Dear Colleagues,

We write to you with further changes that have come about following the announcement from the Prime Minister last night. We are very mindful that day to day lives have changed again for our family and friends and for how we live out our vocation, both lay and ordained, to proclaim the gospel. We do want to stress that while our church buildings are closed that church does continue – thank you for what you are doing. 

You will find attached a letter from the archbishops which outlines the main points about churches being closed for public and private prayer (available here). This means we need to pray from home. You will see that the letter from the archbishops suggests live-streaming from home as the church is no longer an option. There are also examples attached to this email for notices that can be placed on doors and outside noticeboards (available here). Please also note the advice for funerals which comes into immediate effect. 

We do realise this will be a significant change for you and for many in the community. It is important that our churches are seen to be closed as buildings and treated as such, as we model what is being asked of the entire community by the government to slow down the spread of coronavirus – and as we become church differently.

During this dislocating time we want to encourage you to be kind to yourself and explore a bookshelf or other ways that will continue to feed your ministry. There are also a number of resources on the Church of England website for using social media. We all need to reflect and to pray, so that we can begin to make sense of what is happening.  As we have also mentioned we are trying to make careful decisions and so we are conscious there are decisions to be made about ordination services and other diocesan gatherings. We will pass this information on as soon as we are able. 

 

Diocesan Finances – from the Diocesan Secretary 

Before the coronavirus we were already examining the financial situation in the diocese and information was shared with you about that. The Resourcing Sustaining Church process is timetabled to produce a plan which will be shared widely in July for comment and feedback. The intention is to then produce a budget for the end of the year that will enable us to carry on for the foreseeable future. 

However, we have some more immediate financial challenges, particularly in having cash available to pay stipends and salaries. To tackle these short-term issues Bishop David convened a small group which has developed a plan to free up cash now. The elements of this plan include a freeze on buying vicarages, on major refurbishments to existing properties, and on appointments in Edward King House, reducing our expenditure on routine maintenance and upgrades to existing properties to only that which is absolutely required, and a ferociously rigorous examination of any proposals to advertise and appoint clergy roles. 

This plan was implemented a short while before the present coronavirus situation became acute. We are working on the range of potential impacts the situation will have on income at a parish and diocesan level and what further measures will need to be taken. Further to what we have decided in terms of maintaining our vicarages, our property team are developing protocols around what we are allowed to provide given the Government’s rules yesterday on essential work and social distancing. We will provide further details on this when we are able. 

Please remember to keep referring to the Church of England website FAQs as well as our diocesan website that may assist you with specific questions. 

 

With our thanks and prayers,

Bishop David and Bishop Nicholas


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

The Right Reverend Dr Nicholas Chamberlain
Bishop of Grantham