CORONAVIRUS UPDATE 3 24th March 2020 FROM THE ARCHDEACON’S OFFICE
(Previous updates have been emailed: Update 1 on 20th March 2020 and Update 2 on 23rd March 2020)
Dear Clergy, Churchwardens, LLMs, Deanery Lay Chairs and Bishop’s Council members
I enclose a letter from the Archbishops and Bishops which sets out the Church of England’s response to the Prime Minister’s broadcast last night. Please do read it.
In relation to the six summary points;
1.’Our church buildings are closed for public worship and for private prayer’, without exception.
There will no longer be services, live streaming or recordings from the church building, even by clergy on their own. Clergy and churchwardens in a vacancy please adapt and print off the enclosed poster to put up at every church in your benefice as soon as possible.
2. ‘There can be no weddings in church buildings until further notice’.
We appreciate that for those couples who had decided to go ahead in spite of the restrictions, this news will be particularly difficult and that pastoral conversations with clergy will be important.
3. ‘Emergency baptisms can take place in hospital or at home, though subject to strict hygienic precautions and physical distancing as far as possible.’
If clergy receive a request for an emergency baptism for someone in hospital, check with the hospital chaplaincy team as the are the ones who should take a lead on the baptism. If the emergency baptism is requested in a home, please consult me, as Archdeacon, before accepting the request.
‘Funerals can only happen at the Crematorium or at the graveside. Only immediate family members can attend (if the crematorium allows) – that is, spouse or partner, parents and children, keeping their distance in the prescribed way.’
As a result, I will be writing to crematoria staff, as I did to funeral directors, to brief them on the information in the Archbishops and Bishops letter.
5. ‘Live streaming of services (or pre-recorded messages) will be more important than ever and is still permissible from homes.’
In relation to this, please refer to national guidance and the resources that are on the national and diocesan website. If you are intending to live stream from home Richard Ellis, the Diocesan Director of Communications, will be sending out issues for you to consider. However, please do not feel that you must offer live streaming if this is not a natural communication channel for you or you do not have access to suitable technology.
6. Should our Foodbank continue?
We will be following up with particular churches who have a Foodbank whether it is possible for them to continue to operate, in the current circumstances.
Is it still the case that clergy and Readers/LLMs over 70 or with an underlying health condition should stop taking funerals?
Yes. There is an expectation that clergy in other local areas will help to take funerals.
Will parsonage repairs be undertaken?
Only emergency repairs will be undertaken so please do contact Ian Greaves as usual if this applies.
Clergy health status
We want to make sure that you and your family are supported during the Coronavirus outbreak.
So that we can do this in the best way possible, we have set up an on-line Google form.
Please now use this form to let us know you are ill from Coronavirus or self-isolating for any reason, instead of sending an email.
This will help us to keep up to date with everyone’s different situations.
You can access the form using this link https://forms.gle/NvQY2ZRUHJ8q5RdU8
Please do not hesitate to get in touch with me on any specific issues.
With my continued prayers for the ministry that you are exercising,
The Venerable Phil Williams
Archdeacon of Nottingham