Coronavirus

Together, we find strength inside

In these uncertain times of pandemic, the Executive Committee of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches sends its sympathy and support to all who are struggling, have Covid-19 symptoms or are worried about loved ones. We thank ministers and all community leaders who are supporting people practically and pastorally. It is inspiring to see communities pulling together. The technology that allows us to be connected is a blessing. Despite the many challenges that we are facing, we will gain new strength through innovation, collaboration, and firm commitment to our values.

 Resources

Please find here resources and information to help you and your congregation during this challenging time.

The latest advice from Unitarian HQ at Essex Hall: 

Towards an initial re-opening of the building, including Risk Assessment (June 2020)

Worshipping in Person Update (June 2020) - please note this guidance is for England only

Coronavirus Advice (20/3/2020) (PDF) (20 March 2020)

The latest advice from UK government:

COVID-19: guidance for the safe use of places of worship during the pandemic (4 July 2020) - please note this guidance is for England only

COVID-19: Guidance for the safe use of multi-purpose community facilities (6 July 2020) - please note this guidance is for England only

Additional Resources:

Risk Assessment Template - Baptists UK (16 July)

Coming Out Of Lockdown - Recovery College Cornwall (June 2020)

Re-opening Village and Community Halls post COVID-19 closure - Action with Communities in Rural England (June 2020)

Fire Precautions in Places of Public Worship (June2020)

IT Support and Online Worship:

IT company Netserve Ltd have volunteered their time and provided a dedicated phoneline for Unitarians who need help to get online from a trusted partner. To access support ring 0203 728 8415 or email. Please share this information with those who may benefit from this help.

Useful advice on copyright issues for live, streamed or recorded services, from Law & Religion UK and from Kent Unitarians

Online Worship Advice from the Quakers

Handy United Reformed Church guide to using Facebook Live, YouTube and Zoom for the recording and broadcasting of acts of worship

Ministry Student Stephanie Bisby has created three handy guides for using Zoom: 1. Beginner's Guide to Zoom for Church, 2. Hosting in Zoom, and 3. Making your first Zoom meeting.

NHS Advice:

Keep an eye on the latest health advice from the NHS: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Safeguarding:

Protecting vulnerable people during COVID-19 - As churches continue to respond to the changing guidance in relation to Coronavirus, it's never been more important to consider how we rise to the challenge of keeping those in our church community, and wider society who may be vulnerable, safe. The opportunity for the Church to reach out to their communities at this time is huge, but not without its risks. How do we do this safely both for those we are caring for and for our teams?  This is not a ‘tick box’ exercise, but one that will make all the difference between helping keep people safe or potentially creating additional risk. 31:8 have created this FREE 15 minute webinar that, although not safeguarding training, will give you some important tips and advice on the areas to focus on to ensure your church activities are safer for all during this time.

This free 15 min webinar covers:

  • Crisis planning
  • Reviewing pastoral care arrangements
  • Accountability and record keeping
  • Impact of self-isolation
  • Offering practical support
  • Use of online platforms
  • Looking after your team

View webinar here.

Mutual Support and Mental Health:

Check whether there is a Covid-19 Mutual Aid Group for your area, where you could offer or request help: https://www.facebook.com/CovidAidUK/

Take care of your mental health: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-51873799

 

A Blessing

You may like to read 'A Blessing For Our Time' by Eleanor Chiari.

A Poem

You may like to reflect on the poem below from Unitarian Universalist minister Lynn Ungar...

Pandemic

What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.

And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.

Promise this world your love—
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.