COVID - 19


For the latest COVID-19 advice and prayer resources, please visit - https://www.churchofengland.org/


Coronavirus Task Group Update 11/09/2020

Dear Friends,

The Government announcement made late on Tuesday night and partly clarified yesterday has caused more questions and dilemmas than all the others put together! We can answer some, but not all of the questions that have been put to us and are grateful to the National Recovery Group who, we hope, will bring clarity to some others as the Church of England guidance is updated in the coming days.

Today's briefing contains information on the following:

  • Update on the new Government Regulations
  • Small Groups and Bible Study Groups
  • Church Halls
  • Worship This Sunday
  • Diocesan Home Grown Conference
  • Weekly Message
  • Acts 435 Outreach Ministry
  • National Day of Prayer for Schools

Update on the New Government Regulations

The national guidance can be found here.

  • Youth groups and play groups are exempt from the new regulations and so may continue to meet.
  • In many churches congregations have gathered outdoors to talk after public worship. This can only continue if people stay in groups of six and don't mingle with other groups. If this cannot be managed people should be gently asked to disperse straight after the service.
  • Charity and voluntary work is exempt from the regulation, as is fulfilling legal obligations. This means that the advice we gave on Wednesday about governance holds.
  • It is still possible to hold a reception after an occasional office as long as attendance is limited to 30.

There is plenty of evidence that the infection rate is increasing across our Diocese and it is critical that public worship can continue. Please don't play fast and loose with the guidance and regulations!

Small Groups and Bible Study Groups

Small groups of up to six are able to gather with no limits placed on the number of households represented. Bible study or prayer groups which have 7 or more people present must ask the basic question whether or not this counts as an 'act of public worship'. That is a decision you must make locally because the setting and structure of each of these groups is unique to each worshiping community. We would again recommend that you do not ask what you can get away with, but instead consider what best reflects the new regulations.

Social distancing, face masks and hand washing remain essential and socialising before and afterwards should be actively discouraged.

Church Halls

We have had a number of questions regarding hall lettings, particularly since the new guidance surrounding 6 people was announced this week. Here are a few points to consider:

  • If a business, charity or formal organisation rents part of your property and has sole use of that property (i.e. only people from that organisation will enter the premises over a long period of time) then it is their responsibility to maintain cleaning standards before, during and after use. It is also their responsibility to be aware of how latest guidance impacts their particular activity and run it accordingly.
  • In a situation where a church hall or equivalent is rented by a number of different organisations through the day or week then it is the responsibility of the person letting the property to ensure that it is cleaned in between uses and can be considered safe for public use before allowing the next group in, unless you have a different agreement with the service users. It is then the responsibility of the person renting the property to be aware of and follow the latest guidance specific to their activity.
  • You may wish to talk to organisations renting parts of your properties regarding the above to make sure everyone is aware of their responsibilities. The latest advice, which included exemptions from the rule regarding only 6 gathering, can be found at the top of the briefing. Asking to see a risk assessment of the activity may be a good place to start.
  • Should you hear that government guidance is not being followed by someone renting a part of your property, you may wish to discuss this matter with them. Should it continue and you become uneasy about the use of the property, discuss the matter as a PCC and decide whether this is a use you wish to continue.
  • You may also wish to discuss hall lettings with your insurers as they may have their own policies or advice to share with you.

Worship this Sunday

As 13th September is Education Sunday our worship is led by the Board of Education who support our 190 Church of England Schools and Academies and work alongside churches and parishes in their children and youth work. You can share in this act of worship from 9am on Sunday onwards on the Diocesan Youtube Channel.

In addition there will be worship from Blackburn Cathedral, also from 9am on Sunday.

Diocesan Home Grown Conference:

'Hearts on Fire with Love for You'

Tuesday 13th October from 7 pm until Wednesday 14th October concluding at 9 pm

Further details of our Home Grown Conference, which is open to all, can be found here on the website.

Weekly Message

The Video Message this week is Bishop Jill's invitation to the Home Grown Conference and it can be viewed here.

Acts 435 Outreach Ministry

There will be two nationally organised webinars on how your church can use Acts 435 as a resource to help those in need in your community. These will be on Wednesday 16th September at 11 am and Thursday 24th September at 2 pm. More information here. You can book here.

National Day of Prayer for Schools September 24th, 2020

Stephen Whittaker, our Director of Education writes:

Blackburn Diocese is joining with the National Day of Prayer for schools that has been instigated by the PAIS movement. The initiative seeks to encourage churches to pray for the schools in their community on that day.

We would encourage churches from all traditions to engage in prayer for the schools in their parishes in whatever way they would feel they can. For some this might be lighting a candle for each school and using this as a prayer focus, but for others it could be a virtual prayer gathering, and others a walk in the community, stopping to pray at various places. However big or small the activity, the important aspect is the prayer. Two or three praying at a set time is as valuable as a virtual gathering of hundreds and the key thing is that the focus is on those establishments in your community.

The Board of Education team will be fasting and praying that day and encourage schools themselves to pray for other schools in the area.

Resources and Ideas

Bishop Philip has written a prayer for the day which could be used by churches and individuals. A video of this prayer, recorded by children, will be issued nearer the date.

