Church buildings to re-open for public worship

On Monday 29 June, the Government published its guidelines about the re-opening and safe use of places of worship in England from Saturday 4 July. Under the new guidelines, those responsible in each place of worship will carry responsibility to carry out a risk assessment concerning activities and attendance. The detailed guidelines cover maximum capacities, the use of shared items, food and drink, singing and musical instruments, toilets, cleaning and face coverings.

As the move back to corporate gatherings begins, the Government is, however, encouraging the continued use of internet technology, writing, ‘It is recommended that, where possible, places of worship continue to stream worship or other events to avoid large gatherings and to continue to reach those individuals who are self-isolating or particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.’

In addition, the Government has published guidelines for the conduct of weddings and funerals. These allow up to 30 people to gather, though strict social distancing must be maintained at all times and a range of other restrictions remain in place. Singing will not be allowed at the ceremony and receptions are discouraged. Read the full Government guidelines concerning the safe use of places of worship HERE, and those concerning weddings and funerals HERE.

In response to the Government’s new guidelines, the Methodist Church has issued detailed directions to its members concerning the reopening of Methodist places of worship. The directions can be found HERE. The Church of England’s guidance for reopening its church buildings can be accessed HERE.