The Senior Leadership Team of Family Church continues to meet each week to discuss our response to the latest UK Government guidance regarding COVID-19.
This update replaces all previous updates. Current arrangements will continue to be reviewed regularly and this policy will be updated as and when necessary. We have produced a set of frequently asked questions, which is available on the website for easier access.
We continue to pray for you and encourage you to respond in this time of trouble with wisdom, faith and generosity.
Sunday Morning Gatherings
The latest government guidance for places of worship and religious gatherings can be found here (click here to view). Having reviewed this guidance and taken advice from the Assemblies of God (of which Family Church is a member) we have decided that our main Sunday morning service will remain online for the time being. We are constantly reviewing this position as new information and guidelines are published.
Our desire and aim is to gather again physically for Sunday morning services as soon as possible, but we won’t do so until we consider the physical gathering to provide a better experience for people than our online services currently do. When we regather it must be sustainable for our congregational teams and as positive an experience for church members as possible. Click here to watch a message from Pastor Steve Carey about this decision (published 6th August).
We are, however, at a stage where we can recommence small gatherings, such as prayer meetings and Bible studies, in some of our locations. Capacity in our venues is going to be very much reduced (due to government guidelines on distancing) and there will be various measures in place to ensure good hygiene and the safety of those attending. Such measures include specific windows of time for arrival and departure, the wearing of face masks, the use of hand sanitiser, and restrictions on the level of participation that attendees can have. All attendees must pre-register and attendance will be recorded in order to support the NHS Track & Trace Programme. When registering, attendees will be provided with full details of what the event will look like and a Hosting Team will be provided at each gathering to assist.
Sunday Night Local
Since 19th July we have been running Sunday Night Local – an online event for each of our UK congregations. Sunday Night Local runs each Sunday at 8pm on our YouTube Channel (FC Live) and is an opportunity for church members to hear a Bible teaching from their Congregational Pastor (or another leader from the local team).
Following updated government guidance we are in support of church members meeting up with one another, providing all guidance is followed.
From Monday 14 September, when meeting friends and family you do not live with (or have formed a support bubble with) you must not meet in a group of more than 6, indoors or outdoors. This is against the law and the police will have the powers to enforce these legal limits, including to issue fines (fixed penalty notices) of £200, doubling for further breaches up to a maximum of £3,200.
For more information, see the ‘Meeting with others safely (social distancing)’ guidance.
We would like every church member to join a Connect Group. During winter it may be more complicated to meet outside, and therefore Zoom meetings may be the preferred option. Each group leader is responsible for ensuring their group adheres to government guidelines, as stated above. Please note that if meeting indoors, the ‘rule of 6’ includes all those in the home (e.g. adults or children in other rooms, children asleep upstairs).
Momentum Youth has been continuing online throughout the lockdown period, but we are excited that in some of our locations the young people will soon be physically regathering, following the ‘out of school settings’ government guidance. This means that the ‘rule of 6’ does not apply. However, numbers are limited to 15 young people per group and parents/carers must pre-register their young person for a group. Full details will be sent out to you soon by your congregation’s youth team.
In addition to the Fun Days, there were a number of outreaches planned over the summer holidays and the Autumn term. The decision was made to not run any activities that would involve physical gatherings. However, a number of our outreaches are still going ahead as online activities.
We aren’t expecting to be able to restart any of our groups (such as Tots & Toys, Messy Church, etc.) until January 2021. Current restrictions make these events very difficult to run with any sort of effectiveness, but we continue to support communities through phone calls, food hampers, meals, online content, etc.
Please contact your Congregational Pastor or community leader to find out what’s happening in your location.
Momentum Summer Camp
Although this year’s Summer Camp was cancelled, the youth team were able to organise online alternatives! We’ve been able to move our venue booking to next August, so Summer Camp 2021 is now in the calendar for 16th to 20th August 2021. More information to follow.
The Men’s Advance 2020, that was due to take place on the 1st to 3rd October, has now been cancelled. However, we have been able to secure the same venue (Ashburnham Place in East Sussex) for next year – Thursday 21st to Saturday 23rd October 2021.
If you have made a payment and wish to receive a refund please contact the church office; otherwise any deposit/payment that you have made will be transferred to next year’s event. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.
We encourage you to stay connected with the church programme and with one another. Please look out for updates via email as well as on the Family Church website and on our Facebook Page (@thisisfamilychurch).
Please look out for one another, reach out to those who are isolated and vulnerable (in a safe and considerate way), and work out ways to provide support where needed. If you require any support on a pastoral level, or on a practical level – or if you become aware of someone else who does – please get in touch. We will always do our best to help.
Staff and Premises
We now have a limited number of staff and volunteers working from our premises. Those who are able to work from home will continue to do so and this will be reviewed on a regular basis in accordance with the most recent announcement on 22nd September 2020. Risk Assessments have been written to cover all activities of staff and volunteers working in our offices, as well as key staff and volunteers involved with our community ministries. Government posters have been displayed in each of our premises and staff/volunteers are required to adhere to guidance on good hygiene and safe working practice, including distancing measures that continue to be in place. For more information please refer to the following government guidance:
See section 8 (Deliveries to the home)
The main Family Church contact number (0300 302 0090) is manned 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday. Messages will be passed via email to the relevant leaders/staff as required.