Lord God, we ask you to pour your blessing on the schools of our nation.

Give joy and curiosity to our children:

that they may discover their gifts, grow in knowledge and learn to live well.

Give wisdom and stamina to our teachers:

that they may delight to inspire young minds and find contentment in their work.

Give vision and good judgement to our headteachers, school leaders and governors:

that they may guide our schools well and keep them safe in challenging times.

Give courage and compassion to the people of our land:

Protect us from fear and help us to act with calmness and kindness.

Your Son Jesus Christ taught his disciples to follow in his Way.

Inspire us by his example and strengthen us by his presence,

for we make our prayer in his holy name.

Amen.

Other resources can be found from PAIS at www.prayforschools.org and in particular a resource giving ten prayers that could be used.

Below are some additional ideas on how churches might get involved, but if you would like some specific help or a list of schools to pray for from your area, please do contact the Board of Education team: schools@blackburn.anglican.org

  • Light a candle for every school in your parish
  • Make schools the prayer intention for a Eucharist that day
  • Organise a Zoom/Facebook live moment of prayer for schools
  • Open the church for private prayer and set up a 'prayer corner' like in a classroom, with photos of the school(s), the school vision statements, children's Bibles, the school prayer pens and pencils, the school badges etc to use as a focus for prayer or ask someone from school to set up a prayer corner in church.
  • Use the School's Vision statement and Bible verse to inform prayer - make copies available for parishioners.
  • Organise a prayer walk, stopping to pray outside each school you pass, or create a virtual prayer walk which people can do in their own homes.
  • Circulate copies of Bishop Philip's prayer along with the school's own prayer.
  • Whatever you do tell the schools you are doing it - including the community schools

And finally....

The absence of congregational singing continues to be difficult but necessary. However, choirs have been able to return to practice under strict conditions. Blackburn Cathedral Choristers have returned to socially distanced singing, and I am sure the director of music, John Robinson, would be delighted to hear from any parents of year 3 & 4 children who might be interested in joining them. Please feel free to contact him with any questions as to how they are doing this in a safe and effective way using: John.robinson@blackburncathedral.co.uk

The Coronavirus Email Address

If you have questions or problems, please get in touch: coronavirus@blackburn.anglican.org.

Please email if you are off work or shielding.

Keep us, good Lord,

under the shadow of your mercy

in this time of uncertainty and distress.

Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,

and lift up all who are brought low;

that we may rejoice in your comfort

knowing that nothing can separate us from your love

in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Yours,

The Coronavirus Task Group


Coronavirus Task Group Update 09/09/2020

Dear Friends,

There will be two briefings this week, today and Friday. This is because of the fast-moving pace of events following the late night announcement made by government outling tighter restrictions on social gatherings.

Latest Government Announcement

We still await greater clarity, but the new regulations prevent more than six people meeting for social purposes either indoors or outdoors. The new restrictions do not come into place until Monday. In terms of the impact on churches:

  • There are no restrictions on public worship which can continue as at present. Worship is not a social gathering and indeed in this time of national crisis it is more important than ever that Christians are gathering in prayer. Please though continue to stick to guidance to ensure that our churches are safe.
  • Likewise Occasional Offices can continue as at present with a maximum attendance of thirty (or twenty in those local authority wards where there are additional restrictions in place).
  • With regard to other meetings:
    • APCMs can proceed as planned
    • Our advice would be to hold PCC meetings online wherever possible. Whilst their status as trustee meetings means that we believe that they can be held physically, this should be avoided wherever possible.
    • Most other meetings (Bible Study Groups, Nurture Groups etc) are likely to be considered as a social gathering and so should move online. Meeting in houses are especially difficult because it is still only possible for two households to meet in one place indoors.
  • We will issue more guidance and ideas on ministry to children and young people next week.
  • Please don't push the boundaries! In drawing up plans, the question at the forefront of your minds should be not 'What can I get away with?' but 'What is safe?'

Local Developments

The infection rate in much of East Lancashire and Preston remains high. A PHE report last week suggested that in those parts of our diocese which are characterised by high population density, poor housing conditions and low paid work, the virus is endemic and infection rates may never have dropped.

This underlines the importance of adhering closely to the basic public health messages around cleaning hands, keeping distance and wearing a face covering. Please do continue to model and reinforce these messages.

Testing is another issue of concern locally with many people sent many miles for tests. We pray this is soon resolved, but meanwhile it is important to reinforce the message that you should seek a test if you are eligible or instructed to do so.

Bishop Julian's Maiden Speech in the House of Lords

Bishop Julian delivered his maiden speech in the House of Lords yesterday, praising the County of Lancashire for its diversity, beauty and achievements, while urging the Government to 'heed the voice of the North' particularly in relation to inequality between rich and poor which, he said, 'Covid 19 has only exacerbated and increased'. More here.

How to Lead an Online Christian Enquiry Course

A reminder of this zoom webinar which will cover both the practicalities of running the tech for an online course and also how to host a welcoming space online. Led by Claire Cooke (Curate at St Thomas' Church Lancaster), Jo Smith (Vicar at Euxton Parish Church) and Pete Tomkinson (M:Power Fylde Coast Training Hub Leader). Thursday 10th September at 7.30 pm to 8.30pm. To book, email: beingwitnesses@blackburn.anglican.org

We will be back on Friday with information about...

