Emerging into the "new normal"

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Emerging into the new normalThe latest free resource from the United Reformed Church, Emerging into the "new normal",  provides the basis for further local discussion and some clear church policy for post-lockdown activity. 

This document updates and replaces “Ready for the New Normal.” It has been prepared by the Synod Moderators to reflect the changes about to take place as coronavirus lockdown restrictions are eased and it becomes possible for places of worship to reopen. 


To the Saints who make up the United Reformed Church across England, Scotland, Wales, Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man: greetings.

It is over 3 months since we entered lockdown, embarking on a new way of life, including for our churches. We have been moved and impressed by the creative ministries of so many who have adapted through these times to different expressions of Christian community, including worship, pastoral care and community outreach. Some of our churches have really struggled, and that is very understandable, others have perhaps surprised themselves, finding that they are flourishing in new ways. Thank you for anything and everything that you have been able to do in the service of God – we are truly grateful to you.

We have travelled along a hard road through the pandemic, and it is abundantly clear that the journey is not over yet. If an effective vaccine can be developed, it will still be many months before this is deployed in a sufficient proportion of the population, and we must take extraordinary care over our part to prevent further mass outbreaks. It is possible that lockdown restrictions will be imposed again, either across the UK, or in some of the countries and islands where the URC is present, or regionally or even more locally.

Whilst the UK moved very much as a whole into lockdown, it is apparent that the governments of the lands in which the URC gather are making easing restrictions in different rates and at different times.

We must be careful to follow all regulation and guidance that is in place from time to time. Changes in Government policy will take place regularly. This document provides the basis for further local discussion and some clear church policy. If the advice and policy in here are not as restrictive as your government’s policy that is currently in place, you MUST follow the official advice and regulation. In some places the guidance contained in this paper may be more restrictive or appear to be more burdensome than official policy requires. Where that is the case, it is because the church has judged that greater caution is wise.

If the regulation and guidance where you live is more permissive in terms of easing restrictions that in other parts where the URC operates, you should not feel obliged to move towards that more permissive approach. There may be other factors which lead the wise church to proceed with easing restrictions with greater caution.

The Pandemic is not over, and we must show loving actions to all through doing what we can to minimise the risk of infection from our premises and our people.

We have produced “Emerging into the ‘New Normal’” to help your church community consider your next steps. We want to urge continuing caution. There is no need to rush back into the familiar – the old patterns and habits – and there is no race to see who will open first. We hope that this document may help your church to take stock and to re-focus on what matters most of God and to you (in that order!)

The Synod Moderators

June 2020

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