OCC and Lockdown 3.0

By Andy O'Connell (on behalf of the Covid Working Group)

England is now in national lockdown. While there are difficult constraints on our social lives, schooling and work, places of worship can remain open, and people are allowed to leave home to attend.

What are we to make of this freedom to gather, while other aspects of life are severely constrained, and we are advised to 'stay at home' except for essential reasons? Is OCC right to continue with onsite services, or should we revert to online only? 

Andy O'Connell (on behalf of the Covid Working Group)

OCC and Tier 4

By Andy O'Connell (on behalf of the Covid Working Group)

From Boxing Day 2020, Oxfordshire has been in 'Tier 4' of the England Covid regulations. Tier 4 (and all other tiers) allow places of worship to 're-open', and people are allowed to leave home to attend a place of worship.

What are we to make of this freedom to gather, while other aspects of life are severely constrained, and we are advised to 'stay at home' except for essential reasons? In other words, is OCC right to continue with in-person services, as we intend to do, or should we revert to online only?

Andy O'Connell (on behalf of the Covid Working Group)

Covid-secure worship: behind the scenes

By Andy O'Connell

Some of you will be interested in what has been going on behind the scenes, as Christian and other faith leaders have worked with government on the question of whether and how places of worship can re-open while the Covid-19 pandemic continues.

During 'lockdown 1' (from 23 March 2020) places of worship were required to close, until 4 July, when they were allowed to re-open as the first wave waned.

Lockdown 2 and OCC

By OCC Covid Team

You will have heard that England is going into lockdown from Thursday, 5 November, 2020. Before we can respond fully, we are waiting for the government to publish advice and legislation early this week. However, government has already made clear that places of worship will not be able to open for public worship for at least 4 weeks.

OCC Covid Team

Oxford in Tier 2

By OCC Covid Team

On Saturday 31 October, Oxford City will move into Tier 2 "High Alert" for coronavirus. More information from Oxford City Council, including a map of the City boundary, can be found here

OCC Covid Team

New series - new season - new Sundays!

By Andy O'Connell (on behalf of the Elders)

We're very excited about our new series - IDENTITY - starting this Sunday 4 October. This series was planned for the Summer 2020 term and then postponed due to COVID, so it's been in the pipeline for ages and we're delighted to finally get to it. IDENTITY will ask who God is, and how we get to be in relation to him! In other words, how our true identity as humans is found in relationship with our loving heavenly Father. 

Andy O'Connell (on behalf of the Elders)

Coronavirus update - 24 September

By Andy O'Connell (on behalf of the Covid Working Group)

After this week's changes to COVID rules, we wanted to give you an update on how that affects OCC. The situation is evolving fairly regularly, and so you understandably may have struggled to keep up with how all the changes affect you in church stuff, as well as thinking about your home, work, social, and shopping life!

The short version is that this week's changes make little difference to how we already operate as OCC, and there are ongoing constraints, but also some opportunities.

Andy O'Connell (on behalf of the Covid Working Group)

Coming back to the heart of worship

By Andy O'Connell

One of the things we've seen in lockdown is that good relationships withstand separation.

You might have been unable to visit an elderly relative as they struggled to cope with isolation, or missed a good friend that you've longed to spend unhurried time with? Or perhaps you are one half of a love-struck dating couple that have not been able to see each other for ages!?

Withdrawal of 'visiting privileges' has been one of the human costs of tackling this virus, and as restrictions eases in the UK, we're rushing to reconnect with relatives, friends and 'significant others'.

Andy O'Connell

Worship in lockdown

By Chris Fulton

Coronavirus has forced us to change a great number of things, one of which is the way that we worship together as a church. So many of the things we so easily took for granted are no longer in place for us - for now, we don’t meet in a building, or worship in the same place. We can’t see each other’s faces, or catch up over coffee in a busy throng of expectation before we come together to sing and praise. We lose out on depths of relational and non-verbal communication within our church family; we lack hands-on prayer ministry during times of response… the list goes on.

Chris Fulton