  • The latest on the Government regulations and any subsequent Church of England guidance
  • The #HomeGrown Diocesan Conference
  • The Day of Prayer for Schools on September 24th
  • Information on Sunday's worship and the Weekly Message
  • Who knows what else...?

The Coronavirus Email Address

If you have questions or problems, please get in touch: coronavirus@blackburn.anglican.org.

Please email if you are off work or shielding.

Keep us, good Lord,

under the shadow of your mercy

in this time of uncertainty and distress.

Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,

and lift up all who are brought low;

that we may rejoice in your comfort

knowing that nothing can separate us from your love

in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Yours,

The Coronavirus Task Group


Coronavirus Task Group Update 03/09/2020

Dear Friends,

We are richly blessed in our Diocese with our outstanding family of church schools which means that, amongst other things, many of you who read this briefing are deeply involved in the world of education.

These are anxious times for all involved in schools, colleges and universities as the new terms begins and as teachers and learners grow used to very different structures and routines. Whilst September 24th has been set aside as a special day of prayer for schools, please keep the praying going.

More generally the emotional roller-coaster keeps going with bad news followed by better news coming in almost hour by hour! Thank goodness we have a safe and sure stronghold to rely on in Jesus Christ who will never leave us. The faithful reassurance that we offer our communities through worship and open churches is critical at this time.

Video Message from Bishop Julian

The latest Weekly Video Message on the Diocesan YouTube channel is from Bishop Julian and it has a particular focus on this year's Bishops' Harvest Appeal which launches this week (more below).

Worship this Sunday

The Revd Sarah Gill is leading the next of our widely-appreciated multi-lingual services for 9am Live from the Diocese of Blackburn this Sunday. The preacher is Bishop Philip, speaking about how we can live God's future now through our words of hope and our love of justice. You can find this on the Diocesan YouTube Site which is here.

Worship is also available from the Cathedral from 9am onwards on Sunday. It can be viewed on the Cathedral website.

The Bishop's Harvest Appeal 2020 - Online Giving

This year the Harvest Appeal is supporting Tearfund and Friends of the Holy Land.

For more information click here to go to the new Appeal page on our Diocesan website.

As you will read on that page, this year for the first time you can now give online (as well as via more traditional routes like cheques). Please feel free to Share this direct link to anyone who may wish to give.

Bishop Julian says: "Please pray about the level of your support for the Appeal, which is a helpful reminder of the needs of those much less fortunate than ourselves. Out of our thankfulness may there be generosity, even in the uncertain and unsettling times of the coronavirus pandemic."

Local Restrictions

It takes some doing to keep up with fast-changing local restrictions to curb the spread of the virus. Burnley and Hyndburn Borough Councils were released from additional measures yesterday and are now in line with the rest of the country. However additional measures remain in place in parts of Blackburn with Darwen, Pendle and Preston. For up to date information look here.

Full Immersion Baptism

There is an update on the Church of England's advice on baptism which gives advice on how to conduct a baptism by full immersion. It can be found here.

Authorised Lay Ministry (ALM)

Many churches have discovered new lay leaders during the months of lockdown as unexpected people have stepped forward to take on responsibility in the life of the church or in the local community.

As part of the Lay Ministry Framework, this week the Diocese is launching a scheme to train and commission Authorised Lay Ministers who will be able to fulfil a variety of roles within the Parish. The ALM training comprises a Core Module followed by a series of options in areas such as pastoral care, children's ministry, youth ministry, preaching, worship leading and small group leadership.

Visit this page of the Diocesan website for an overview and information on finding out more. And from tomorrow you can watch an introductory video on YouTube. Click here to go to the Diocesan YouTube channel.

Autumn Festivals

A number of you are asking advice on how to plan worship for the festivals we keep in Autumn: Harvest, Remembrance, All Saints, All Souls etc. It is important that we go ahead with these events in the Christian year and many of them provide scope for imaginative worship that speaks to the needs of our communities. We will bring out some short notes with advice and ideas in the next couple of weeks.

The Coronavirus Email Address

If you have questions or problems, please get in touch: coronavirus@blackburn.anglican.org.

Please email if you are off work or shielding.

Keep us, good Lord,

under the shadow of your mercy

in this time of uncertainty and distress.

Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,

and lift up all who are brought low;

that we may rejoice in your comfort

knowing that nothing can separate us from your love

in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Yours,

The Coronavirus Task Group


Coronavirus Task Group Update 27/08/2020

Dear Friends,

The long-term impact of the pandemic is increasingly becoming apparent. Back in March there was an unspoken presumption that things would be 'back to normal' by September. The extent to which we are in this for the long-haul is now clear and clergy and lay leaders are going to need plenty of resilience as we get used to new routines, especially around worship, many of which we find awkward.

At the same time it is important to resist the temptation to retreat into 'maintenance mode' and limit our aims to keeping the show on the road. It's important to go on building and working with people on the fringe of church life, especially those still engaging with online worship and those we are serving. There is information below about a webinar about holding an online Nurture Course which can support you in this.

