Update from the Baptist Union of Great Britain
Coronavirus July 2021
On 12 July, the UK Government confirmed the move to step 4 of their Covid-19 recovery roadmap for England from 19 July. This will remove outstanding legal restrictions including:
All remaining limits on social contact are removed. People may meet with whom and with as many as they wish, both indoors and outdoors.
Social distancing is no longer demanded in any setting.
All restrictions on the numbers at and activities within weddings, funerals and other life events are removed.
Face coverings are no longer mandatory in any setting.
There are no restrictions on singing.
Nevertheless, as infections continue to rise, the Government recommends continuing caution. Good ventilation, diligence in hygiene, wearing a face covering in enclosed and crowded spaces, and limiting contact with those we do not live with, are all noted as beneficial behaviours.
In the light of this, we recommend that it is both sensible and appropriate for churches to continue to take some measures to limit the spread of Covid-19. Churches have a responsibility to protect their staff, congregations, communities, and other users of their buildings. However, it is now down to each church to determine for itself what these measures should be.
We are reviewing all our guidance documents and several have been updated on Thursday 15 July with suggestions of questions that churches should now consider and recommendations of best practice. We will then continue to monitor and review going forward.
This section of our website will be maintained to help churches practically and spiritually during these changing times. We are acutely aware that the process for making decisions going forward has the potential to be divisive. In some respects it was easier when rules were more restrictive but at least definite. How we make decisions may prove to be as important to churches as the decisions themselves. We appeal to everyone involved to be kind to each other, to listen well, to appreciate the pressure leaders are under, and to compromise accordingly. This is a very vulnerable time for churches and we ask you to recall the exhortation in Ephesians 4 to 'be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace'.