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Support: Additional information for London parishes

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Answers to queries raised by London parishes.

Church buildings

Are churches open?

The Church continues to be alive and active but in London our buildings have now closed not only for all public worship but for private prayer. Please click here to read the letter sent to all parishes on Sunday 22 March.

Is worship continuing?

The church is maintaining its pattern of daily prayer, of being together in community, and of caring for those in need, but in new and different ways. Church websites will give more details of what is accessible online and see also A Church Near You for information on churches which are live streaming.

APCM and elections 2020

In view of the challenging times which we are all facing at present, it has been decided to extend considerably the deadlines for the holding of Annual Meetings this year.

In particular,

  • APCMs and Meetings of Parishioners to choose churchwardens can be held up until 31 October 2020 (instead of 31 May);
  • Elections of deanery synod members, and members of the PCC therefore also take place up until 31 October;
  • Current deanery synod members continue in office until 30 November. They will comprise the electorate in the General Synod election this year.
  • Churchwardens who were chosen in 2019 continue to hold office until 31 January 2021, unless their successors are admitted to office before that.

Further details can be found in the Bishop’s Instrument and the Explanatory Note at the end, which can be read here.

Use of Church Halls

What should I do about hall hires or the lessee using the hall?

If you let your hall on a casual hire basis the hire for all public meetings should stop.

If your hall is leased to a third party, a nursery for example, it is for the nursery to make their decision based on the Government advice.

What do I do if the hall tenant says they cannot pay the rent?

In the first instance speak to your Archdeacon. Agreeing to vary when the rent is paid might be a pragmatic solution.

Infection transmission

What can I do to reduce infection transmission?

Be aware of objects, surfaces, and clothing which you have handled, avoid transferring these to other settings, and remember that viruses may survive on many materials for up to 72 hours.

See particularly government advice on handwashing, laundry, and waste disposal.

Food banks

LATEST ADVICE 26th March 2020:   The most recent guidance from Trussell Trust, updated since the lockdown about foodbank operation is here:  https://www.trusselltrust.org/coronavirus-food-banks/

This states:

“food banks can legally continue operating and buildings that host food banks can continue to open for those sessions, provided we follow social distancing rules, because your work qualifies you as key workers ‘caring for the vulnerable’. 

However each local foodbank will need to decide whether they are in a position to open, so you’re urged to cotact your local foodbank to find out their arrangements.

The general need for foodbanks, across the Diocese is:

  • food donations
  • healthy volunteers
  • drivers with vehicles to do deliveries

Banns of Marriage

What should we do regarding Banns of Marriage that are due to be published soon?

At present no services can safely be taken to fulfil the Marriage Act 1949 requirements and a licence will be required in all cases. In most cases a Common Licence will suffice but in some cases a Special Licence may be required. Further information can be found on our website here and in the Clergy Handbook.

PCC business

The following notes interpret the provisions of the Church Representation Rules 2020 and do not replace or supersede them.

  • Standing Committee will be the most regular route for making decisions in the current context – CRR2020 M31 sets out its power and responsibilities.
  • PCC decisions must either be “face-to-face” (inadvisable in the current context) or by email and/or post.
  • Any online or phone conversations should be minuted, but are not in themselves sufficient for taking official PCC decisions.
  • Those who cannot participate in online conversations must not be shut out of decision-making.
  • Decisions agreed online/by phone must then be approved via email/post (see CRR2020 M29 for the process).
  • There will be additional advice regarding APCM’s, elections and other matters in coming days.
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