In addition, parishes will need to give some attention to how we can best engage with schools once term has begun at a time when visits may be limited or impossible. It's really important to find new ways to stay in touch with our schools and our DBE staff can help with this.

Worship this Sunday

The Blackburn Cathedral team will be leading 9am Live from the Diocese of Blackburn this Sunday. You can find this on the Diocesan YouTube Site which is here. It will also be on the Cathedral website. Watch any time from 9am on Sunday onwards.

Ministry to Children and Young People

Many of you will be thinking how you can re-start your ministry to the young, especially as term begins. There is advice from the Church of England here. It's under the FAQ section under the heading, 'Schools, Nurseries and Youth Provision.'

Day of Prayer for Schools

Please note that we are inviting all our Parishes to share in a Day of Prayer for Schools on Thursday September 24th. It is so important that we hold up school leaders, teachers, children and parents in prayer as they get used to new routines and seek to educate children whilst keeping the school community safe. More information nearer the time, but mark the date.

Harvest Festivals

There may be a temptation to cancel this and the other Autumn feasts and festivals. Don't! Hunger is increasingly an issue for families, especially in more deprived areas, and foodbank use continues to increase.

  • Avoid different people touching the same object when harvest donations are being given. It is best that it be laid down rather than handed over manually.
  • Some churches are remaining open for advertised periods of time for donations to be deposited.
  • Most foodbanks are keen to receive donations but ask that you leave the donations for 48 hours before passing on
  • More information soon on the Bishop's Harvest Appeal which this year will be supporting Tearfund and Friends of the Holy Land.

How to lead an Online Christian Enquiry Course

This zoom webinar will cover both the practicalities of running the tech for an online course and also how to host a welcoming space online. The group will speak from experience of having run Alpha and Start courses via zoom.

Led by Claire Cooke (Curate at St Thomas' Church Lancaster), Jo Smith (Vicar at Euxton Parish Church) and Pete Tomkinson (M:Power Fylde Coast Training Hub Leader)

Thursday 10th September at 7.30 pm to 8.30 pm

To book, email: beingwitnesses@blackburn.anglican.org

Warning: Is that email really from someone you know?

We want to make you aware of the recent rise in a particular type of 'scam' email being sent to parishes across The Church of England, including in this Diocese.

Recipients may think the email is genuine because the scammers usually pose as people you will be familiar with, such as Bishops, Archdeacons, other clergy, fellow parish officers or Diocesan staff. The email encourages people to purchase gift vouchers.
Be on your guard but please don't be alarmed as there are several tell-tale signs that can help identify the emails. If in doubt, anything that looks suspicious is better left unanswered and reported instead. Do not purchase anything. This article gives you more information; including what to look out for and how to report any rogue emails you receive.

The Coronavirus Task Group

Whilst meeting less frequently, the Task Group will continue to function for as long as necessary. We are focussing on the following areas of work:

  • Monitoring and passing on new advice and guidance
  • Keeping track of the local situation and passing on information about local restrictions
  • Scenario planning and devising mitigations against the various situations that are possible in Autumn
  • Collating deanery level information on clergy availability; for pastoral support and continuity of ministry purposes
  • Dealing with queries
  • Replying to emails sent to ...

The Coronavirus Email Address

If you have questions or problems, please get in touch: coronavirus@blackburn.anglican.org. Please email if you are off work or shielding.

Keep us, good Lord,

under the shadow of your mercy

in this time of uncertainty and distress.

Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,

and lift up all who are brought low;

that we may rejoice in your comfort

knowing that nothing can separate us from your love

in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Yours,

The Coronavirus Task Group


Coronavirus Task Group Update 20/08/2020

Dear Friends,

The holiday season may technically be in full swing, but there is no let-up in Coronavirus related news, and our prayers have surely been with our schools/colleges and young people this week as they have lived through the political drama over exam grades. More locally infection rates remain stubbornly high in certain parts of East Lancashire, especially in Pendle and parts of Blackburn.

Several premises in East Lancashire have been closed down by the Police in the past few days because they were not adhering to regulations. We don't want a church to be next on the list! As time passes it becomes very easy to grow lax and sloppy in observing measures such as social distancing, hand sanitising and not staying on for too long after services to socialise. Having a face covering is not enough - it needs to cover the mouth and nose to be of any use. Please do make sure that the public health messages continue to be emphasised, especially in the worst-affected areas.

We have information and updates today on:

  • Worship this Sunday
  • Church of England Advice
  • Live Performance and Choirs
  • PCC Meetings
  • APCMs and Annual Meetings of Parishioners
  • Quarantine Regulations
  • Holy Land Webinar

Worship this Sunday

This week:

  • 9am Live from the Diocese of Blackburn will be led this week by Archdeacon David. He will explore Jesus' invitation to his disciples: 'Who do you say I am?' It can be found on the Diocesan YouTube Site which is here.
  • You can also join in with worship from Blackburn Cathedral from 9am on Sunday which is on the Cathedral website.

Praying at Home

A reminder that St Laurence Chorley have been producing for the Diocese an excellent weekly resource that people can use to pray at home. This can be found on our website here

Church of England Advice

There is updated advice on a number of areas including live performance. This can be found here.

