We send our greetings to you during this unique time, praying that you stay safe. We live in very unusual days, and this is true for our churches as we try to discern our calling, and a very different way of being a church over these weeks. Naturally, we remember in our prayers those who live with fear, face insecurity, those who are sick, those who mourn. We also remember those at the forefront of this pandemic, in hospitals, care homes, other essential services, and give thanks for every opportunity we have to support their efforts. Like you, we as Officers are also keen to respond, and hope to be able to respond to appeals for emergency support when they are received. Applications should be addressed to the General Secretary .We are sending this email, probably the first of several, to draw your attention to current issues that we think will help you. Our website contains regular updates, as does our Facebook feed and Twitter account. Please let us know of any information about your work and ministry that we can share with others.
The Ministry and Mission Contribution
At a recent meeting of Assembly Officers, the appropriateness of trying to respond in the short term to the impact of this period on our churches, and specifically on the financial viability of the churches, was discussed. It was agreed at that meeting that we would refund the churches the equivalent of 25% of the Connexional Contribution for the April to July quarter. In practice, churches that have paid through the bank or sent a check will receive a refund from the Office at the end of May. For those churches that have not sent in their contribution for the current quarter, we will credit 25% of the value of your contribution for the quarter against your arrears. We will be sending a further email to the Church Treasurers at the end of this week to start a discussion with the churches on their local financial outlook. We expect to include the response at a further meeting of Assembly Officers at the end of May which will help us consider how to take further action with regard to your finances.
The risk of Legionnaires’ Disease in water systems may increase due to the current climate. Most chapels are considered low risk due to the simple water installations. It is recommended that when chapels reopen, hot and cold water systems are flushed through with fresh mains water for a period of 5 minutes. Larger chapels and our two Centers, which have more complex systems, such as cold stored water and showers, may require disinfectant cleaning. It is recommended that they be inspected by a qualified plumber. If it is possible to visit the premises during the shut down period, then running water through the hot and cold system for 5 minutes once a week should significantly reduce the risk.
We want to remind our churches that, in the event that you are letting property, additional rules have been introduced by the Government over this period. Simply put, a tenancy cannot be terminated because of individuals’ inability to pay etc. Furthermore, we ask churches to be particularly mindful of tenants who have to self-isolate, who have experienced a reduction in their income, or who are out of work during the period.
Work on the church site
In accordance with the rules governing working during this time, churches may continue to carry out necessary works on the buildings and grounds where adequate attention is given to social distancing. This includes mowing the cemetery etc.
Property Insurance – Congregational and General
We have been instructed by the company that, in the case of churches that insure through this company, they no longer insist that the building should be visited weekly when not in use during this period. Having noted this, and following a number of recent cases, we emphasize that you should make every effort to ensure the security of the property, and, if possible, not to keep portable electronics, or other equipment that is valuable and can be moved from there, in an empty building.
As stated at the outset, we will continue to be in contact over this period, and will certainly involve you in any discussion in trying to discern our next steps. We invite you to keep in touch, and to share any questions or comments with us.
In the bonds of the Gospel
Revd Marcus Robinson – Moderator
Revd Meirion Morris – General Secretary