Following the advice for re-opening places of worship provided by the UK government 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.
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 .
The governments in each jurisdiction are 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
The information on this page is regularly updated, so please check back to ensure you have the latest guidance.
COVID-19 Vaccines - papers, videos and resources
Last updated: 12/01/21 2:00 pm
Guidance for churches
The following details are regularly reviewed and updated, so please do keep checking back.
Reopening church buildings and facilities
Churches across the United Kingdom have been able to reopen for public services since July, with each of the four nations of the UK relaxing restrictions at different rates and with separate rules and guidance relating to churches and church activities.
The UK government has announced that churches in England may meet together for public worship services in their building during the new lockdown. Many churches may consider it wisest to exclusively meet online during this period to ensure that their meetings are not place where the virus spreads.
The restrictions on other activities such as children’s ministry will provide churches with limited options on how they gather. The previous provision for parent and child groups which were allowed in all areas has been removed so no supervised activities for children at church are permitted.
Communal worship will continue to be possible. All churches should continue to remain cautious when holding worship services and remember:
Social distancing of 2 metres
As much ventilation in the building as you can manage
Ensuring that your risk assessment is kept updated and attendance numbers are kept to a minimum
Keep the number of those leading services to the absolute minimum required.
COVID-19: Guidance for the safe use of places of worship
COVID-19: Guidance for small marriages and civil partnerships
COVID-19: Celebrating religious festivals during coronavirus
Stay at home regulations came into effect on 5 January 2021.
The Scottish government announced that under the lockdown for mainland Scotland places of worship must close. Churches may only open for the recording or streaming of worship services or the provision of vital services.
Funerals with limited numbers (up to 20 people) and very small weddings (up to 5 people) may also take place. Baptisms cannot take place. The lockdown is scheduled until the end of January at the earliest.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Phase 3: guidance for the safe use of places of worship
Places of worship in Wales remain open under Level 4 restrictions, but many are choosing to broadcast meetings online rather than meet face to face at present.
The updated Covid Control Plan outlines four alert levels for Wales was due to be implimented on 28 December 2020, but this was brought forward to Sunday 20 December 2020 and is now in force. In all four levels, including the highest level of restrictions in alert level 4, places of worship can remain open for acts of worship (with capacity set by a risk assessment), support groups for vulnerable people, pastoral visits (subject to issued guidance from the Elim International Office) and community support activities (such as foodbanks). Full details are available on ElimNET.
The ILT asks that all Elim churches in Northern Ireland deliver services online or drive-In services from Friday 8 January until Saturday 6 February.
Drive-in services must follow the guidance previously issued which we will review and ensure remain up to date.
All other programmes/activities must be delivered online or paused.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has announced approval for the first of the Coronavirus vaccines for use across the UK and similar approval is expected to follow for other vaccines which have progressed through Stage 3 trials.
In the interests of supporting our ministers and leaders in what can seem like a complex and confusing landscape of information, opinion and even emotion, we have begun to gather together some resources which we trust will help give a fuller understanding of the vaccines themselves and of the key issues and questions which you may find you are being asked about.
In the list below, we highlight several recently produced articles, interviews and webinars from experienced and highly qualified leaders within a range of disciplines which are addressing the major issues surrounding vaccines. Some of these include our own ministers as well as medical professionals and practitioners with expertise in the specific and related fields.
Coronavirus vaccines and Christian ethics
This article comes from Christian Medical Fellowship, written by John Wyatt who is Emeritus Professor of Neonatal Paediatrics, Ethics & Perinatology at University College London. Senior researcher at the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, Cambridge.
He covers the broader ethical issues:
Human testing and volunteers
Distribution funding and global justice
Cooperation with a fallen world
Should we accept the Vaccine?
A Better way – Champions of HOPE
View web article
He has also accompanied it with two podcasts which are clear and thought through and give a full response on wider ethical issues and implications.
Matters of Life and Death – Coronavirus: Vaccines (42 min)
Website | MP3 | Apple podcast | Google
Matters of Life and Death – Coronavirus: Vaccines part 2 (19 min)
Website | MP3 | Apple podcast | Google
Thinking about whether or not you should receive a Covid-19 vaccine?
This article is co-authored by Malcolm Duncan, Debbie Duncan and Chris Shaw which was released earlier this week.
Christians And The Conspiracy Theory Contagion
This article by Dominic De Souza looks at the challenge of Conspiracy Theories.
