Coronavirus: Advice and Information for Churches
The Regional Team are seeking to support churches and ministers in webnet in practical ways and through prayer as we face these challenging times together.
We strongly urge everyone to monitor the advice from the Government regarding coronavirus.
Following the guidelines announced on March 23rd, we advise the following for the foreseeable future:
CHURCH SERVICES AND ACTIVITIES: PRACTICAL ADVICE
The advice is now that people must stay at home except for a few important reasons listed by the government. This will have an impact on meeting on Sundays and at other times during the week.
In order to maintain the guidelines, NO gatherings should take place. This means physical Sunday services, as well as ALL other gatherings, including small home groups.
Please see the announcement from the government on faith groups.
We will all want to find ways to support those we consider having a duty of care for, especially those who are considered to be most vulnerable. It is important that everyone continues to feel a part of the community. Visiting people in their homes is not advisable except in exceptional circumstances. Please see Baptist Together’s advice on pastoral visiting.
You could consider setting up a phone pastoral care programme where the minister and members of the church maintain regular contact via phone calls. As this pandemic is expected to continue for some time it may mean weekly calls to all those associated with your community. Thought would need to be given to these conversations i.e. being a listening ear, offering prayer and also sharing a short devotional message.
REGIONAL TEAM SUPPORT
We will be wanting to support ministers and churches as well as possible during these uncertain times. We intend to keep in regular contact directly, through electronic communications and social media. Please get in touch if we can be of help.
webnet office: 0117 9658828 email@example.com
Nigel Coles firstname.lastname@example.org
Alisdair Longwill email@example.com
Lindsay Caplen firstname.lastname@example.org
Gary Woodall email@example.com
webnet EVENTS AND MEETINGS
In order to help protect the most vulnerable people in our communities across the West of England, we’re currently reviewing which webnet meetings and events will be cancelled and which ones will take place via Zoom, Skype etc. If you’ve booked into an event, we will let you know in the next seven days what’s happening.
If you have a pastoral meeting scheduled with a member of our regional team, we will endeavour to hold this via phone or Zoom, Skype etc.
RESOURCES FOR CHURCHES
It is important that you consider how you support members of your community at this time. Below are some suggestions for you to consider.
As there will be no gatherings of public worship for some time, a number of churches are already live streaming on Sunday mornings, which includes a simple act of worship including prayers and a message.
Please see this information on how to keep your church community connected during the Coronavirus shutdown.
DEEPENING OUR DISCIPLESHIP
The history of the Church is testimony that whenever the people of God are subject to big challenges the outcomes are frequently fruitful ones, in terms of faith and faithfulness. We encourage you to be prayerful and creative. Baptists Together have provided some prayer resources you may find helpful. This may be a time when we can help people deepen their engagement with scripture, their relationship with God in prayer and grasp something fresh about the nature and purpose of church.
BLESSING OUR NEIGHBOURS
This is an opportunity to both discover and express something of who we are as God’s people – a people blessed to be a blessing to those in our wider community.
You may want to encourage members of your church to be part of a neighbourhood prayer scheme where members of your church offer support for those who are vulnerable.
Please also consider the support you could offer to those who are homeless and rough sleepers.
FUNERALS, WEDDINGS AND BAPTISMS
Please see Baptists Together’s Guidance for Funerals, Weddings and Baptisms. Regional Ministers will be available to support webnet churches and ministers as best as we can.
SHARING IDEAS AND RESOURCESIt would be great to share resources and stories during this time. We’re beginning to populate a page for this which you can see here. If there is a way you are responding that might inform and inspire others, please let us know so that we can share it. We encourage you to use our Facebook page for this purpose too.
FURTHER ADVICE AND RESOURCES
Baptists Together have a dedicated page for advice and resources which is being updated regularly.
As well as those already mentioned above, we would particularly draw your attention to the following articles:
Baptist Insurance have shared some helpful advice regarding church buildings and properties temporarily closed down at this time.
If filing charity annual returns during the Coronavirus Pandemic is going to be difficult, the Charity Commission can be asked for an extension.
Please do contact any member of the regional team if you feel we could be of support in any way and be assured that we will be praying for you and for your communities.