Following the most recent advice from the UK government issued and respective devolved administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, we are continuing to review and update guidance for our churches and ministers.
Whilst some government guidance has been revised, we are still in a phase where there is a cautious approach to easing the necessary restrictions put in place for the period of lockdown.
Public safety, both individual and community, remains paramount. It is still vital that the necessary hygiene and social distancing precautions are kept in place in order to protect the NHS and save lives. Individuals are encouraged to follow the guidance issued by the government and NHS. Where possible, stay at home, continue to pray, share love and generosity, and safely care for the vulnerable in your community.
The governments in each jurisdiction are now on broadly similar yet distinct pathways and timelines towards transitioning out of lockdown. Therefore, the details on ElimNET will provide separate guidelines, advice and resources that are region-specific. These will be updated in line with significant changes in government and public health advice.
No place of worship will be able to reopen before a decision by the respective government and churches must follow this published guidance. Elim churches will need the permission of the national/regional office to reopen. From that point, each individual church will be able to open safely and responsibly as and when they feel ready and able to do so.
A series of Frequently Asked Questions are answered below, with additional information and full details of regional variations available for Elim leaders on ElimNET at elim.org.uk/coronavirusresource
We will continue to prepare appropriately to resource and support ministers and churches in each phase of this national health emergency and respond to government and public health advice as it develops.
The information on this page is regularly updated, so please check back to ensure you have the latest guidance.
The Prime Minister has outlined plans to make face coverings mandatory in Places of Worship from 8 August.
"We will also extend the requirement to wear a face covering to other indoor settings where you are likely to come into contact with people you do not normally meet, such as museums, galleries, cinemas and places of worship. We now recommend face coverings are worn in these settings, and this will become enforceable in law from 8 August."
We will study the detailed government regulations and guidance once they are available and will update our guidance accordingly. In the meantime, face coverings should be worn by all those attending a place of worship. Remember that they are not a replacement for physical distancing and regular hand washing.
Can I still visit a place of worship in the lockdown area?
Yes, but you must socially distance from people outside of your household. This means maintaining a distance of 2 metres, or 1 metre with mitigations (e.g. face coverings). We recommend at this time that if possible prayer/religious services take place outdoors.
Last updated: 3 August 2020 3:00 pm
Guidance for churches
The following details are regularly reviewed and updated, so please do keep checking back.
All Elim churches need to have the permission of their regional office in order to reopen church services and gatherings. Once that permission is given for each jurisdiction, local churches are able to make their own decision about when to reopen in-person worship services, subject to having submitted a full risk assessment. Each church must follow government guidelines concerning public safety, hygiene to ensure not only safe opening but safe and responsible operating going forward.
The government guidelines issued for England (29 June 2020) contains a strong recommendation for places of worship to prioritise public safety to minimise the spread of COVID-19.
Elim's National Leadership Team advise that face masks or coverings should be worn by all congregants in England, except in cases where its use could exacerbate an individual’s health condition, such as those with respiratory conditions.
The wearing of face coverings is not a requirement for attending children of school age. Clinically vulnerable individuals or those aged 70 years or over, regardless of medical conditions, may choose to stay at home and access the worship services via other means.
The live streaming of services from Elim churches is permitted. In the first phase of COVID-19 response churches have worked hard to move services and a range of ministries online. We encourage our churches to continue to develop online ministry and going forward, to incorporate it into church life in the many creative initiatives that have been used or shaped during lockdown.
Local churches have the flexibility to develop their online services to reflect their local situation. Services can be done from home with people from the same household, from the church building or a combination of both. Under current guidelines, we continue to stress that when broadcast from a church building, this should be done with the minimum number of people for the maximum safety following the relevant requirements of the devolved governments.
They must observe strict social distancing and hygiene practices after conducting a risk assessment. Staff members and volunteers must not be pressured or compelled but be willing of their own volition to take part. Anyone who falls into the government requirements to isolate at home for any period of time should not be in attendance.
This guidance will be subject to regular review as circumstances and government and public health advice progresses.
Please follow the full live streaming guidance available on ElimNET
The devolved governments now allow access to places of worship for individual prayer.
As the majority of Elim churches have had no tradition of being open for individual prayer, we are therefore not opening Elim churches for such a purpose at this stage.
However, we will continue in consultation with our churches to put guidelines in place for individual prayer as part of the fuller plans for reopening our churches for public worship.
Details of when and how weddings can take place have been issued by each devolved government and details published on their websites.
All Elim churches need to have the permission of their regional office in order to reopen. Once that permission is given for each jurisdiction, local churches are able to make their own decision about when to reopen, subject to having submitted a full risk assessment. Each church must follow government guidelines concerning public safety, hygiene to ensure not only safe opening but safe and responsible operating going forward.
Sadly, baptisms should be postponed in line with the clear advice from the government.
Recognising the particular sensitivities surrounding the conducting of funerals during the COVID-19 pandemic, government restrictions are beginning to ease. Yet, the challenges surrounding the reintroduction of funerals in church buildings are particularly difficult.
Details of when and how weddings can take place have been issued by each devolved government and details published on their websites. Elim churches will need to wait until they have received NLT clearance for their building to reopen before planning funeral services in their buildings.
Churches will need to assess how and whether they are able to conduct funerals safely in the light of their full risk assessment and in consultation with local undertakers and funeral services.
We will be issuing further advice and guidelines over the coming weeks to enable ministers and churches to perform funerals and provide vital care and support to those who are grieving from the church and the wider community.
Only immediate family members can attend as allowed by the crematorium. A physical distancing is to be maintained between every household group, as per the relevant Public Health England guidelines.
We encourage ministers where possible to consider discussing with the family the possibility of a memorial service to be conducted for their loved one at a later time, though this is obviously something to be handled with discretion and sensitivity.
Foodbanks should continue where possible, as they have throughout lockdown. The main priority is ensuring the safety of everyone who comes to a food bank – whether it’s someone needing help, someone volunteering their time, or someone making a donation.
National organisations such as Trussell Trust are in daily contact with the food banks in their network about their local situation. They are centrally issuing updated guidance every day in a special daily bulletin, so please ensure you follow their national guidance.
Anyone running a food bank should follow the advice found on the Trussell Trust’s website. trusselltrust.org/coronavirus-food-banks
UK government for guidance in England
Northern Ireland Government
Elim leaders resources
ElimNET provides additional information for Elim leaders at elim.org.uk/coronavirusresource
We are aware this is a very difficult time and will prompt further questions. We are working to produce some FAQs, along with adding new guidance on this page. This will take time, so please be patient and check back to this page for more details. Also we will share updates through our social media accounts, so follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.