Family Church

COVID-19 Response

COVID-19 RESPONSE

UPDATE: In Person Meetings Postponed – Click “More Info” below to find out more

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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 keen to gather physically again as soon as it is possible for us to do so effectively and sustainably and we are looking  to restart Kids Church on Sundays as soon as possible. You can read more about this decision by clicking on the Kids Church FAQs.

Why have we made this decision?

Many of the current restrictions (including around singing and socialising – please see below) prevent us from the style of worship and community we so value. When we regather on Sunday mornings, 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.

All of our Family Church congregations are currently located in Tier 4 areas. What does this mean?

To see what you can and can’t legally do in a ‘Tier 4’ area, please click here.

Does the ‘rule of 6’ still apply?

In ‘Tier 4’ areas, you cannot meet other people indoors unless you live with them or they are part of your 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.

Do the ‘tiers’ affect the smaller gatherings we have been running?

No, places of worship can remain open 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. 

Can I socialise with people at these gatherings?

When attending a place of worship in a ‘Tier 4’ area, you cannot interact with anyone outside of your household or support bubble.

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?

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.

What is currently available for my children?

We are looking  to restart Kids Church on Sundays as soon as possible Please see more details by clicking on Kids Church FAQs.

Our team continues to send out weekly emails with Kids Church materials that parents can do with their children and there is a weekly ‘Kids Church at Home’ session that runs on Zoom each Sunday at 3pm.  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. These groups are currently meeting online. You can find a full list of our Connect Groups here.

Can my Connect Group meet in a home?

At the moment, indoor household mixing is not allowed in a ‘Tier 4’ area.

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 Easter 2021. Current restrictions make these events very difficult to run with any sort of effectiveness, but we will continue to support local people 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).

What is the plan?

Our initial plan of restarting Kids Church across Family Church each Sunday as of the 10th January has had to be temporarily paused. This is because ‘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).  

However, we are continuing to plan so that we are able to restart on the very first Sunday that guidelines allow. To begin with, Kids Church will be open to school aged children and we will look to expand the age groups to include pre-school children as and when we can.

In the meantime, our team continues to send out weekly emails with Kids Church materials that parents can do with their children and there is a weekly ‘Kids Church at Home’ session that runs on Zoom each Sunday at 3pm.

Why are we starting by regathering the children first?

There are a few reasons for making this decision. As a church leadership, we feel that over the past year, the age group in church who have missed out the most are the children and young people. This is despite the fact that our kids and youth teams have provided amazing resources and opportunities for our children to connect!


What is driving us is this statement that Jesus made: “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them” (Matthew 19:14).  We want to do everything within our power to help our children and young people grow their relationship with Jesus.

When will the adults regather?

We are committed to regathering the adults of Family Church on a Sunday morning as soon as possible. We will continue to provide frequent updates as we move towards being able to do this. In the meantime, our Sunday morning online service will continue to run, as well as other online content and in-person gatherings across our locations (outside of Sunday mornings). You can keep up to date with Family Church events here.

When Kids Church relaunches, what kind of measures will be in place to ensure the safety of children and the Kids Church team?

Following the Government’s guidance, we will implement a number of health and safety measures, including:

  • Children will use hand sanitiser or wash their hands as soon as they arrive and have been registered into Kid’s Church.
  • Social distancing measures will be adhered to at all times. Adults will remain 1m+ away from children. The children themselves will be reminded throughout the duration of the event to remain a safe distance from one another. To help with this, the church will be supplying coloured markers to show the children where to sit on the floor.
  • Any games that the children play will be ‘non-contact’.

Face coverings are not required to be worn by the children, but all workers will be wearing visors throughout the event.

Will the children be in ‘bubbles’ like at school?

Yes. When we relaunch, Kids Church (and the specific groups your child may be used to attending) will look a little different to normal. Kids Church groups will be run in groups of a maximum of 15 children (plus any staff/volunteer leaders) that effectively become a ‘bubble’. Once these groups have been established, they will not change or be mixed unless absolutely necessary. Whilst planning for our relaunch, we continue to form these ‘bubbles’ so that we are ready to ‘GO’ as soon as guidelines allow.

Will the regathering plan be the same across all the congregations?

No. The plan for your local congregation will be determined by a number of factors including venue size, the number of Kids Church workers available, the number of parents who show interest in their children attending, etc.

Keep an eye out for emails and on social media for local congregational updates.

When we relaunch, will parents still be sent weekly Kids Church activities to do at home if they can’t access Kids Church at their location?

Yes. For children who would normally attend our Little Stars, Rising Stars or All Stars groups, our team will continue to send out weekly emails with kids church materials that parents can do with their children.

I’m not currently a Kids Church worker, but would like to volunteer. Can I help? 

Absolutely! We will be needing extra Kids Church volunteers at this time. In order for you to be a part of our amazing team, we will need you to undertake our ‘Safer Recruitment’ process which includes completing an online DBS. Our Safeguarding Team will guide you through the process. All we need you to do is to contact your local congregation to let them know you would like to be involved. Thank you in advance!

Can I help out in other ways?

Yes, we will also be needing some volunteers for the Hosting Teams and Set-up Teams. Please contact your local congregation if you can help out in this way.

If you have any further questions not covered by the above, please contact [email protected]

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

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).

Other Gatherings

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).

Meeting Others

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

Connect Groups

We would like every church member to join a Connect Group. These are currently being held online.

Momentum Youth 

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.

Community Outreach

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.

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. 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