Updated advice to churches about coronavirus

9w0J XVx8vU Photo by Glen Carrie on UnsplashThe United Reformed Church (URC) is offering advice and resources from a variety of sources about the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. 

Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save lives. God is with us.

Items in bold denote the latest additions but please read the whole list for a huge range of advice and resources. 

 

  • Read the Virtual Communion in the URC? paper from the Faith and Order Committee and the General Secretary.

  • Many people in our churches don't have access to the internet. There is a low-cost way of broadcasting sermons via mobile phones. Read a guide to setting this up using Twilio. Simply follow the steps and you'll get $10 credit which will last ages. Note: this website has a lot of adverts and pop-up boxes.

  • Read some guidelines for video and audio conferencing from the Revd Clare Downing, Moderator of the Wessex Synod.

  • Download customisable posters for your noticeboards, windows, doors or other public-facing areas. These can be opened in Adobe Reader and customised to add your church's website and contact details. Available in an A3 version and A4 version. (Note: some browsers will not edit PDFs - most devices have a version of Adobe Reader). 

  • Reform, the magazine of the URC, is free. For as long as people are shut up indoors, you can read the digital edition on tablets, computers and smartphones, including issues going back to 2014. Find out more.

  • As we weren't able to palm crosses in church on Palm Sunday, why not email or share on social media this digital palm cross instead? Download the image. On Facebook the palm cross reached almost 24,000 people. 

  • Our act of worship for Palm Sunday is available to listen to from the Daily Devotions website

  • Watch a video about how to make a paper Palm Cross, which comes with a printable worksheet from our friends at Quintet Churches in Buntingford.

  • Download and use the Palm Sunday colouring-in cartoon from Dave Walker's CartoonChurch. Donations can be made or you could buy a licence to use all of his work. There is also this Where is Jesus colouring PDF from Roots. And why try this Holy Week Walk in your house from Messy Church. 

  • Read Health and Hope: The Church in Mission and Unity, a resource from the World Council of Churches, a collection of previously published articles that resonate with the worldwide struggle amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

  • Read a list of churches offering live streamed services, sermons as podcasts, recorded services on YouTube, Facebook and Zoom, audio files of services, sermons and other worship and Bible study resources. 

  • Visit a new hub for rural churches from the The Arthur Rank CentreThe Arthur Rank Centre, supporting rural Christians and churches during the pandemic. Named ‘Together Apart’, the hub has a range of resources including farming and agriculture support, practical resources, guidance and advice, resources for children and families, and weekly reflections. 

  • Read the new Walking the Way resource for Covid-19, Continuing to support each other, available here

  • Download and print off a leaflet about prayer for children, written by the Revd Jenny Mills. If you're a bit older and would like a similar leaflet, download this daily prayer cycle from the Revds Ian Fosten and Phil Nevard.

  • Read a pastoral letter from the Revd Collin Cowan, General Secretary of the Council for World Mission.

  • Download a hints and tips infographic from Matt Collins about how to get the best results when filming sermons. There is also a new illustrated hints and tips guide about using Zoom for meetings from Naomi RW. 

  • Read a letter about furloughed church workers with an example leave agreement from the URC's Treasurers and Chief Finance Officer: PDF version or Word version

  • Safeguarding: DDC, our DBS/PVG checking service provider, has published a response relating to the services that DDC will be providing during the Covid-19 pandemic. DBS has also published new guidance on DBS checks which means ID documents can be checked by video link or scanned images. Read DDC's update regarding relaxed document checking processes. Read Safeguarding people in the midst of coronavirus from our Safeguarding team: PDF or Word document.

  • Read the latest blog from the Moderators of the URC General Assembly, Derek Estill and the Revd Nigel Uden. They have also offered the following prayer as we come to terms with the full impact of coronavirus. 

  • Read some thoughts for Ministers and CRCWs during the first phase of the coronavirus crisis, by Christopher Southgate, Carla Grosch-Miller and Hilary Ison of the Tragedies and Christian Congregations Project - PDF version or Word version.

  • Updated guidance about what places of worship can do from the UK government: Funerals: the congregation of immediate family with a carer, if required, or a friend if no family members are attending. Two metres to be maintained between every household group; A minister of religion is permitted to go to their place of worship to broadcast an act of worship to people outside the place of worship, whether over the internet or otherwise; For the purpose of hosting essential voluntary or public service, such as food banks, homeless services, and blood donation sessions.

  • Read new guides from the URC about Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp, written for those who have never used them before but are thinking about doing so to stay in touch with their church or community. Also available is guidance about the recording of podcasts, using Facebook Live, YouTube and Zoom.

  • The UK Government has published a list of key workers - people whose jobs mean their children can still attend school. Religious staff are listed under 'Key public services'. Ministers and CRCWs needing a letter to confirm you are a key worker can get one from Nicola Furley-Smith, URC Secretary for Ministries, ministries@urc.org.uk, or from their Synod Moderator.

  • Full services will be available from the URC's Daily Devotions website every Sunday. The Daily Devotions offers a daily Bible reading, reflection and prayer. Visit the website to read or listen to today's devotion, and to subscribe to them if you would like them sent by email. The writers, editors and those that record the devotions are all volunteers, from across the URC. 

  • The staff contacts list is can be found here. Please use direct lines as the switchboard is now closed. The email protocol is firstname.lastname@urc.org.uk. 

  • Read a letter from John Proctor offering advice about Ordinations and Inductions - read the letter as a PDF or a Word document.

  • Read a letter from John Samson, Chief Financial Officer, about the financial implications of the coronaviris crisis - PDF or Word document.  

  • Follow the URC on Facebook and Twitter for updates, ideas and resources, as well as the latest advice from the UK government 

  • The latest advice from the NHS can be found on its websiteIf you feel or become unwell, always seek the advice of your GP or call the NHS Helpline on 111 from landlines or mobiles.

  • Regularly phone or keep in touch with those who are unable to come to church. 

  • Do not visit those in self-isolation, and follow local healthcare professional advice for visiting those in care homes or hospital. Take extra care with hand washing before and after visits. 

  • Remember to also clean your phone or device. 

  • Read the latest advice from The Church of EnglandThe Methodist Church or The Church of Scotland. Also read the latest advice from the UK Government and keep up to date with Coronavirus-related news stories from the BBC.

Image: Glen Carrie/Unsplash
Updated: 6 April, 11.49

 

Safeguarding link 2019