Last updated 18 June 2021

In every tier of coronavirus restriction church buildings will be able to open for public worship and private prayer in England. All necessary assessments of Covid-security should be undertaken, including keeping attendees 2m apart, supplying hand-sanitiser and wearing face masks. Sadly, the serving of refreshments is not possible, and as before, worshippers should leave as safely as possible, avoiding crowding at doors.

From 21 June 2021 there will no longer be a maximum number cap for attendees set out in law for:

  • wedding or civil partnership ceremonies and receptions
  • funerals
  • wakes or commemorative events for the deceased

Instead, the number of attendees will be determined by how many people the venue or outdoor space can safely accommodate with social distancing measures in place. This will be based on the COVID-19 risk assessment of the venue or outdoor space, and the measures put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Advice for funerals

See the Government’s COVID-19: guidance for managing a funeral during the coronavirus pandemic.

Advice for weddings

See the Government’s COVID-19:  guidance for wedding and civil partnership ceremonies, receptions and celebrations.

Advice for other significant life events e.g. baptisms, confirmations and ordinations

Where such events are an element of communal worship, they are subject to the Government’s COVID-19: guidance for the safe use of places of worship

If they are not part of communal worship then these significant life events remain limited to no more than 30 people, and will again be determined by how many people a venue can safely accommodate with social distancing measures in place. This will include events such as private baptisms, and naming ceremonies.

Many of our Member Churches have established coronavirus guidance web pages, including:

Pastoral care

Normal patterns of pastoral care continue to be affected.

Essential voluntary or public service, such as food banks and blood donation sessions based in church buildings may continue.

Health Care Chaplaincy – The President of the College of Health Care Chaplains, Simon Harrison,  wrote an advisory to churches in early April 2020.

The Church remains active

As we saw in the first national lockdown in the spring, although church services might be suspended, Christian churches remain active in serving their communities, gathering online to worship, and praying for our world in these challenging times.

There are countless examples of Christians providing practical help and support in their local communities, within covid guidelines – whether it’s hosting online remembrance events to help those who are grieving, coming alongside the local council to support practical initiatives in the community, or gathering together virtually to pray.

At this time we can truly be the Church for everyone, bringing compassion in the form of care and light in dark times, and proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ as the one great hope for our world.