Dear Colleagues,

 

On Monday 19th July the Government moved to step four in its roadmap out of lockdown. In consequence, the House of Bishops COVID-19 Recovery Group has also now published new guidance for our shared assistance and information. We write to draw your attention to this guidance, which we have attached to this message.

 

As you read the guidance you will notice that the change to step four requires some careful and prayerful thinking, especially for incumbents, church wardens and Parochial Church Councils. As previously, we will do all that we can to support you in your decision-making. We therefore attach a template for risk assessment that we hope will assist you, both in managing risk to yourselves as leaders, and in making decisions in role on behalf of your congregations and communities. Once completed, please hold these risk assessments locally: there is no need to return a copy to us.

 

It seems to us two clear themes emerge from the guidance: consider your local context and decide accordingly; and be mindful of the fact that people will continue to have different medical needs and vulnerabilities, and also different feelings about the current state of the pandemic.

 

We recognise that some people will rejoice at what they perceive to be the lifting of all restrictions and that it is therefore likely that there will be some pressure to proceed quite quickly. However, it is entirely appropriate to appeal on Christian terms to the priority of the most vulnerable. Similarly, while it is now possible to offer different opportunities in different services or in different venues (e.g. singing/no singing), this greater flexibility also adds to the complexity of decision-making and risk assessment, and at a time when all of us are tired. Therefore, we will support a gradualist approach, if that is what you discern is appropriate in your context, especially until the implications of the new relaxations are becoming clearer, although we do hope that a return to Eucharistic worship in any benefice where it has been suspended entirely for many months will now be made a priority.

We would like to thank you all for your response so far in working with the many restrictions that we have all faced. There have been some very imaginative ways of providing worship and pastoral care over the last eighteen months and we are proud of the commitment, energy and care that has been demonstrated by so many during the pandemic in the Diocese of Lincoln.

                                                            

  

The Rt Revd Christopher Lowson                          

Bishop of Lincoln 

The Rt Revd Dr David Court   

 Bishop of Grimsby   

                                                              

The Rt Revd Dr Nicholas Chamberlain

Bishop of Grantham

Guidance Documents can be found here.

covid19 guidance from the19th July 2021

covid19 parish risk assessment template-indoors