Get our latest advice, updates and resources on the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
Coronavirus: Synod Moderators’ updated guidance: The Synod Moderators have looked again at the general situation with the pandemic, considered the relevant Government guidance, and offer updated guidance for your consideration
Simeon Mitchell, Secretary for Church and Society for the United Reformed Church, reports on the call for global vaccine equity as we reach the second anniversary of the start of the pandemic.
Advice and guidance
A quick guide: Covid-19 and Safeguarding - advice on safeguarding during the pandemic.
Coming out of lockdown - the impact on individuals - Read the United Reformed Church Equalities Committee statement in advance of when the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions begin to ease
Guidance to help you support children and young people who may be feeling anxious about meeting in person or in groups
Ordinations and Inductions of Elders during the Covid-19 restrictions - read guidance from the URC (December 2020)
Read the latest advice from the United Reformed Church, Emerging into the New Normal (PDF | 970kb). This resource provides the basis for further local discussion and some clear church policy. Download the new Personal Risk Assessment (PDF | 156kb) mentioned in the document. Download an example of the Personal Risk Assessment (PDF | 136kb).
Resources for churches and individuals
The URC has produced a range of practical resources for churches and individuals to use during the Coronavirus pandemic.
- The URC Book Shop has signs, banners, badges and floor tape you can buy to remind people to keep to social distance rules and to watch their hands
Church guides The URC has produced a series of free guides with advice for churches and church organisations to help them stay in contact with and support their local community during and after lockdown. From a guide to Zoom etiquette to information about online and contactless giving - there are more than 20 resources available for you to read or download.
Free resources to help you get your church online and stay in contact with your congregation and the local community using social media. The guides cover a wealth of topics - from livestreaming church services to using social media to connect with people and much more.
- Digital church - from advice on using Zoom, WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook to a guide to livestreaming your church service, the URC has published numerous free resources to help your church on its digital journey
- Download a hints and tips infographic from Matt Collins (JPG | 205kb) about how to get the best results when filming sermons. There is also an illustrated hints and tips guide about using Zoom for meetings (JPG | 182) from Naomi RW
If you're using Zoom for church purposes, and would like others to stop looking at the walls behind your head, why not use these backgrounds instead? Optimised for Zoom, there is a plain background with a URC logo, or a background with multiple URC logos, in either JPG or PNG formats:
A range of risk assessments and risk assessment advice for you and your church.
- Protect yourself and others. Watch a video about the Personal Risk Assessments from the Revd Angela Rigby. The full version includes messages before and after the risk assessment questions, or there is a version with just the risk assessment questions. Essential viewing before you return to your church building
- Download a Personal Risk Assessment (PDF | 156kb). Download an example of the Personal Risk Assessment (PDF | 129kb)
- Download a blank Covid-19 Risk Assessment (PDF | 634kb) or use the editable version Covid-19 Risk Assessment (Xls | 86kb).
- Download a Covid-19 Secure Disclaimer poster (Word | 29kb), to be displayed once a Risk Assessment has been completed and it is safe for the building to reopen
Visit Together Apart - a digital hub for rural churches created by the the Arthur Rank Centre. Supporting rural Christians and churches during the pandemic, it has a range of resources including farming and agriculture support, practical resources, guidance and advice, resources for children and families, and weekly reflections.
- The Methodist Church has produced a much needed resource, Mental Health and Wellbeing for ministers 2020
- The Joint Public Issues Team has produced a list of resources to help support for church leaders responding to COVID-19
- The Tragedy and Congregations team holds half-day Zoom meetings for ministers on Trauma-informed Ministry in a time of COVID. Check their website for latest details
Advice on how to avoid single-use plastic, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic
Worship, prayers, hymns and reflections
A regularly updated 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.
You can also find out how you can add your church activities to the list.
Families on Faith Adventures at Home is a free resource to help families worship and pray together and develop their faith during lockdown and beyond.
There are plenty of resources on the internet to support faith at home, but we wanted to provide something specifically URC in nature. These resources draw on the materials from Pilots and Friends on Faith Adventures as a starting point and are a 'pick and mix' selection of activities, prayers and challenges based around a different Bible reading each week.
- Our friends with the team behind the Methodist Church's hymn book Singing the Faith have produced a new resource: Prayers for the dying, the bereaved and those who cannot attend funerals.
- The URC has also produced Virtual funerals liturgies and words for our digital world
- A prayer for uncertain times – in March 2020, the then Moderators of the General Assembly offered this prayer as the UK and the rest of the world began dealing with the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic
Here are a selection of reflections to help you through the pandemic.
- Catch a glimpse of God's light this Christmas The Revd Dr John Bradbury, General Secretary of the United Reformed Church, compares the change in Mary and Joseph’s plan for their firstborn to the havoc wreaked by the coronavirus pandemic, and God’s presence through it all in this reflection for Christmas day
- Christmas Eve: what's the point? As the wait for Christmas reaches its end, Simon Peters, Project Manager for Walking the Way – the URC's focus on lifelong, missional discipleship – considers what we have to look forward to during, what for many will be, a very strange Christmas
- URC Minister the Revd Carla Grosch-Miller, who is involved in the Tragedy and Christian Congregations project, has written a blog on the Coronavirus pandemic: Are we there yet? (Word document)
- URC Minister the Revd Carla Grosch-Miller, who is involved in the Tragedy and Christian Congregations project, has written a new downloadable reflection on the Coronavirus pandemic: Easing out of lockdown - what next? (Word document)
- Church Related Community Worker Jo Patterson's reflection reminds us that as we embrace technology to reach out to people during lockdown, we must be careful not to exclude those who don’t have access to technology. Read Jo's reflection and advice
- Read Covid 19, the Church and Holy Communion - 15 Theses: United and Reformed (PDF | 46kb ), some personal thoughts from the Revd Dr John Bradbury
- Read the Virtual Communion in the URC? (PDF | 33kb) paper from the Faith and Order Committee and the General Secretary
Helping the community
Here are some additional materials which might be useful to you and your local church as you explore mission and community engagement in light of the pandemic:
- Nurturing Social Cohesion: Why it matters and what your church can do about it (PDF) – A practical document from think tank Theos, stemming from the Free Churches Group report into social cohesion which can help your church grapple with the challenges of connecting with your neighbourhood in meaningful ways.
- CTE Flexible Ecumenical Framework Toolkit – A helpful resource from Churches Together in England for organising effective partnerships with other churches, denominations and organisations which can be applied to partnerships for mission in your local neighbourhood.
- Organisations recommended by the CRCW network – A list of organisations and agencies, recommended by the URC’s Church Related Community Work network, with resources and support for mission in your local neighbourhood.
The YourNeighbour.org website aims to support the work that churches are doing to be good neighbours in communities across the UK during the coronavirus crisis. It aims to offer support via a coordinated national response.
New Reality, Same Mission
New Reality, Same Mission began as an initiative in response to the Covid pandemic, but it is being broadened to include responses to other issues, including the cost of living crisis.
Give thanks for our vaccines by donating to the URC's fudraising campaign with Christian Aid and help vulnerable communities around the world who don't access to the healthcare they need to protect themselves from the COV-19 virus.
The Joint Public Issues Team has produced a list of the different ways you can help support your local community during the Coronavirus crisis.
The new Moderators of General Assembly, Claire Downing and Peter Pay, have joined 75 other faith leaders to call for a ‘debt jubilee’ for the 77 poorest nations as they deal with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Add your support for this call by signing Christian Aid’s Coronavirus Debt Jubilee petition