The Coronavirus pandemic is a rapidly changing situation. OCC will update this page as advice changes, so check back regularly! We are following the updates and advice closely and are keen to respond fully to the challenge that we face as a nation.
UPDATED MONDAY 10 AUGUST 2020
- We plan to restart regular Sunday services at The King's Centre on 30 August 2020.
- We will continue to stream weekly services, indefinitely.
- Our Communities will meet over the summer, including face-to-face meetings as now permitted.
PLEASE CONTINUE TO FOLLOW GOVERNMENT ADVICE!
Read on for more details.
On Tuesday 23 June, the Government announced further easing of the lockdown, including the re-opening of places of worship. Full guidance was published on Monday 29 June, permitting public worship in groups larger than 30. The King's Centre is a registered place of worship. In considering how to respond we accessed advice and attended a webinar hosted by Evangelical Alliance, and our 'Covid working group' (Steve Jones, Andy O'Connell, Sanjay Mahtani, Kirsty Gay) met on Friday 3 July to discuss further. With a gradual and conditional approach to easing lockdown nationally, this working group is meeting every 2 weeks to consider OCC's response.
We have been studying government guidance, taking further advice as required, and talking with other church leaders in the UK about how best to be the church together in the months ahead. We have also started consulting those leading ministry teams within OCC, to understand the impact on different activities.
In any plans to ease the ‘lockdown’ of OCC church life, we will, of course, ensure that we follow good hygiene practice, as well as seeking to respond to emerging concerns about mental health, grief and widespread anxiety. Whatever our overall advice, every person is in a different situation, and needs to consider the needs of their household alongside their own desire to connect more widely.
We had suspended our Sunday services at The King's Centre, while providing a live streamed service at 10.30am each Sunday - details here.
We plan to restart regular Sunday services at The King's Centre on 30 August 2020. We will continue to stream weekly services, indefinitely, for those who are unable to attend in person.
We ran a one-off Sunday service on 26 July, allowing us to 'test run' new arrangements ahead of 30 August. Health and Safety laws, and our insurers, require that we comply with current government advice. There are several aspects we want to emphasise:
- Anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 (a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell) or who has be asked to self-isolate (due to being a contact of a case, because of their recent travel history, or at the request of a medical professional for any other reason) should not attend the place of worship due to the risk that they pose to others; they should self-isolate at home immediately with other members of their household.
- No congregational singing for now, because of the high risk of 'aerosol transmission'. Apparently, masks don't help with that either, and the rules also apply to meetings in the open air. We are only allowed one singer at any time. We will be working out how to worship God together without singing!
- No food and drink. For now, we are not permitted to serving refreshments or arrange lunches together at TKC. (Regulations permit only cafes in church buildings, operating table service only. We are not set up to do that.)
- Children and youth. There will also be changes to what activities we can offer, and how we organise them. We have written separately to parents.
- Social distancing: We will have a one-way system and socially distanced seating. From 8 August, face coverings are required by law to be worn in public indoor settings including places of worship. Advice also asks that people "should try not to engage in conversation with anyone outside of their group", and requires that after the service, we ask you to leave the building promptly. Please do not hang around for a chat, even in the car park!
- Cleaning: The toilets will have been cleaned thoroughly before we arrive.
- We are required to store visitor records to assist with any required track-and-trace, and to comply with this, as well safely managing numbers attending, we are asking everyone to pre-book via Churchsuite - please look out for further details in the church bulletin. (If you turn up, and have not pre-booked, we will need to sign you in before entry, and if the room is at capacity, given social distancing, we may need to decline your entry.)
Communities are vital as our primary vehicle for extended family, care and mutual support. Even whilst physical meetings may be severely constrained, we are looking to support each other as best we can.
Government advice now permits up to 6 people to meet outdoors, or 2 households to meet indoors or outdoors, including (careful) meals together. This enables members of our Communities to meet in small groups, as they see fit, as well as ongoing meetings by Zoom.
Additionally, place of worship guidelines now also permit Communities to meet in larger groups for 'communal worship' by booking a room at TKC, via the church office.
Communities are also involved in supporting neighbours and community initiatives. We regularly update our advice on that here and are pleased that government have published guidelines on safely helping other people here.
One-to-one meetings, including personal pastoral conversations, can now happen in person, outdoors, if mutually agreed.
Government advice currently asks that employers take “every effort to support working from home” and so our pastoral and administrative staff continue to work from home, meeting only as necessary for physical meetings (where possible outside, if necessary at The King’s Centre).
If you have any questions about our response to the lockdown please email the office here.