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Coronavirus - District response
Official Guidance from Connexional Property Team Please see:- https://www.methodist.org.uk/for-churches/property/coronavirus-guidance-...
Update 5 January 2021
Following the Prime Minister’s statement on 4 January 2021, a new National Lockdown has been announced in England. This now supercedes all other previous government guidance, including the Tier system. This came into effect from midnight on 4 January 2021.
A number of the restrictions outlined in the new government guidance affect Methodist Church property. Unlike previous lockdown decisions, the government has decided that churches can remain open, along with community buildings for certain activities. Click here to read more.
Despite this government decision, it should be borne in mind that the opening of our church buildings is not mandatory, and it remains the responsibility of each Church Council to make this significant decision – which should not be taken lightly. It should be based upon thorough risk assessments and planning to ensure that it is safe to do so. Every venue should fully meet the health and safety requirements for a COVID-19 secure environment in opening and operation, including the impact on those opening a building and those attending if they fall into a vulnerable group.
The Connexional team have provided a variety of information on alternative ways to worship, fellowship and explore mission. During this difficult time, we encourage you to explore these as alternatives to opening a building and the increased risks this may bring.
Communication from Rev Paul Martin, Chair of District.
12 January 2021
You will be well aware of the rise in cases of coronavirus and correspondent concerns expressed by healthcare professionals. This poses a particular threat to our members, many of whom are in vulnerable categories. Whilst the programme of vaccinations brings
hope it ought not to generate complacency.
I am aware of the detrimental effect on peoples’ spiritual and mental wellbeing when they cannot attend public worship. Up to now, I have taken the view that if a risk assessment has been done, and if people adhere to protocols around distancing, wearing masks,
handwashing and cleaning, then we should make public worship available. On the basis of the current evidence and statistics, I have changed my mind. As Chair of District I feel I must offer some leadership and discourage public worship for the time being.
Obviously, the decision is within the gift of managing trustees and I can only offer advice. I do so with a heavy heart, but I feel we have travelled so far with this pandemic and it would be sad to fall back now when there is hope on the horizon. I have consulted the
Superintendent ministers before issuing this letter and they too feel that this is the right course of action – a fact which many of you will know already.
We pray for God’s wisdom and guidance as we continue with providing worship and pastoral contact in other ways.
Rev Paul Martin