Re-opening our church buildings

Last Friday (12th June), the Government and the Church of England published revised guidance on the safe use of places of worship during the pandemic. Church buildings still cannot open for general purposes (e.g. church tourism) or public worship, but only for private individual prayer and funerals.

Bishop Graham wrote (9th June update): “The key thing is that we move forward steadily and safely as that is how we can best ‘love our neighbour’.”

Before church buildings can be re-opened, PCCs must first conduct a risk assessment (using the template provided by the CofE). The churches then need to be cleaned to COVID-secure specifications (including the removal and storage of ‘common touch’ items) and prepared for social-distancing and hand-hygiene.

Many of our volunteer church cleaning teams are themselves in one of the at-risk groups and therefore cannot be asked to help with this. If this doesn’t apply to you and you would be willing to help to prepare our churches for re-opening, please be in touch with the HON Office on 01362 668850 or heartofnorfolkchurches@gmail.com

As the safe use of places of worship guidance is ‘broad-brush’, applying to all places of worship of any faith, there is some ambiguity about specific points. On Wednesday 24th June, Archdeacon Ian is meeting with the Ministry Team and Churchwardens to answer questions and give advice on interpretation of the guidance where needed.

Last Friday’s guidance (13 pages) is avaliable here.


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