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Baptist Union Updates

The Baptist Union have continued to update the essential guidance for churches.Covid
Please continue to check any updates here.

Update Published on 25th May 2021

Guidance on church worship
Changes throughout to recognise that in England up to 6 people from different households may gather indoors; 30 outdoors; 30 for most life events; and as many as social distancing permits for funerals. Change to Section 2 to note that in Wales, up to 50 people may gather outdoors; and 30 for wedding receptions and funeral wakes indoors. Comments added in Section 6 about refreshments indoors.
Advice for ministers – pastoral visiting
Changes in Section 1 reflecting the possibility for pastoral visiting due to the freedom to meet indoors in England from 17 May. Deletion throughout of references to restrictions prior to 17 May.
Children’s, youth and families ministry
Confirmation that from 17 May, parent and child groups may have up to 30 adults in England and are without a stated limit in Wales.
Guidance on re-opening Baptist church buildings
Updates to reflect move to Step 3 in England and move to Alert level 2 in Wales on 17 May. This includes updates in Section 3 on in paragraphs on Social Distancing and Use of Outside Spaces and Section 5 on Use of the church for other activities. Also update to provide link to waste disposal guidance in the section on Cleaning Practices.
Covid-19 Coronavirus Legal Issues
Property issues. Amendments throughout to reflect further lockdown easing in England and Wales. This includes amendments to Use of church Premises, Routine Maintenance of Grounds, Informal Hirings, Residential Leases

Update Published on 18th May 2021

Advice for ministers – pastoral visiting
Changes in Section 2 to allow up to 5 designated visitors to each care home resident.
Children’s, youth and families ministry
Changes to Section 2 to permit in England from 17 May unlimited group size indoors and residential trips – both subject to precautions; and from the same date face coverings are no longer required except when moving around in areas where social distancing is difficult. Addition in Section 2 of guidance on singing, dance and drama. Changes to section 3 to note that parent and child maximum group size increases to 30 from 17 May in England.
Guidance on re-opening Baptist church buildings
Update to section on Social Distancing to reflect the latest rules in England and Wales.

Update Published on 12th May 2021

Guidance on church worship
Changes in Section 2 so that in Wales, organised children’s activities, wedding receptions with up to 15 people, and funeral wakes with up to 15 people, may all take place indoors. Addition in Section 3 of suggestions about safe singing.
Children’s, youth and families ministry
Changes to Sections 2, 3 and 4 to include permission in Wales for organised children’s groups, and toddler groups, indoors. Changes in Section 3 reflecting more detailed guidance on singing for parent and child groups in England.
Guidance on re-opening Baptist church buildings
Section on streaming of services amended to point to content in Guidance Leaflet L18 rather than duplicate advice.
Covid-19 Coronavirus Legal Issues
• Copyright Licences and Streaming
• Property Issues – change at beginning to reflect Wales moving to Alert Level 3
• Risk Assessments – change of wording to reflect lockdown easing
• Informal Hirings – change to reflect Wales moving to Alert Level 3
• Rent Concessions in Commercial Leases – change to reflect new annexe to Code of Practice
• Residential Leases – change to date of eviction moratorium

Update Published on 5th May 2021

Guidance on Church Worship
Changes to Section 2 so that worship, wedding receptions and funeral wakes may take place outdoors for up to 30 people in Wales; Addition to Section 2 of expected changes in Wales from 3 May; Addition to Section 2 of guidance on offerings which was previously in our guidance on re-opening church buildings.
Advice for Ministers – Pastoral Visiting
Change to Section 3 to allow in Wales: up to six people to meet outdoors or in gardens, 2 designated visitors for each care home resident, and no limit on the number who may visit a care home resident outside or in a pod.
Children’s, Youth and Families Ministry
Further discussion in Section 2 about the group size limit indoors in England for children and young people.
Guidance on Re-opening Baptist Church Buildings
Minor further rationalisation of section 5 to reduce overlaps with Guidance on Church Worship.

Updated Statement from the Baptist Union (24th February 2021):

Following the Prime Ministers’ announcement on Monday, BU have now updated their Coronavirus statement regarding churches reopening:
At the beginning of the year, as Covid-19 cases rose significantly and we entered national lockdown, we recommended to our churches not to open their buildings for in-person meetings. In the light of the Welsh Government announcement on Friday 19 February and the UK Government announcement on Monday 22 February, which started the process of easing lockdown, we have concluded that it is now appropriate to withdraw this recommendation.
We encourage churches to consider their own plans for re-opening and take the decisions that are appropriate for their own local circumstances. Reflecting the still significant levels of cases and risk posed to the community, and given that the general ‘Stay at Home’ rule remains in place in England until 29 March and has no current end date in Wales, it is reasonable for churches to choose to stay closed at this stage. Equally we recognise this is a decision for the local church, and the value of churches meeting together will mean that you may choose to re-open for in-person worship.
As we have done throughout the pandemic, we will continue to update our specific guidance for Baptist churches on what needs to be done to reflect the developments in the law and government guidance. There is a range of resources on the BU website to help churches practically and spiritually during these uncertain times.