Live Performance in Church

Praise the Lord! How good it is to sing praises to our God; for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting. Psalm 147:1

With the easing of government restrictions on Friday 14th August is now possible for a small church choir or worship band to perform live in church which is fantastic news and a real answer to prayer. However, this is still not a return to worship as we all long it to be:

  • Choirs should not be re-started without a risk assessment and with the permission of the incumbent and churchwardens.
  • There must be no congregational singing inside any building. Face coverings must still be worn at all times except when leading an aspect of worship.
  • It is essential that all the restrictions around social distancing are adhered to by the band or choir. In many cases that will mean that not all members of a music group or choir will be able to perform at the same time.
  • There should be no sharing of sheet music, hymn books or sound amplification equipment between performers. Consider carefully how such equipment is distributed and if needed quarantined between performances.
  • Great care must be given to cleaning the areas used for performing particularly after a service. It may not be possible to have more than one service in a day if there is live music.
  • The risk to individual choir or band members must be seriously thought about and addressed. Performing live music is not risk free in the current climate and so it is appropriate to ask the question which band or choir members are essential to produce the music and focus on using those members as safely as possibly. Risks of spread by droplet production should be mitigated as much as possible. Each church will need to carry out its own risk assessment and mitigate risk, which may include the provision of plastic screens (as used at checkouts) between performers or between performers and the congregation, especially if they sit directly in front of them. Particular care should be taken around wind and brass instruments as well as singers.

PCCs

PCCs can now meet physically. However, if you can continue to meet virtually that clearly lessens the risk of the virus spreading and should for now remain the preferred option, especially in those areas of the Diocese where extra restrictions are in place.

If you do choose to meet physically, please ensure that all measures are in place, that people remain socially distanced, that you are in a large and well ventilated room and that face masks are worn. Please keep the meeting as short as reasonably possible.

APCMs and Annual Meetings of Parishioners

The full advice on APCMs is in the FAQ section of the Church of England website under Finance and Governance which is here

  • Currently APCM's need to have taken place by the end of October. There is a possibility that this may be extended until the end of November and we will bring you news of this should it happen.
  • The advice states that the APCM will ideally happen as a physical meeting. It can take place virtually but you will need to ensure that anybody who wishes is able to attend. This is especially so for the Annual Meeting of Parishioners.
  • If meeting physically, the limit of 30 people does not apply to APCM's, but if meeting in the church building you will need to stick to the limit that applies for acts of worship. Likewise if meeting in another space you should not exceed the risk-assessed number for that building.
  • There are particular complexities about the Meeting of Parishioners which elects Churchwardens. This is technically a public meeting so you cannot prevent people who are resident in the Parish from coming. In practice, however, very few churches are likely to be in the position of having to do so.
  • If meeting physically, please make sure that it is done in a Covid-secure way. That means all the normal measures about sanitising hands, social distancing and face coverings should be observed. Chair briskly, keep the meeting as short as possible and discourage people from hanging around afterwards.
  • There are particular issues for those parts of the Diocese that are currently living with added restrictions. It would be wise for such parishes either to hold the APCM virtually or not go ahead at this stage.

Quarantine Regulations

We are aware of some clergy and lay leaders who have been 'caught out' by the fast-changing quarantine regulations and suddenly find themselves having to self-isolate after a holiday abroad.

It would be helpful if clergy in this position informed us through the Coronavirus email address. It would be good also to inform your Local Network for support with cover for services.

Webinar on Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

Led by Archdeacon Mark Ireland

Thursday 27th August, 2 pm

To book, please email: beingwitnesses@blackburn.anglican.org

The Coronavirus Email Address

If you have questions or problems, please get in touch: coronavirus@blackburn.anglican.org. Please email if you are off work or shielding.

Keep us, good Lord,

under the shadow of your mercy

in this time of uncertainty and distress.

Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,

and lift up all who are brought low;

that we may rejoice in your comfort

knowing that nothing can separate us from your love

in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Yours,

The Coronavirus Task Group


Coronavirus Task Group Update 12/08/2020

Dear Friends,

As we talk to friends in different parts of the country, it's almost as if some imagine that the pandemic is in the past. With people away on holiday, with the pubs and restaurants open again, with infection rates low in many areas, there is a real danger of a complacency setting in, one which may well come back to bite us.

Here in Lancashire it feels very different. Last week Preston saw the return of some lockdown measures with a ban announced on visits to other people's homes. Pendle now has the highest infection rate in the country and Blackburn with Darwen lies in third. We know here full well how long it might take before we can see this pandemic as history rather than current news. And that means our continued praying and the conviction we bring to public worship is more important than ever.

Worship on Sunday

Don't miss this Sunday:

  • 9am Live from the Diocese of Blackburn will be led this week by Bishop Philip. It will explore the theme of vocation, using Mary as an example. It can be found on the Diocesan YouTube Site here
  • You can also join in with worship from Blackburn Cathedral from 9am on Sunday which is on the Cathedral YouTube Site here

Save the Date - Home Grown Diocesan Conference

We are planning a Home-Grown Online Conference. Starting 7.30pm on Tuesday 13th October to 9pm Wednesday 14th October.

