This email communication has been sent to all licensed Active Clergy, clergy who hold the bishop's Permission to Officiate, Retired Clergy, Readers, Authorised Lay Ministers, Churchwardens, Lay Chairs, PCC Secretaries, and the members of the Bishop’s Council of Diocesan Trustees.

Dear colleagues 

We write to you with our thanks for the way in which so many different parts of our diocese are responding to the current need in the community and also continuing the day to day expectations of ministry. Our rural deans met yesterday and the Revd Nick Nawrockyi was commissioned as rural dean of Grimsby and Cleethorpes. Thank you to the rural deans for a meeting in which we looked at how to prepare for the next stage of co-existence with the virus. 

A suite of documents has been produced by the national church to help clergy and PCC’s to think through a range of different issues that will need to be mutually agreed when we are once again able to re-enter and use our buildings, some of which already apply to the very limited access we have now. These documents, some of which are attached to this email include:

As stated above, please be aware that some of these documents refer to advice on how to enter our buildings in the very limited ways we are able to now, and others are ‘planning documents’ so that we can begin to think through some of the issues that will need to be addressed when we are able to have wider access to our buildings again. The situation each document refers to, is clearly stated at the beginning, so please read each one carefully, and if you are unsure or want further advice please contact one of the Archdeacons or the Bishops’ Chaplain, all of whom will be very willing to help where they are able.

For clarity:  at the moment only specific people have very limited access to church buildings; the second stage is likely to be more general access for parishioners and congregation members so that they can engage in personal prayer, together with, possibly, limited access for weddings and funerals; finally, access for gathered worship, once this is allowed, within government restrictions.  We should, therefore, now be considering how to implement 'stage two'.

We are particularly aware that contexts differ, and so we hope to offer further advice very soon on how we might interpret some of these documents within the diocese for our own local situations, particularly the document ‘Advice on Individual Prayer by Members of the public in Church Buildings’.  For example, if there is more than one church building within a benefice or locality it might be mutually agreed that only one building is likely to open regularly at 'stage two'.

Again please see these documents as part of the planning for the future and a new reality as we wait for further guidance from the government.

With our thanks 

Bishop David
The Right Reverend Dr David Court
Bishop of Grimsby
Acting Bishop of Lincoln

and

Bishop Nicholas
The Right Reverend Dr Nicholas Chamberlain
Bishop of Grantham