Life after Covid-19 webinar with Patrick Dixon (90 min)
The following YouTube link is to an Interview with Dr Patrick Dixon covering issues of Life after Covid produced by Kensington Temple on KT TV Youtube channel.
YouTube [commences at 6:56]
Making ethical decisions that value human life webinar (Evangelical Alliance)
David Smyth, head of Evangelical Alliance Northern Ireland and Dawn McAvoy, co-founder Both Lives Matter, host a conversation with experts from fields of medicine, medical ethics, public policy and conscience on the ethics around a COVID-19 vaccine. Watch here
Evangelical Alliance's recommended reading
Wisdom and the Covid Vaccine - Rediscover Church, Exeter
Join Mark Pugh from Elim's church in Exeter as he asks a researcher/lecturer in biomedical sciences and a GP for their insights regarding the Covid 19 vaccine
Watch part 1 here
Watch part 2 here
The coronavirus vaccine - informed perspectives
In this video, Dave Newton hosts a conversation which asks some of these critical questions to help you navigate your way through the ethical issues of the coronavirus vaccine. This panel discussion looks at the vaccine from a medical, theological, pastoral and personal perspective.
Local COVID alert levels: what you need to know [ENGLAND]
Information on local COVID alert levels, including what they mean, why they are being introduced and what the different levels are. Includes links to detailed guidance for each level.
COVID-19: Guidance for the safe use of places of worship from 4 July [ENGLAND]
This guidance is designed to assist places of worship in England to prepare to open for a broader range of activities on 4 July.
COVID-19: Special religious services and gatherings COVID-19 checklist [ENGLAND]
This guidance provides key principles that should help make decisions that ensure individuals can all take part in special religious services and gatherings safely.
COVID-19: Guidance for small marriages and civil partnerships [ENGLAND]
This guidance is designed to assist people in planning to get married or form a civil partnership in England.
COVID-19: Guidance for managing a funeral during the coronavirus pandemic [ENGLAND]
This advice is designed to assist people who are involved in managing or organising a funeral related to death from any cause during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
COVID-19: Guidance for the safe use of multi-purpose community facilities [ENGLAND]
This guidance is of a general nature and should be treated as a guide. In the event of any conflict between any applicable legislation (including the health and safety legislation) and this guidance, the applicable legislation shall prevail.
Local restrictions: areas with an outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) – Details of what you can and cannot do [ENGLAND]
A list of areas in England with additional local restrictions, what to do and how to manage the outbreak.
Wearing Face coverings [England]
Face coverings are currently mandatory on public transport and in a range of indoor venues. From 8 August, this includes places of worship and church halls. While there are exemptions, this is a legal requirement.
COVID-19: regulations, guidance and what they mean for you [NI]
COVID-19: Phase 3: guidance for the safe use of places of worship [SCOTLAND]
Guidance to help places of worship in Scotland to safely open for limited permitted activities, including individual prayer or contemplation.
COVID-19: Scotland's route map. Gatherings and occasions - what you can and cannot do Information about easing the coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
Wearing Face coverings [Scotland]
The First Minister announced that from Saturday 8 August 2020 the wearing of face coverings in places of worship will be mandatory. The worship leader will be exempt from wearing a face covering when they are leading worship, provided additional safeguards are in place (for example, 2 metre physical distancing and/or a protective screen or barrier). Further details and guidance will be issued as soon as possible after legislation is published by the Scottish Government.
Local restrictions [Scotland]: areas with an outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) – Details of what you can and cannot do
A list of areas in Scotland with additional local restrictions, what to do and how to manage the outbreak.
COVID-19: Guidance on reopening places of worship [WALES]
This guidance is designed to assist places of worship in Wales to prepare to open for a limited range of public worship.
COVID-19: Guidance to local authorities and places of worship on marriages and civil partnerships: coronavirus [WALES]
This guidance is designed to assist registry offices and places of worship in the planning and running of a marriage ceremony during the coronavirus pandemic.
COVID-19: Places of worship, cemeteries and funerals [WALES]
Part of the Coronavirus regulations - frequently asked questions.
COVID-19: Guidance document on funerals: COVID-19 [WALES]
A detailed document on funerals in Wales.
COVID-19: Safe use of multi-purpose community centres [WALES]
Guidance on the reopening and safe use of multi-purpose community centres in Wales.
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.