All are welcome lay or ordained. Not compulsory. No charge.

The conference will be a Combination of worship, key-note speakers, discussion and webinars. It will be a chance to "meet" people from across the Diocese and find encouragement in each other.

Church of England Advice

The guidance on the use face coverings is unchanged but is now official. For reference it can be found here:

https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-churches

Preston

Confused wording has led to some alarm amongst churches in Preston about worship. Please note that no extra restrictions have been imposed on public worship which can go ahead if the usual guidance is carefully followed.

Webinars

A Rhythm of Life

Led by Fr Neil Kelley, Rector of St Laurence Chorley

Thursday 13th August, 2 pm

To book, please email: beingwitnesses@blackburn.anglican.org

Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

Led by Archdeacon Mark Ireland

Thursday 27th August, 2 pm

To book, please email: beingwitnesses@blackburn.anglican.org

The Coronavirus Email Address

If you have questions or problems, please get in touch: coronavirus@blackburn.anglican.org. Please email if you are off work or shielding.

Keep us, good Lord,

under the shadow of your mercy

in this time of uncertainty and distress.

Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,

and lift up all who are brought low;

that we may rejoice in your comfort

knowing that nothing can separate us from your love

in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Yours,

The Coronavirus Task Group


Coronavirus Task Group Update 06/08/2020

Dear Friends,

It's impossible not to feel a huge degree of pride in the clergy and lay leaders of the Diocese of Blackburn just at the moment. It was so good to witness the level of agility shown by our parishes during lockdown, both in the ways you have broadcast and livestreamed worship and the generosity with which so many of you reached out to serve your local communities.

And now that public worship is allowed once again, we have been delighted to see both the number of churches that have already been able to re-open alongside the intelligence and wisdom being brought to bear by those who, as yet, cannot. We are richly blessed in the Diocese of Blackburn by the dedication of the leadership God has sent us.

This is a fairly lengthy but important briefing with updates on the following:

  • Online worship on Sunday and a special Mother's Union service on Saturday
  • Face coverings - an important update which effects every Parish
  • PCC Meetings
  • UK Government financial measures in response to COVID-19
  • The Culture Recovery Fund
  • Advice on what to do if you are made aware that someone in the congregation has tested positive for COVID-19
  • Upcoming webinars

Worship on Sunday

Don't miss this weekend:

  • 9am Live from the Diocese of Blackburn is led this week by Bishop Jill. You can watch it at that time on Sunday via the Diocesan YouTube channel which is here.
  • You can also join in with worship from Blackburn Cathedral from 9am on Sunday which can be viewed via the Cathedral website.
  • This weekend we also have another video event (on Saturday) from our Mothers' Union celebrating their founder, Mary Sumner. The virtual Mary Sumner Day Service premieres at 2pm on August 8. More information and links.

Face coverings

Updated guidance on the use of face coverings in worship can be found here.

In summary...

Face coverings during worship. In England, face coverings are currently required by law to be worn in shops, supermarkets, indoor transport hubs, indoor shopping centres, banks, building societies, post offices and on public transport.

From 8 August, face coverings are also required by law to be worn in a greater number of public indoor settings including places of worship, museums, galleries, cinemas and public libraries.

There are valid exemptions for some individuals and groups to not wear a face covering in these settings. In particular, those who are leading services or events in a place of worship, and those who assist them (for instance by reading, preaching, or leading prayer) do not always need to wear a face covering, although one should be worn especially if physical distancing cannot be maintained (i.e. distributing communion). This exemption does not apply to worshippers, who should wear face coverings consistent with the requirements for any other public space.

Face coverings during weddings. Those exemptions will also cover the bride and groom at a wedding and those officiating/leading the wedding. This exemption does not apply to those observing the wedding, who should wear face coverings consistent with the requirements for any other public space.

There will be some people in our congregations who are exempt from wearing face coverings; it is important that these people are supported in their right to do so. It is also important that it is only for reasons expressed by the government. Please review the list of exemptions which can be found here.

PCC Meetings and APCMs

There has been some ambiguity nationally about the status of PCC meetings held online. Following national clarification, the Bishop of Blackburn will now given formal permission for PCCs to meet and make decisions via video-conferencing - effective tomorrow 7th August 2020.

It would be wise to consider ways of including PCC members who are unable to access the meetings online. This might include circulating papers in advance with a request to respond verbally before the meeting takes place. An alternative approach could be calling the person immediately prior to the meeting so they can listen in live by phone.

The Task Group will issue advice on APCMs in the next couple of weeks.

UK Government financial measures in response to COVID-19

The Church of England has produced new guidance in relation to the package of financial measures made by government in response to COVID-19, including an update on the Job Retention Scheme. This can all be found here.

A reminder that our HR Manager, Andy Cooke, remains on hand to offer advice to parishes on employment or furlough issues.

The Culture Recovery Fund

The Government has set out how organisations can apply for £880 million in grants from next week as part of the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund. Grants of up to £3 million will be available to protect important cultural assets.

The British Film Institute, Arts Council England, Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund have published guidance on how they will judge and distribute applications (follow links for details).

