Coronavirus Update – Places of public Worship in the Diocese to be closed except for very small weddings and small funerals

24 March – Number 1

Replacing 23 March Number 1 and Number 2

  • Places of public Worship in the Diocese to be closed except for very small weddings and small funerals
  • A very limited number of staff members may be present to film for a streamed order of worship unless a moderately satisfactory alternative can be found
  • Church leaders can be exemplars to the community

Public places of worship must not be open to members of the public except for the purposes of conducting wedding services or funeral services. A place of public worship has is a building or place used for the purpose of religious worship whether or not the building or place is also used for counselling, social events, instruction or religious training.

There is no permission for the public services of baptism.

Only 5 people may be involved at a wedding – the member of the clergy, the couple and 2 witnesses. Only 10 people may be involved in a funeral, the clergy plus 9 others. A wedding or funeral service must comply with the social distancing requirements. Those participating should adhere to social distancing guidelines (4m2 and 1.5m apart). In order to satisfy this requirement,

In making a decision about using a church building it is important for us to be exemplars to the community – both in how we undertake a ministry and in any visual depiction of it.

  • The maximum who should be present in a church building for the ministry of preparing a streaming video is 4 people (eg clergy,  musician and a videographer).
  • The requirements of social distancing must be followed.
  • No one who is unwell should be present.
  • It is important that there is no unnessary travel on the part of anyone involved in this ministry.

We have stepped back from filming in or streaming from the Cathedral.

Recognising that this may change at short notice –

  • It is permissable to enable the streaming of prayer and worship to film in church if you cannot find a moderately satisfactory alternative, like filming from home.
  • A member of the clergy or a churchwarden may be present in a church building to ensure its security and to faciliate urgent maintenance.
  • It is permissible for a member of the clergy to be present for a service of the Holy Communion/the Eucharist or to pray the Daily Offices. The service cannot be open to the public. The public can be advised that prayers have been offered.

In this Diocese, we have directed all groups to cease unless they are meeting virtually.

My strong encouragement remains for people to be in contact and praying by phone and message.

+Peter