Published: Wednesday, April 22, 2020
Find out how churches are helping local people and boosting morale during the coronavirus crisis.
Our thoughts are with all our Friends and supporters who are living through the coronavirus pandemic, the biggest public health emergency of our lifetimes.
Many thanks to those of you who have been in touch with messages of support - they are much appreciated by all of us.
Our work continues, but in accordance with the latest Government advice, all our staff and volunteers are now carrying out their duties from home. If you are concerned about the impact the outbreak could have on your grant offer or grant application, feel free to contact us by email: email@example.com
The priority must be to minimise the spread of the virus and to make sure that care and support are provided to those whose health or well-being are at risk. As a result all churches have been asked to close.
How churches are helping
However we know that churches continue to work to ensure that the most vulnerable people in their communities continue to be supported and that morale is kept high.
Below are a few examples of news that we have heard from local churches.
We’d be very pleased to hear from you about what your church is doing. You can use the form at the bottom of this page or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
BERKSHIRE, St Elegius, Arborfield
St Eligius Church are distributing sunflower seeds to many of the houses and are encouraging the planting in front gardens or pots on your balconies so that all can see them as they stroll around Arborfield Green.
BUCKINGHAMSHIRE, St Giles Church, Chalfont St Giles
St Giles has been the centre of worship in Chalfont St Giles in Buckinghamshire for over 800 years. Today, it still shows it is a vital link to its community.
The church has phoned around everyone in the church aged over 70 years to check on their welfare and to find out what help may be needed. In addition the church website has material for guidance and has sent email information and comfort to each person on the church list.
Though the church is an ancient building, it is using modern technology to stay in touch and has recorded a short act of worship which is on their website for all to view. It is also live streaming via Facebook and helping parishioners to sign up to their Facebook network to help isolated people stay in touch with the church community.
CAMBRIDGESHIRE, St Margaret, Hemimgford Abbots
Services conducted via Zoom, including being joined by one of the congregation who is stuck in Portugal. Virtual Afternoon Teaparty was a great way to keep in touch as everyone could see each other.
CHESHIRE, St Boniface, Bunbury
Over 350 faces of local people have appeared on the pews in St Boniface, Bunbury since lockdown began. Revd Hayward may not have been able to meet the church family physically but they have been there in spirit.
CORNWALL, St Blazey, St Luxulyan and Boscoppa
Revd Jules Williams printed up service sheets with ‘Worship from Home’ which were delivered with daffodils and left on doorsteps. In that way, people can still follow a service, collectively, if not all in the same place. They will also feel loved and not forgotten, which is crucial in this time of social distancing. More details
CUMBRIA, St Kentigern, Mungrisdale
In rural Cumbria, using Zoom, the church held a Morning Praise service last Sunday, on Thursday had a Church Fellowship Meeting and will continue using Zoom in the coming months, They have found that one person who completes the Zoom video tutorial can help others to join the meeting with little difficulty.
DENBIGHSHIRE, St Margaret, Garden Village
Twenty volunteers from the parishes of St Margaret’s Church in Garden Village and St Mark’s Church in Caia Park are making and delivering face masks across North Wales under the guidance of Revd rebecca Sparey-taylor.
DEVON, St James Church, Christow, Teign Valley
Revd Ruth Frampton recognises that a big proportion of her congregation would be unable to use the internet for services via live streaming and decided the humble telephone was a better fit for her parishioners. Her ‘Landline Ministry’ aims to deliver weekly 30 minute services. On Mothering Sunday she led a simple service of ‘telephone worship’ using a conference call facility with more than 80 people taking part from as far afield as Gloucestershire. More details
GREATER MANCHESTER, Christ Church, Pennington
The Revd Alan Saunders has been climbing to the top of Christ Church’s 80-metre tower to raise people’s spirits by playing popular hymns on his trumpet on the church rooftop and to pray over the wonderful town of Leigh. You can see Alan playing the trumpet in the video below.
KENT, All Saints with St Philip and St Stephen, Maidstone
Like many other churches, All Saints with St Philip and St Stephen has turned to the internet to maintain contact with its congregation. The church has been streaming Morning Worship from the Chancel on its Facebook page. Its Pastoral Care Scheme has proved very useful to ensure that contact is maintained with vulnerable people and shopping is taken to the elderly.
KENT, St Mary, Willesborough
The church is working with another church in the parish to provide food. The local school has given details of families who are likely to need food boxes over the coming weeks. Volunteers are packaging donations of food and taking it out to those who need it. They have also set up a prayer and care network in the area around St Mary's.
LANCASHIRE, Hillside Methodist Church, Brinscall
By delivering 1,500 printed cards to members of the community giving details of services to be delivered through a dedicated phone.