What to do if you are made aware that someone in the congregation has tested positive for COVID-19.

Remain calm. Someone testing positive for COVID-19 does not mean that they picked the infection up at church or that everyone attending that church service is at risk.

If social distancing measures have been in place; hand sanitiser use or handwashing has been instigated and the infected individual was wearing a face covering, then the risk to other individuals in the congregation is relatively small and most will not be designated as a contact by the track and trace service.

As you handle the situation, please ensure you think carefully about the pastoral implications for the individual concerned and those who may have been in contact with them and how you will manage those different pastoral needs in your local context.

Remember confidentiality and only use names and contact details with those who have a right to know because of their role, such as those working with the Track and Trace Service. In other conversations limit the information you share to what will enable people to take appropriate action themselves. Do not be pressurised into giving personal information unless you have the individual's consent to do so.

Source of information

You may receive information about a positive test from:

  • The individual themselves
  • NHS Track and trace service
  • Another health professional
  • A member of the community

Before you act verify the identity of the caller. If you are concerned take their details and call them back or ask for the details of the organisation they work for and contact them and verify their identity that way.

Clarify the information being given to you carefully. If you are not sure ask them to repeat the information. Make sure you have sufficient information to be able to act appropriately. If needed seek additional advice, particularly around the level of risk to you and your congregation, as well as the advice you need to be reinforcing.

Make sure you are clear if ...

  • ... you are being told that you or members of your congregation are being viewed as contacts. A 'contact' is a person who has been close to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 anytime from two days before the person was symptomatic and up to 10 days from onset of symptoms.
  • ... you are being informed that there has been a positive test but that you or the other people in your congregation are not thought to be contacts so do not have to self-isolate. You will still need to remain vigilant and act promptly if symptoms develop (fever, persistent cough, loss of taste or smell) by visiting NHS UK or contacting NHS 119.

Consider closing the church building for at least 48 hours and deep clean using appropriate gloves, face coverings and disposal aprons.

Track and trace teams may ask for a list of people who attended a service along with contact details, which you should share with them once you have verified their identity.

If you have been informed that you are a contact of a person who has had a positive test result for COVID-19, medical advice is clear: you must immediately self-isolate at home for 14 days from the date of your last contact with them.

Do not go to work, school, or public areas, and do not use public transport or taxis. More detailed guidance.

Please also ensure you email our coronavirus email address with the information.

Pastorally it would be appropriate to make contact with all members of the congregation affected, but particularly if any have been designated contacts. Identify any concerns and direct them to appropriate information and support as needed.

The Government has issued a set of steps for you to follow if more than one case is identified. Local Public health Officials may ask you take additional measures to manage the situation.

If you are not sure ask for advice from public health or from NHS track and trace.

Upcoming webinars

An Introduction to Online Retreats

Led by Ruth Hassall, Director of Discipleship

Tuesday 11th August, 10.30 am to 3 pm

To book, please email: beingwitnesses@blackburn.anglican.org

A Rhythm of Life

Led by Fr Neil Kelley, Rector of St Laurence Chorley

Thursday 13th August, 2 pm

To book, please email: beingwitnesses@blackburn.anglican.org

Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

Led by Archdeacon Mark Ireland

Thursday 27th August, 2 pm

To book, please email: beingwitnesses@blackburn.anglican.org

Please also note there are helpful digital resources on the Diocesan website produced by former BBC Producer Norman Ivison who attends St James' Church, Clitheroe. There is a new short digital course which people can register on and take for free as well as a downloadable document with further advice. More details and links here on our website.

The Coronavirus Email Address

If you have questions or problems, please get in touch: coronavirus@blackburn.anglican.org. Please email if you are off work or shielding.

Keep us, good Lord,

under the shadow of your mercy

in this time of uncertainty and distress.

Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,

and lift up all who are brought low;

that we may rejoice in your comfort

knowing that nothing can separate us from your love

in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Yours,

The Coronavirus Task Group



July Parish Magazine.


Hello Everyone,

I trust you are all getting through these tricky times ok; coping with the ups and downs. Time seems for me to fly as fast ever, and so I write to remind you that I'll be working on the mag next week when I know what I have to fit into the July edition. The advertised date for me to receive your contributions is . . . . . BEFORE JUNE 14th please It has been good to receive some items from new people as well as frequent contributors.Anyone in our communities is welcome to send something to help keep the magazine's content varied and fresh and hopefully providing something of interest for everyone. If you know of anyone you could encourage to join in, please do so. Children's ideas are welcome too. What they have found hard or what might they be enjoying? Anything of interest about the Home-schooling? How are folk now filling their lock-down days? Are any small relaxations helping? Suggestions and new ideas are often worth sharing?

Sometimes people post me items or even dictate over the phone.Remember, for emailed items I usually reply fairly quickly to tell of their safe arrival, so if you don't hear from me please try a re-send or ring 01772 683 827


With thanks

Sandy

PS - As always, thank you to the people who have already sent me a contribution for the next mag; sorry if you are being bothered by receiving this reminder in my bulk lists.

