England are also available for download here

Support for mental health and wellbeing (14/01/2021)

Across the period of the pandemic your Coronavirus Task Group has sent an assortment of advice to parishes about how to support others, as well as being kind to yourself and looking after your own mental health and general wellbeing. 

We have now gathered all this advice together for downloading into this one helpful section here in our coronavirus compendium. 

'Covid Care' ... this article is by Rev. Andy Meeson. In it he looks at dealing with fatigue, isolation, stress, selfishness, conflict and despondency. 

Download Covid Care pdf

'Creating a new routine' ... by Rev. Susan Salt. Looking at ways to change your daily routine to adapt to the pandemic. 

Download Creating a new routine pdf

Mental Health reflections from The Church of England ... advice from the national church; also includes links to other websites includes NHS guidance and the Mental Health Foundation

Download Mental Health reflections pdf

Mental Wellbeing and Coronavirus ... by Rev. Susan Salt. Looking at how our state of wellbeing – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual – is not only dependent upon whether or not we catch Coronavirus, but also very much related to its associated and ongoing effects in our lives. 

Download Mental Wellbeing and Coronavirus pdf

Stay Healthy in Mind, Body and Spirit ... speaks for itself. By Rev. Lesley Hinchcliffe, this will support you in a variety of ways - including suggested exercises (with pictures to demonstrate technique).