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Bulletin no.28 - Thursday 5 November

3 weeks, 5 days ago

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We realise that this is a difficult time for everyone and that it is hard to be clear about what we can and cannot do as we move into a second lockdown.  We hope that this edition of the CTG Bulletin will be of some help as we negotiate these new times.

  1. Remembrance Sunday

The Government has issued some guidance on Remembrance Sunday Services.  They at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-authority-preparations-for-remembrance-sunday/local-authority-preparations-for-remembrance-sunday

It is clear from what they have said that all Acts of Remembrance on Sunday need to happen in the open air and not in our church buildings, unless the Act of Reembrace is part of a recording of online worship which is taking place behind closed doors.  However, although the Government has given a steer as to what they believe should be happening on Remembrance Sunday these Acts of Remembrance are regulated by the Local Authority and each Authority has the right to choose how this should be done.  Many have already made this choice and issued guidelines.  So please check on the relevant Local Authority website for guidance in your parish.  If you can’t find the information on the website then do give the Local Authority a ring and ask about their guidance.

If you are preparing a Remembrance Service the Bands of the Household Division have made recordings of their Cenotaph music freely available for use at: https://www.householddivision.org.uk/scm  

  1. Public Worship

As you will know, the Government has announced that as from Thursday 5 November churches can be open for private prayer but will remain closed for Public Worship during this second lockdown. Clergy can, however, access their churches for their own daily pattern  of prayer and worship and for streaming online services – all of which will need to be behind closed doors.

Please ensure that our churches are Covid secure for private prayer, in order that we are protecting those who wish to come into our buildings to spend time with  God and find comfort.

You will need to decide for yourselves what level of support is necessary for you to be able to offer online services: this means that you can decide upon the technical support that you will need in order to be able to stream the services, whether you will have musicians there, and whether you will have other clergy with you (if there are others in your parish).

It is important to remember, in everything that we do, to act within the legal restrictions and ensure that we are taking seriously our own responsibilities to safeguard ourselves and others from COVID-19, by being attentive to the risks that COVID-19 holds and taking all necessary precautions. 

If you have musicians in the church for recording or streaming a service it is necessary to take account of all the restrictions and rules which have already been applied to choirs. 

Lay Ministers, Churchwardens and others may only be in the church whilst services are being recorded or streamed if they have a function in producing the service. The recording or streaming of services should be behind closed doors.

  1. The Archbishops Call to Prayer

The Archbishops have called for 28 days of prayer starting from Thursday 5 November and continuing until the end of the period of lockdown.  We wish to fully commend the material that will be published on this to you and invite you to pray in the coming four weeks using the material which the Archbishops are making available.  We are invited to prayer throughout this period but particularly to prayer together, wherever we are, at 6pm each day.

The Archbishops’ have asked that we focus on prayer and service. We would ask that you particularly focus your prayers on those who are isolated and alone, seeking God’s wisdom as to how we can best serve them during this second lockdown.   Our prayers can help to hold our local communities together in fruitful services and we commend these days of prayer to you and your parishes.  Please use and adapt the material and this Call to Prayer in the best way for your parish and community.

The Dean of Southwark, The Very Revd Andrew Nunn,  has written a prayer for the second lockdown which you might wish to use as you pray during this time.

          A prayer for the Second Lockdown

          Lord Jesus,

          who entered the locked room

          and made yourself known to your friends;

          be with us in this lockdown

          that we may be aware of your presence

          and know your blessing upon us.

          Amen.

  1. The Furlough Scheme   

In Bulletin 27 we spoke of the arrangements following the ending of the furlough arrangements.  However, following the announcement of the new lockdown, the existing furlough arrangements under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme have been extended to 1st December 2020, and the planned implementation of the Coronavirus Job Support Scheme which was due to take effect from 1st November, referred to in the last bulletin, has been postponed.  This means that those staff who were on the flexible furlough scheme can continue on the scheme, with the government providing 80% of the salaries for the hours that staff are not required or able to work.  Employers are still required to pay for the employer’s national insurance and pension contributions.  Employers are able to top up the salaries of their staff to up to 100% if they wish.

Further details can be found at scheme can be found at:  Extension of furlough scheme, with more detailed guidance on how to claim due to be issued shortly, although it is expected that this will be identical to the previous arrangements for making a claim for support under the scheme as had applied previously. 

  1. Sunday Services from the Bishop of Southwark’s Chapel and Southwark Cathedral

From Sunday 8 November Bishop Christopher will be streaming a Eucharist from his Chapel at Bishop’s House at 9.30am.  It can be found on the Diocesan Facebook and YouTube feeds and on Bishop Christopher’s Twitter feed. 

Southwark Cathedral will continue to stream Morning Prayer from the Cathedral each day at 9am.  Night Prayer will continue to  be streamed at 8pm Monday to Saturday and at 6pm on Sunday.  The Sunday Eucharist will be streamed at 11am.   These can all be found on the Cathedral website and the Cathedral Facebook and YouTube channels. 

We realise that these new restrictions put everyone under pressure and you will be in the thoughts and prayers of all the CTG, Bishops and Archdeacons at this time.

With our very best wishes to you all,

The Coronavirus Task Group

(Bishop Christopher, the Very Revd Andrew Nunn, the Venerable Alastair Cutting, Ruth Martin and the Revd Canon Wendy Robins)