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Last updated 1st July 2020

COVID19 Advice for clergy including property and well being

This page is a summary of some of the advice published in the bulletins produced by the Coronavirus Task Group 

Repairs and maintenance of property managed by DBF (26/06/2020)

(Only of relevance to those occupying DBF managed properties such as vicarages and curates’ houses.) 

To increase and maintain social distancing and to limit contact, we will continue to use with the following protocol to help manage and maintain our repairs and maintenance service. 
All reported repairs will be categorised and prioritised as follows; 
If you can smell gas or have a concern regarding a gas leak, please contact National Gas Emergencies immediately on 0800 111 999. 

  1. Emergency (such as a severe water leak, major electrical failure (not a power cut), exposed electrical wires, no heating or hot water).
  2. Urgent (such as blocked drains, water leak which can be contained, minor electrical faults). 
  3. Routine (such as low priority internal and external repairs). 
  4. Quinquennial Inspection work.  
  5. Planned improvement and programmed work.  

To balance our Contractors safety along with our responsibilities to protect our staff, occupants and also to prevent the spread of the virus we will be assessing all reported repairs to gauge the priority of the work and whether we need to instruct our contractors to attend. 

  • Where possible we will ask our Contractors to make contact with the building occupant with a view to providing over the phone advice to resolve the problem. This may work in certain circumstances such as where a boiler may need resetting or where an electrical circuit breaker has tripped out. This may also work as a temporary measure until such a time as an appropriate repair can be carried out. 
  • Where a site visit is required, we will need our Contractors to make direct contact with the building occupant on the day of visit, to check and ensure that the appointment can still go ahead. This will be providing that the Contractor and the building occupants are not showing any signs of the Covid-19 virus. 
  • Where the appointment does take place we will need our Contractors to follow the Government's most current advice for social distancing protocols, using hand sanitiser and washing of hands for a minimum of 20 seconds with soap and water before entering and upon leaving the appointment. Where it is felt necessary our Contractors may decide to wear a face mask and disposable gloves.
  • If the building occupants do not want the appointment to proceed, the appointment can be rearranged accordingly to suit the situation. This information should be conveyed to the Property Department so the information can be logged onto the Property System

Looking after yourself as we leave lockdown (01/07/2020)

These continue to be unsettling times, but we are people of faith and whilst it is right for us to lament all that has been taken away, we are also called to continue to seek God in both the familiar and routine as well as in new ways in the days and weeks to come. 

Some suggestions

  • Everyone’s experience of lockdown will be different.  Listen thoughtfully to yourself and others.  Acknowledge the “moral trauma” of being forced to act in ways you would not normally choose to because of the restrictions imposed, such as the restrictions around conducting a funeral.  If needed, bring those areas of pain to a colleague or your spiritual advisor.
  • Accept the restrictions imposed by the government and the national church around public worship and ministry in general, even though they may feel contradictory or illogical to you.
  • Be honest about what is possible and not possible for you in your context and try and avoid comparing yourself or your parish to others.  Embrace what you are able to do rather than lament what you cannot do.
  • As the lockdown restrictions ease, begin to establish new routines. Do not try and reproduce what you did prior to lockdown, rather reflect prayerfully on the last few months and ask God what are the things you need to take up again and what can be laid down.
  • Be realistic about what you can do and how long things will take to re-establish: go at the pace that feels comfortable to you in your context. Involve others in decisions around re-opening churches, re-starting public worship, meeting pastoral and practical needs and other parish activities. See this as an opportunity to review and renew as well as re-start.
  • Build on the prayer and care for your community that has developed over the last few months and establish a routine of prayer and reflection that ministers to yourself as well as others.
  • As activities restart make sure you continue to incorporate time that feeds your spirit in addition to prayer for the world, nation, community and parish.  Seek patterns of prayer and quiet time that suit you, that support you rather than constrain or drain you. 
  • Give attention to yourself, your family and to your friends.  Be honest and seek professional help if you or members of your family are feeling anxious, fearful or angry.  This has been a time that has stretched even the most experienced professionals and you may need a safe space to explore what you have experienced or witnessed. 
  • Continue to limit the places you get information from and the time you spend getting that information.  A lot of information circulating online can be inaccurate, misleading, or unhelpful in your local context. Consider taking social media sabbaticals?
  • Continuing or starting a journal can be helpful.  Re-read your thoughts and prayers and ideas. Dare to dream some dreams about how to use the lessons learnt in your community as the lockdown eases.
  • Remember to take leave and create some space where you can relax and catch up with family and friends. Think about planning holidays now – even if the location cannot be fixed yet.
  • Think about how you will maintain good diet/exercise routines that you have established or think about how to establish them as you start to take up more parish duties?

Think about the Parish (23/03/2020)

Is there a list of important contact numbers and emails of those you need to inform easily to hand that either you or another member of your household can use, if you fall ill or need to self-isolate.  (Having them in your phone or computer) may not be sufficient if you are so ill that you cannot access them. 

Now is the time to set up an informal clergy / licenced lay workers / church officer clusters with neighbouring parishes so that you can call on each other for help and support.  Linking with up to 4 or 5 neighbouring churches will provide some resilience as well as support. Such clusters may not necessarily fall within deaneries but may be more geographically based.  Once you have established the cluster Inform your area dean.  If needed inform both Area Deans if your cluster flows across a deanery boundary. In your cluster:

  • Exchange key contact details for each other and consider setting up a What’s app group or similar to provide a means of communication and support
  • Agree how you might work collaboratively, especially if there is a significant increase in the number of funerals
  • Exchange key information particularly around how the parish conducts funerals and how you manage your churchyard if open – in case your churchwardens are unable to help a visiting minister
  • Think about any key individuals (such as those approaching the end of life) or other ministerial activity (such as foodbanks) which needs ongoing ministerial support and what needs to be done if you are unable to provide that support – who will step in – how will they know to step in and what will you expect of them when they do step in
  • Consider what support might be needed for your church schools and other key care providers in the cluster and how care might be shared