Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The Church of England website has also updated the guidance and you can find it all here: https://www.churchofengland.org/resources/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance#na
We have attached the updated Permitted Activities document. Please read it carefully.
We are often asked about singing and have shared the updated information from the CofE website here:
- where music plays a big part in worship, and recordings are available, these should be considered as an alternative to live singing or performing
- any instrument played during worship should be cleaned thoroughly before and after use
- any performers should be positioned in a way that avoids face-to-face performance, as far as possible
- limit the duration of any singing, as far as possible
- do what you can to improve ventilation to ensure plenty of fresh air whenever possible, including opening windows
- always ensuring there is a gap of at least 2m between any performers and the first row of worshippers. Further mitigations like screens or other barriers between the performers and worshipper may also be considered
- if worship takes place inside, the congregation should not participate in any activity that can create aerosols, including communal singing, shouting and chanting.
A group of up to 6 amateur singers can perform, or rehearse for performance with physical distancing being maintained at all times. There is no limit on the number of professional singers but they should follow guidance on performing arts. Children’s choirs can also perform, whether from one school or more than one, following Government advice for out of school settings on group sizes and infection protection and control for example. Where possible during worship the singers should be at the front of the church while the rest of the congregation remain seated. Communal singing, by the congregation, should not take place and strict physical distancing should be observed.
When communal worship takes place in the grounds or the outside space of a place of worship, the congregation may join in with singing in multiple groups, each consisting of up to 30 people, following the principles set out in the performing arts guidance. This includes ensuring that congregation members follow physical distancing rules.
The Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) has produced more detailed resources on singing and music, which can be found here.
We are slowly returning to a new normal. We hope that the new updated information will be of help as you continue to support your parishes and communities.
The Coronavirus Task Group
(Bishop Christopher, the Very Revd Andrew Nunn, the Venerable Alastair Cutting, Ruth Martin and Sophia Jones)