Coronavirus - essential advice for churches
We first publicised the Government’s advice on good hygiene practices regarding the Coronavirus on 28 February (with further updates on 10 and 13 March as things developed).
All of us should be following Government advice regarding good hygiene practices including:
carrying tissues and using them to catch coughs and sneezes, and binning the tissue;
washing hands with soap and water (for 20 seconds) or using sanitiser gel to kill germs;
avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands;
cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.
The latest information can be found at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
On 17 March, in line with the Government’s recommendations, we shared the advice that people should avoid meeting together wherever possible and so Sunday services should not now take place. Churches are advised to move to online meetings, wherever possible.
On 23 March, the Prime Minister stepped up measures to prevent the spread of Coronavirus and save lives.
What do these measures mean for our churches?
The latest Government guidelines state that places of worship should remain closed. Live streaming of a service from an empty church is currently permissible, but within the wider limitations regarding social distancing and the numbers of people meeting together (only two people meeting together). We would encourage you to livestream from your home, and only do it from a church building if you absolutely have to. You must not open your church building for solitary prayer.
We have updated our advice regarding funerals.
Guidance for churches
We have been offering guidance for our churches as these tighter restrictions came into operation, some of which was revised following the Prime Minister’s announcement on 23 March. This information includes:
Coronavirus: a guide for churches as employers (27 March)
Advice from Anthony Collins Solicitors (25 March)
Keeping your church community connected during the Coronavirus shutdown (updated 23 March)
Guidance for weddings, funerals and baptisms (updated 27 March)
Coronavirus: advice for ministers – pastoral visiting (updated 24 March)
Guidance for foodbanks (24 March)
Church meetings and Covid-19 (20 March)
Coronavirus resources for children, young people and families (26 March)
Safeguarding considerations for Baptist churches (updated 24 March)
Using social media with young people (updated 23 March)
Coronavirus – financial response for churches (18 March)
Coronavirus – further financial response - lettings (26 March)
Financial response - delaying payments to HMRC (20 March)
Advice for churches which are temporarily closed during the Covid-19 lock down (Opens Baptist Insurance website - 26 March)
Our Christian identity is reflected in how we do life together and how we serve our communities. Since the Government has brought in these restrictions, we know that our churches have been reflecting with us on how we might do this well.
Hebrews 10:24-25 encourages us to keep meeting together in order to encourage each other and to stir up love and good works in our life together.
And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (NRSV)
Have a look at our article on keeping connected to explore options to enable churches and small groups to meet, gather and encourage each other in the virtual space
Do get in touch and let us know if you have things that have worked well and we can share them across the Baptist family
Let’s continue to pray for all our sisters and brothers across the world who have been, and are continuing to be, affected by COVID-19. We pray that all will know God’s overwhelming, steadfast love.
We pray for those who are particularly fearful at moment.
We pray for the most vulnerable and isolated in our neighbourhoods.
We pray for the medical staff on the front line of care, we pray that they will be sustained physically, emotionally and spiritually in the coming weeks.
We pray for all those leading the response to COVID-19 across the world.
We acknowledge the Lord’s sovereignty in and through all things and pray using the words of Paul to the church in Ephesus:
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.
Ephesians 3:14-21 (NRSV)
For further information and questions the following sites are a useful source of information: