Family Church

COVID-19 RESPONSE

Frequently Asked Questions

When will we be physically meeting again for Sunday morning services?

At this present time, we have made the decision to keep our Sunday morning services online. We are constantly reviewing this position, and are keen to gather physically again as soon as it is possible for us to do so effectively and sustainably.

Why have we made this decision?

There are a number of factors that contribute towards the decision to not yet physically regather for our main Sunday morning services. In many of our locations, we hire schools and community facilities and so are having to work with them on reopening. Many of the current restrictions (including around singing and socialising – please see below) also prevent us from the style of worship and community we so value. When we regather, we want it to be as positive an experience for church members as possible.

What is happening in the meantime?

As well as a large amount of online content, there are a growing number of smaller gatherings (prayer meetings, worship nights) taking place in many of our locations. Keep an eye out for emails and on social media for local congregational updates. You can also keep up to date with Family Church events here.

What is the new ‘rule of 6’?

As of 14th September, gatherings of more than six people are now illegal in any setting either indoors or outdoors. This number of 6 includes children. Single households, or support bubbles that are larger than six, will still be able to gather together. Full details can be found here.

Does the new ‘rule of 6’ affect the smaller gatherings we have recently restarted?

No, places of worship are exempt from this rule, 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. There is a limit of 30 people allowed at funerals, 15 people at weddings, and 6 at dedications and baptisms.

Can I socialise with people at these gatherings?

You must not attend in groups larger than six unless everyone is from the same household or support bubble. Government advice is to limit your interaction to the group you are attending with. This means that up to six people may arrive together, or go to the park together after the service, but not interact with other people while at church.

Can we sing at these gatherings?

In keeping with current government guidelines, whilst our worship teams are able to sing and lead worship (in a safe way, following specific guidance), congregational singing is not currently taking place at our gatherings.

Do I need to wear a face covering at these gatherings?

Yes. Wearing a face covering in places of worship is now mandatory by law. There are a few exemptions to this ruling, which you can find here. This exemption includes those who are leading the service/gathering.

Do I need to register for these gatherings?

Yes, due to reduced capacity we are running a booking system for all of our gatherings. You can book for any event by clicking here.

When will Momentum Youth be restarting?

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 schools setting’ 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.

What is currently available for my children?

For children who would normally attend Little Stars, Rising Stars or All Stars as part of our Sunday morning services, our team are sending our weekly emails with kids church materials that you can do with your children on Sunday or another time during the week. We are also running ‘Kids Church Online’ every Sunday at 3pm, for primary school aged children.   For further details, email [email protected]

Are Connect Groups still running?

Yes. We have lots of Connect Groups running in all of our locations on a weekly basis. A lot of these groups are meeting online, but others are meeting together in-person. When meeting together in-person, the group must not exceed 6 people. You can find a full list of our Connect Groups here.

Can my Connect Group meet in a home?

Yes. However, the maximum number of people who can meet is 6 (including family members in other rooms, if meeting in a home) and all social distancing measures should be in place.

What about inviting some people around to my house to watch online church together?

Great idea! We’d encourage you to do this if possible. However, just keep in mind that the maximum number of people you can do this with is 6, including children. Social distancing guidelines should also be followed between members of different households.

What about our community initiatives?

We aren’t expecting to be able to restart any of our groups (such as Tots & Toys, Community Dinner, Messy Church, etc.) before 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, family support, online content, etc.

I am finding this time extremely difficult and need some support. Is there anyone I can speak to?

You don’t have to do this journey alone! If you need support, please contact us by emailing [email protected] or phoning 0300 302 0090 (our Portsmouth office will then put you in touch with someone local to you).

DO you have any other questions?

FAQ

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).

 

Other Gatherings

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).

 

Meeting Others

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.

 

Connect Groups

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 

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.

 

Community Outreach

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.

 

Men’s Advance

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.

 

Stay Connected

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:

 

Guidance for employers and businesses on coronavirus (COVID-19)

Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19): Offices and contact centres

Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19): Other people’s homes

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.

 

Useful Information

Latest Government Guidance

NHS Information & Advice

Latest Government Guidance Regarding Places of Worship

Latest Government Guidance Regarding Out of School Settings (Kids Church and Momentum)