COVID-19

15 May 2020

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 is in addition to the update below, published on 22 April 2020. Current arrangements will continue to be reviewed regularly and this policy will be updated as and when necessary.

We continue to pray for you and encourage you to respond in this time of trouble with wisdom, faith and generosity.

Useful Information

Latest Government Guidance

NHS Information & Advice

Staff and Premises

All staff who are not furloughed will continue to work from home for the time being where possible. However, we are now putting measures in place for a limited number of staff and volunteers to work from our premises when it is necessary for them to do so.

A Risk Assessment of our premises is being 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 will be displayed in each of our premises and staff/volunteers will be required to read the Risk Assessment and 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)

Whilst the church offices are closed (or partially closed) the main Family Church contact number (0300 302 0090) will continue to be manned, 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday. Messages will be passed via email to the relevant leaders/staff as required.

Support

We are so proud of our church family for remaining well connected with one another at this time and for the support and assistance that has been provided through prayer and friendship, as well as in practical ways where possible. Please let us know if you have any need for support that we may not be aware of.

New government guidance (published 11th May) allows people to spend time outdoors and to meet up with one other person from a different household, providing social distancing guidelines are followed:

Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can’t do

We are therefore happy for Family Church leaders and members of our Pastoral Support Team to meet up with individuals in an outdoor setting, as long they are both in good health (with no symptoms of coronavirus) and follow social distancing guidelines. All members of our Pastoral Support Team must also adhere to the guidance in our Pastoral Support Team Handbook.

Please also refer to this government guidance: Staying safe outside your home

We encourage everyone to look out for each other, whilst applying wisdom and following government advice on hygiene and social distancing.

22 April 2020

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. Please be assured that our aim will be to resume normal activities as soon as government policy allows.

We continue to pray for you and encourage you to respond in this time of trouble with wisdom, faith and generosity.

Psalm 37:39-40 (TPT)

But the Lord will be the Savior of all who love him. Even in their time of trouble God will live in them as strength. Because of their faith in him, their daily portion will be a Father’s help and deliverance from evil. This is true for all who turn to hide themselves in him!

Useful Information

Latest Government Guidance

NHS Information & Advice

Family Church Buildings

In light of the fact that every UK citizen is required to comply with the continued measures to stay at home and practice social distancing, our buildings will remain closed. Specific key workers will continue to access our buildings for specific reasons, with strict hygiene and distancing measures in place. Further details below.

All staff who are not furloughed will continue to work from home but the main Family Church contact number (0300 302 0090) will continue to be manned, 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday. Messages will be passed via email to the relevant leaders/staff as required.

Support

We are so proud of our church family for remaining well connected with one another at this time and for the support and assistance that has been provided through prayer and friendship, as well as in practical ways where possible. Please let us know if you have any need for support that we may not be aware of. We encourage everyone to look out for each other, whilst applying wisdom and following government advice on hygiene and social distancing.

Sunday Services

  • No Sunday gatherings in any of our locations until further notice.
  • Live broadcast via family.church every Sunday at 10:30am.
  • Also available via YouTube and the Family Church Facebook Page.
  • Viewers will be given the opportunity to submit prayer requests and to give tithes and offerings online.
  • Parents of children who usually attend Kids Church (Little Stars, Rising Stars, All Stars) will be sent an email each week with resources that can be looked at with their children on Sundays or during the week.
  • Each congregation will also hold virtual meetings via Zoom every Sunday at 10:00am – 10:30am and then for a short time immediately after the Sunday broadcast. This is in place of the usual ‘hangout’ before/after our church services. Details via email to church members.
  • Kids Church at Home Live will also take place every Sunday at 3pm via Zoom for children who usually attend Rising Stars or All Stars – parents/carers are required to be with their children for the duration of Kids Church at Home Live.

Giving

  • Church members are encouraged to give tithes and offerings by standing order or BACS, or via the Family Church app or website: family.church/give
  • We have now set up a donations page on the church website, providing an opportunity for church members and the public to contribute financially towards the work of Family Church in the community during this time. This is for any donations that people wish to give in addition to their usual tithes. All donations given via this page will be used to support people in our community: family.church/covid-19-support

Church Activities

Bible Study with Pastor Gina

Talking Church with Pastor Andy

Virtual Meetings/Hangouts

  • No actual gatherings will be taking place until further notice – this includes Connect Groups, Momentum Youth, Established, Prayer Meetings, Men’s Breakfasts, Leaders Meetings, Band Practices, Presence and other worship evenings.
  • However, the majority of our Connect Groups are now holding virtual (online) meetings using platforms like Zoom.
  • Opportunities for Bible studies, worship times and prayer meetings will also be provided (via social media and virtual meetings). This varies for each congregation and details are provided via email and on social media.
  • Virtual meetings aimed at children under 11 years old will be hosted by an authorised member of our children’s team and will be with parents/carers who can then choose whether to include their children in the meeting. 
  • Virtual meetings aimed at young people aged 11 years + will be hosted by an authorised member of our youth team. Parents/carers will be informed of any such meetings that are arranged.

