New lockdown affects churches

A national lockdown from Thursday 5 November until at least 2 December means that churches in England will again close for in-person gatherings for worship.  The Gov.uk website (England) says:

Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people, and it is advised that only close friends and family attend. Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies will not be permitted to take place except in exceptional circumstances. Places of Worship will be closed, unless they are being used for:

•    Funerals
•    To broadcast acts of worship
•    Individual prayer
•    Formal childcare or where part of a school
•    Essential voluntary and public services, such as blood donation or food banks
•    Other exempted activities such as some support groups

Frequently Asked Questions about the lockdown have been posted on the Government website (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november) which includes places of worship.

Track and Trace App

All churches should generate and display an official NHS Test & Protect QR code poster from 24 September. Currently, the Governments in England and Wales are strongly encouraging places of worship amongst others to display the QR Code poster, rather than requiring it. The United Reformed Church strongly encourages churches in England and Wales that are open for any purpose to comply with this. Read the information, including how to generate the poster, here

For latest Coronavirus updates, please visit the URC website https://urc.org.uk/coronavirus.html

New reality, same mission

The URC has also published a new booklet New reality, same mission: A stimulus to renewed community engagement as we emerge from the pandemic. The resource is complementary to the Ready for the new ‘normal’ booklet and uses questions in that paper as its starting-point. The booklet offers a process for exploring questions of community presence and engagement and social justice in the 'new normal' and developing new priorities for mission and ministry. Download it here  

Communications advice

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Has 2020 made you reconsider your church communications? Has this been the time to move to an email magazine? You could use free options like  Mailchimp.com for great templates, which also gives you control over evaluation of who reads it and information on who clicks through to links. 

You can also adapt templates with images and text boxes. See our How To guide of how to use Mailchimp for your e-newsletter. Contact our Communications Officer if you would like to explore this option and feel uncertain about how to proceed. 

If however you think this is the perfect time to up your game on your printed magazine, we have a new resource available. How to produce a great church magazine covers basics and tips including font and design. It encourages you to take stock and review where you are before moving forward, and gives advice on how to turn a basic newsletter into a professional looking publication. Download the pdf here.

Template web imageWe're also offering a service to churches who want to have a new website, to have use of our template website. So we've developed the look - but you personalise it with text and images. Get in touch if you would like to talk about this.

For any of the above contact communications@urcmerseysynod.org.uk

Streaming services and other resources

The URC national team have created a web section which includes government advice, prayers, ideas and resources, lists of churches who are streaming services and how to stay connected through WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and Zoom. Visit their web section here