Coronavirus / COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is a rapidly changing situation. We follow government advice closely, updating this page as things change, so please check back regularly.


UPDATED FRIDAY 27 NOVEMBER 2020, 22:35

Headlines

We are currently in a second national 'stay at home' lockdown from Thursday 5 November, ending from the beginning of Wednesday 2 December.

  • During the lockdown we will not be holding public services at The King's Centre (TKC), but we continue to stream services via our website.
  • Our Communities, Students and Youth continue to meet, but online. Face-to-face meetings are not permitted.

From Wednesday 2 December Oxford and Oxfordshire will be in Tier 2. While there are ongoing constraints on gatherings in homes, we will be able to recommence collective worship (allowing us to meet on Sundays, for youth and student evenings, and for communities to meet TKC.)

PLEASE CONTINUE TO FOLLOW GOVERNMENT ADVICE.


In more detail

Our approach

Our 'COVID working group' includes Trustees and staff with responsibility for events, communication, risk management and safeguarding and meets every 2-3 weeks to consider OCC's response as the situation changes, and make contingency plans.

We consider:

In Tiers 1-3, guidance for the places of worship permits public worship. This applies to The King's Centre (TKC) (a registered place of worship), and also to other venues we hire.

Why are churches allowed to organise 'public worship' activities while other areas of life face ongoing restriction? The impact of loneliness, anxiety and damage to mental health people are facing in this pandemic is significant, and those making the rules see that churches are good for people's wellbeing, and are providers of charitable service to the wider community. (For more on this, see letter from faith leaders to government, arguing for places of worship to remain open.)

Of course, even if we decide to run an activity, every person is in a different situation, and in deciding whether to participate should consider the needs of their household.

Communities

Communities are vital for extended family, care and mutual support in this season.

  • Until 1 December, Communities are encouraged to continue to meet, online. Please contact your Community leader for information.
  • From 2 December, Communities are encouraged to continue to meet, either by Zoom, or at TKC, where place of worship and other guidelines permit Communities and teams to meet in larger groups by booking a room via the church office. Tier 2 also permits up to 6 people to meet outdoors only, while continuing to socially distance. Please contact your Community leader for information. 

Communities are also involved in supporting neighbours and community initiatives. We regularly update our advice on that and also refer to government guidelines on safely helping other people

Worship services

During this new lockdown we are allowed to broadcast services from TKC, but can only allow the service leaders and necessary technicians to be on-site.

Until 1 December: 

  • Streamed Sunday services are available from our homepage.
  • Student Nights (city centre) have moved online. Visit our social media for joining details.
  • Leys meetings at BLAP are suspended.
  • Youth activities (Fridays, Alpha and Sundays) have moved online. We will contact youth and parents directly with details. 

From 2 December:

  • Sunday services at TKC will recommence on December 6, as well as continuing to be streamed.
  • Student Night (3 Dec) will happen at TKC.
  • Leys meeting at BLAP on December 6 will happen.
  • Youth activities will resume at TKC, including in Sunday services and Youth Alpha. We are awaiting advice on the resumption of Youth activity evenings.

For more detail on our Covid-secure arrangements for Sundays and other services (including Student Night and Leys services at BLAP), please visit our Sundays FAQs page.

Pastoral care

In both lockdown and Tier 2, workplace rules permit 'reasonably necessary' pastoral visits by church staff or volunteers as they "volunteer to provide charitable services".

If you are concerned, ill, or otherwise need support, please contact your Community leaders, or the pastoral team on @email

Youth and children

Detailed guidelines for OOSS after lockdown have not yet been published. 

Rules around what is permitted for youth and children in 'out of school settings' are complex, and tighter than permitted in formal education settings.

  • 0-5s: We reviewed guidance in September, and are of the view that we cannot yet effectively reopen our Sunday creche.
  • YR-Y6: For Sunday activities we ask that children have spent at least 1 term in school, as they are more able to comply with distancing requirements. Face coverings are not required for under-11s.
  • Y7-Y13: For youth activities on Sundays and Fridays face coverings are required at all times and youth will be in bubbles of no more than 15.

Church office

Our pastoral and administrative staff work flexibly, mostly from home and from TKC as necessary.

Leadership and team meetings (staff and volunteers) are now all online, except where our COVID working group agrees with the team leader they are reasonable necessary. Contact your team leader for details.

Questions or concerns?

If you have any questions about our COVID-secure arrangements, or wish to raise concerns, please email the church office.


Click here for blogs on Coronavirus.

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