LANCASHIRE, Our Lady Star of the Sea & St Michael, Workington,
A daily Roman Catholic Mass at 10.30am is being broadcast via web-cam from this church, founded by the Benedictine order in the 19th century.
LEICESTERSHIRE, Trinity Methodist Church, Oadby
The fortnightly foodbank is now open weekly. The cafe attached to the church is now making cooked lunches which are then delivered to the elderly and most vulnerable.
LINCOLNSHIRE, All Saints church, Gainsborough
All Saints church in Gainsborough have had to close their cafe but with the help of church volunteers they are ensuring that people who rely on the cafe each day for a meal have food delivered to their homes.
LONDON, Union Chapel, Islington
Union Chapel is a base for a large number of organisations helping local people. One of their coronavirus initiatives has been to collect hand sanitisers and soap for local homeless people.
LONDON, Our Lady Help of Christians, Kentish Town
The parish already had been welcoming all comers in need of food, clothing, showers and friendship. Following lockdown, the committee realised they could not simply abandon their guests. They now provide takeaway food, including a hot meal if possible. As guests arrive volunteers hand out the bags at suitable intervals to preserve social distancing. Unfortunately at this time the offer of a shower or change of clothes is not possible. Over 60 people receive every Sunday.
LONDON, Our Lady of Walsingham, Royal Docks
A priest who has spent weeks at the bedside of coronavirus patients at the maiden Nightingale hospital has set up a 24-hour chaplaincy system to help tend to the religious needs of the seriously ill and their families. Fr James, parish priest has arranged a team of nine priests, with at least one in the pop-up hospital from 9am until 5pm each day.
LONDON, St Margaret church, Leytonstone
Father Neil-Allan has been running his pop-up shop every Thursday since 2016. But, now due to the impact of coronavirus he is ensuring the community church supplies food for people in Waltham Forest. He says they are following procedures and asking people to keep their distance, but the virus won't stop them from helping those in need.
LONDON, Holy Trinity, Sydenham
Revd Ed Stock is to don his trainers on Sunday to complete a charity marathon on a treadmill in his parish office.
NORFOLK, St Catherine’s church, Ludham
St Catherine’s church in the small village of Ludham, together with the local Methodist church, has established a 'Look after Ludham' scheme. This currently has some 25 volunteers fetching and carrying food and drink and prescriptions.
NORTHAMPTONSHIRE, Hope Methodist church, Higham Ferrers
Hope Methodist church, like many churches, has had to cancel its fund raising events for its renovation project. However, the church continues with many aspects of its work. This includes continuing to carry out weekly inspection of the premises to identify any deterioration arising from the closure of the buildings.
The church has produced a guide to ‘staying well’ in mind, body and spirit, which also reminds members and friends of the need to also care for neighbours. It is also continuing to support the local Foodbank with weekly gifts of food and other essentials and is considering whether it would be possible to arrange to make an appropriate delivery to the doorsteps of homes in the local community at Easter.
RENFREWSHIRE, Houston & Killellan Kirk
Over 15 weeks, the church has provided enough ingredients to make more than 11,100 meals in an impressive community effort. More details
SHROPSHIRE, Shrewsbury Abbey
As well as live streaming services, one special activity at Shrewsbury Abbey is sending postcards to isolated parishioners. More details
SUFFOLK, All Saints, Little Bealing
Have a Refill Station which allows people to come and get grocery supplies such as pasta, lentils and flour with their own containers. This has now been supplemented with other essentials like jams, canned potatoes, sauces and toilet paper and are open by appointment or delivery for village residents, many of whom are older and do not drive.
TYNE AND WEAR, St Paul, Whitley Bay
There has been an upsurge of activity with members of our church making masks and clothing holders for nurses at our local Hospice St Oswald’s since the beginning of the pandemic.
WILTSHIRE, St Mary, Steeple Ashton
Children have adopted graves in the village churchyard making sure they are tidy and cared for. A 'Bit-box' has been created to enhance children's craft activities and wildlife guides. This is the church porch for children of the parish to use.
WORCESTERSHIRE, Top Church, Dudley
Through Zoom, the church has organised a Virtual Afternoon Tea Party to keep people connected. Offering tea and chat - but people have to supply their own tea! More details
YORKSHIRE, Tapton Hill Congregational Church, Sheffield
We provide volunteers to staff the Crosspool Community Hub, delivering a range of services from a listening ear, to shopping and collecting medicines. From the comfort of our homes, with refreshments in hand we meet through Skype, chatting, doing quizzes and holding a tombola raffle. Due to a significant loss of income we have considered furloughing our Minister but she is a key worker, making contact with all our members and members of the various clubs associated with Tapton.