21 October 2020
As the country has moved to a tiered system for lockdown, we have updated our Coronavirus guidance on the website: www.methodist.org.uk/about-us/coronavirus/official-guidance/
The Government’s current advice is that churches in England can remain open. Each church will need to consider the missional imperative in deciding whether or not to remain open or to reopen for worship. The safety of those coming into the building must be paramount and consideration given to the practicalities involved. Each decision will be individual to each local area and the decision and responsibility lies with the Managing Trustees (usually the Church Council). Managing Trustees are free to delegate the decision to a smaller body, for example, their church leadership team. They may also wish consult with others in their Circuit and agree a Circuit-wide policy if appropriate. All decisions and delegations may be made by a simple majority vote. No special majority is required.
Churches in Wales are currently closed except for those invited to a wedding or funeral and those broadcasting a worship service. For more details see www.methodist.org.uk/about-us/coronavirus/official-guidance/
Churches in Scotland are subject to different rules depending on their location. For current guidance see www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-phase-3-guidance-for-the-safe-use-of-places-of-worship/
The tiered system and the different restrictions imposed by the different administrations add not only to the complexity but also to the sense of isolation that so many will be feeling at this time. Whatever decisions are made locally and whatever form of provision is adopted to help our people to worship and to remain in fellowship with each other, we keep in mind the bonds that unite us. As we in the Connexional Team continue to monitor the regulations produced by governments and to update our guidance, we hold all those who have to interpret and implement decisions in our prayers and we ask you to continue to pray for us and for each other. In the words of the Presidential theme, the best of all is God is with us, and therefore we remain in fellowship with one another.
The Revd Dr Jonathan Hustler, Secretary of the Methodist Conference