Please note: The Government guidelines for this current national lockdown (in terms of its impact on Places of Worship) remain the same as ‘Tier 4: Stay at Home’, in that places of worship are able to remain open with Covid-secure measures in place. As such, the answers in these FAQs remain relevant during the National Lockdown of January 2021.
UPDATE: Following recent announcements on local restrictions, all of our congregations fall into the ‘Stay at Home’ category of Tier 4.
In general, the local restrictions mean that you must not meet socially indoors with family or friends unless they are part of your household or support bubble. You can only meet one person from another household in some outdoor public places (children under 5 do not count as part of this limit of two people). Full details can be found here.
Places of worship can reopen in any ‘tier’, although everyone must still adhere to social distancing guidance. There is no maximum limit on the number of people who may attend a place of worship for the majority of gatherings/services – this is subject to the capacity of the building. When attending a place of worship in a ‘Tier 4’ area, you cannot interact or socialise with anyone outside of your household or support bubble, you will need to wear a face covering and as outlined in government guidance, only the worship team are permitted to sing.
We are pleased to say that our Food Banks and Baby Basics outreach programmes have been relatively unaffected, and will continue to run over this time with Covid-secure measures fully in place.
Please see below for a more detailed breakdown of our current response to Covid-19 Guidance:
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 has remained the same over the past few months – 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 resuming some of our 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 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).
All of our congregations currently fall into the ‘Stay at Home’ category of Tier 4. To see what you can and can’t legally do in a ‘Tier 4’ area, please click here.
Meeting indoors – you can only meet socially with friends and family indoors if you live with them, have formed a support bubble with them or unless a legal exemption applies.
‘Indoors’ means any indoor setting, including private homes and pubs and restaurants.
Meeting outdoors – you can only meet one person from another household in some outdoor public places (children under 5 do not count as part of this limit of two people).
For more information, please click here
We would like every church member to join a Connect Group. These are currently being held online.
As ‘Out of School’ activities for children and young people are not allowed to run in a Tier 4 area (other than in very specific situations), Momentum Youth are currently unable to meet ‘in-person’. Our youth team will keep parents/carers updated and in the meantime will look to run online activities.
In addition to our annual Fun Days, there were a number of outreaches planned over the Summer, Autumn and now Winter 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 Easter 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. 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.