Discipleship Courses

  • Our Discovery, Freedom in Christ and Marriage for Beginners courses are currently on hold.
  • Empower Bible Academy (EBA) is running on Monday evenings as a virtual classroom. Details have been sent to all students.

Community

Community projects and events are currently subject to the following arrangements:

  • Portsmouth:
    • Food Bank – open to referrals which can still be collected from the Empower Centre Portsmouth on Thursdays between 10:30am and 12:30pm. However, the majority of referrals are now being delivered directly to homes. Authorised volunteers are doing shopping, stock control, preparing food hampers for distribution, receiving referrals, operating the Food Bank on Thursdays, organising deliveries, and making deliveries.
    • Baby Basics – open to referrals which are being delivered directly to homes. Authorised volunteers are doing shopping, stock control, preparing Moses baskets/packs for distribution, receiving referrals, organising deliveries, and making deliveries.
    • Drop In –  will not run until further notice.
    • Homeless Outreach – will not run until further notice.
    • Tots & Toys – will not run until further notice.
    • Music Makers – will not run until further notice.
    • Messy Church – will not run until further notice.
    • Easter Kids Club – cancelled.
    • Easter Egg Hunt – cancelled.
    • Portsmouth Fun Day – awaiting further information from the government.
  • Gosport & Bridgemary:
    • Food Bank – open to referrals which are being delivered directly to homes. Authorised volunteers are doing shopping, stock control, preparing food hampers for distribution, receiving referrals, organising deliveries, and making deliveries.
    • Easter Giveaway – cancelled.
    • Gosport Fun Day – cancelled. A Christmas Fun Day will be held in place of this year’s Fun Day.
  • Havant & Waterlooville:
    • Community Dinner – will not run until further notice.
    • Tots & Toys – will not run until further notice.
    • Easter Open Day – cancelled.
    • Easter Giveaway – cancelled.
    • Havant Fun Day – awaiting further information from the government.
  • Waterside:
    •  Soccer Saturday – will not run until further notice.
    • Good Friday meal for the elderly – cancelled.
    • Waterside Fun Day – awaiting further information from the government.
  • Guildford:
    • Messy Church – will not run until further notice.

Safeguarding

The following guidance has been given to our children’s and youth teams regarding video connections with children and young people:

Under 11’s

  • Connecting with individual children (even with parents present) is not advised.
  • The children’s pastors/leaders are being encouraged to film videos that can be sent out to all parents via email for them to show their children and/or for leaders to do Facebook/Instagram live broadcasts that families can choose to log onto.

Youth

If authorised youth leaders wish to connect with young people via a video meeting they must ensure:

  • At least two youth workers (one must be the main congregational youth leader) to always be present. No youth to be invited onto call until two leaders are present on the call. Should there be only two youth leaders on call and one of them drops out due to signal issues etc, the call must be put on hold until there are two youth leaders present again.
  • Youth cameras to be set to OFF at the start of the call, and youth invited to turn their camera on when they are ready.

Key Workers

Those congregations utilising volunteers for shopping and for preparation and delivery of essential support to families must fully adhere to church policy (including Pastoral Support and Safeguarding) and latest government guidelines. Strict hygiene and distancing measures must be implemented at all times. Please refer to the following government publications:

Staying at home and away from others (social distancing)

Coronavirus: How to help safely

Only those who have been authorised by the church leadership will be permitted to work or volunteer in this way. All authorised Key Workers will be provided with Key Worker letters, ID badges, car posters and Family Church Team T-shirts.

Religious Workers

Specific leaders and members of the church will continue to be involved in producing the broadcast of our Sunday services. We will continue to adhere to government guidance, which states that, ‘A minister of religion or worship leader may leave their home to travel to their place of worship. A place of worship may broadcast an act of worship, whether over the internet or otherwise.’

The government have clarified that ‘a minister of religion’ can include lay leaders, and volunteer camera operators and technicians can be included assuming they maintain appropriate social distance. The number of people involved should be kept to an absolute minimum and if travel and bringing people together can be avoided this is preferable.

Please refer to the following Government Guidance – Closing Certain Businesses and Venues (see section on ‘Places of Worship’ under ‘Non-Residential Institutions’):

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close

Please also refer to guidance from the Evangelical Alliance UK:

https://www.eauk.org/resources/what-we-offer/churches-and-the-coronavirus

Only those who have been authorised by the church leadership will be permitted to work or volunteer in this way and strict hygiene and distancing measures must be implemented at all times. All authorised Religious Workers will be provided with Religious Worker letters.