Below is a link to Bishop Jill's latest words of encouragement on YouTube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xY6_fCoYJFQ



Words from Bishop Jill to Families and Information from the Board of Education

Many parents are juggling work, child care, solving maths problems and setting new boundaries and routines. Some parents have suddenly found themselves out of work; some parents have found themselves with incredible demands at work.

Please give yourself plenty of slack in this time. I'm conscious that as Christians we are often super-dedicated to the cause. Mother Teresa once said: "If you want to change the world, go home and love your family". My best child-care advice as a new mum was from a nun(!) who observed how our children often reflect back our own moods to us. And anyone who has been couped up with a toddler for too long can totally understand why tantrums break out at the worst possible times. And that's just the parent! I finished a Zoom meeting with the North West bishops yesterday then went out to play football in the garden. I enjoyed both: though sometimes virtual kids and football with colleagues is tempting.

It can be hard thinking of new ideas to engage and enthuse our children. Can I recommend our marvellous Board of Education Website and Social Media pages. There you'll find lots of resources for children, teenagers, RE and collective and family worship. Take a look at Lisa Horobin's films "Off the Shelf". You might even meet her dog.

The Children's and Youth teams in the diocese have produced some fantastic resources, click on the links below:

https://www.bdeducation.org.uk/product-category/under-5s/

https://www.bdeducation.org.uk/product-category/primary-age-5-11/

https://www.bdeducation.org.uk/product-category/secondary-age/

https://www.bdeducation.org.uk/podcasts/

https://www.bdeducation.org.uk/product/podlets-discussion-notes/

https://www.bdeducation.org.uk/youth/youth-blog/

The team have been working hard to adapt many of the church focused resource to being home focused and for parents to use with their children and young people. The best way of keeping up with the new resources and those being adapted is through their Social Media pages, the links for which are below.

https://www.facebook.com/BDBEupdates/

https://twitter.com/BDBofE

https://www.instagram.com/bdbofe/

https://www.youtube.com/user/blackburndiocese

Jesus Himself faced cataclysmic threats. Herod was always out to kill him. I love his advice when living under that threat: "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough evil of its own" (Matt 6.34). May our Good Father give His peace and wisdom to parents and children at this time."

Live streaming weekday morning prayer - Ex parishioner, Anne Beverley, now priest at Christ Church, Wesham is providing this on alternate weekdays at 10am. Take part by joining their Facebook group, or by looking at their You tube channel:-

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCigVOWiV6aVxsXllWtJ7cGQ

 The videos will be stored there for you to use at any convenient time.

The Church of England is streaming daily services enabling people to link up - just google C of E

They are provided in contemporary and traditional forms. You can do this without an I-pad or computer if you've a Smart speaker such as Alexa or Google home. Just say, "Alexa open the Church of England" OR "Hey Google, talk to the Church of England" and then ask for the daily service.

Television, Radio Schedules will inform of services and programmes offering religious encouragement and Smart-phone Apps will be useful too.

Remember also to use this website.

We are aiming to provide links to many of the items above.

Also the Vicar of our benefice, Rev Philip Chew, intends as far as possible

to post a fresh 'Thought for the day' and a regularly updated prayer.


This page replaces the magazine's usual list of services at St Nicholas and St Matthew's. and underneath is an explanation of plans made to assist our church and community in coping with the restrictions caused by the current emergencies.

"Do not be frightened or dismayed for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."

Joshua 1:9


.

St Nicholas Wrea Green Parish Continuity Plan 


Use of Church

  • Our Churches will remain open as normal for prayer and reflection

Hand Sanitizers to be obtained and placed near to the inner doors

  • There are prayer stations within church with prayers written by specific groups: - Jam, LCF, Men's Breakfast and the weekly prayer rota
  • We will support Fylde Foodbank with donations and possibly offer assistance with the manning
  • Funerals, Baptisms, and Weddings can go ahead but with only immediate family or the minimum required by law. This is subject to review

Communication

  • The Web site www.stnicholaschurchwreagreen.com is updated on a regular basis with news and prayers and words of comfort and encouragement. Links to COE web site and those churches who stream services will be made available
  • Poster/Notices in porch and on the notice board
  • Church bells will be rung each day at 12.00 noon
  • Everyone is invited to place a candle in a window in the home to be lit each Sunday at 7:00pm to show the light of Christ never goes out.
  • A letter will be distributed informing each house what we are doing and how to contact people will be delivered
  • The Easter Cross to be erected on the Green near to church subject to permission from Parish Council
  • The April Parish Magazine will have articles of support for the foodbank and services added or modified.

Pastoral Care

the Church will offer support to Wrea Green Coronovirus Helpers,.

  • As a Church we will continue to offer wherever possible Pastoral care by phone but not necessarily with house visits
  • We will contact all the vulnerable we know and offer help or put them in touch with Wrea Green Coronovirus Helpers. A list has been produced by Stanley Parkinson
  • If possible this same group to offer support in Weeton and Ballam
  • Soundings to be taken to see if we can put the Helpers group in touch with appropriately trained counsellors
  • To encourage people to ask for help if they need it

Social Activities and Use of the Centre

  • Nicholas Bear Club, Wednesday Get Together and Tea and Tea Cakes and other social gatherings have been cancelled.