COVID – 19

26.07.2020

Sunday 5 September 2021

As we move into Autumn we will continue to ease our lockdown measures for Sunday worship in line with government guidance. As from today, the seating in the hall will return to its normal layout and whilst we still would encourage mask wearing, this is not compulsory for the meeting or congregational singing. Our traffic light sticker system for social distancing will remain in place as will the requirement to sanitise/clean hands on entry into the building. Sectional participation will return in stages during the Autumn period. The mechanical fan system in the roof space will provide ventilation and this will be operating throughout the week to ensure a regular flow of fresh air into the building. If you are feeling unwell or are showing any recognised Covid symptoms you must stay at home.

Monday 26 July 2021

Monday 19 July  2021

From Monday (19 July), England moves to Step 4 of the COVID easing roadmap, and most legal requirements on Covid will be lifted. In THQ’s Comms Bulletin issued yesterday, it stated:

“The COVID pandemic continues to make life very complicated. Governments across the territory are not all giving the same advice while infection and vaccination rates vary significantly from community to community. Therefore, the guidance from the COVID Gold Team, chaired by the Territorial Commander, continues to emphasise the importance of following government guidance for your area and completing risk assessments for all activities. In other words, decisions on when to reopen and how to operate activities need to be taken locally considering the relevant government guidance.”

The bulletin goes on to say, “Keep following the guidance even if it is not law. In England, for example, from Monday 19 July, the government is moving from legally enforceable rules to using phrases like ‘expect and recommend’. Salvation Army personnel are expected and recommended to follow all government COVID guidance. New guidance for Places of Worship, the Performing Arts, and Multipurpose Community Centres in England should be published by Monday and will set out what is ‘expected and recommended’. Such guidance is expected to advise on mask wearing, singing, music making.”

It is not possible to indicate at present what changes there will be or how things will differ at the corps until this government guidance for Places of Worship is received. Until such time, our corps will continue to operate as it has done in recent months and we would be grateful if you are using the hall this week to follow the existing guidelines. Please book for next Sunday’s meeting as you have been doing in previous weeks. We hope to provide further information next week

Sunday 11 April 2021

Sunday Morning Meetings From 25th April Following UK Government guidelines and as part of our own pathway out of the pandemic ‘lockdown’, from Sunday 25th April we will be allowing congregational attendance at our meetings once again. This will operate in a similar manner to Sunday Morning Meetings last Autumn. The Sunday meeting each week will be a ‘led’ service conducted by our Corps Officers. The meetings can include individual participation through prayers, Bible readings, and testimony though at present the meetings cannot include congregational singing. Soloists and brass group participation (6 players) is permitted. The meetings will be livestreamed as they are currently.

Allowing for social distancing, the maximum number of people permitted in our main hall to worship will be 53. To manage numbers attending and for ‘track and trace’ purposes a booking system is required for attendance on Sundays. The booking system will be as before – all we require is that you send an e-mail to the corps e-mail address if you wish to attend the worship meeting on a Sunday. In the subject simply put “Sunday Worship” followed by the date you will attend. In the e- mail you only need to provide your name and the number of people in your household who will attend. If you do not have e-mail, a telephone call to the office to give these details will suffice. We need to have a cut off point each week for bookings, which will be 6.00 pm on Friday evenings. Please make sure you book before this time each week.

At first, there will only be the main meeting in the senior hall. We hope to add a Sunday School and Integrate service at Stage 3 of the Government’s pathway in May. Further details of this will follow later. Given the current guidelines, these are initial, phased steps to help us move forward at this time. We will follow Government and Salvation Army guidelines as we have at all times during the last year and if changes need to be made we will inform you as soon as possible.

Monday 22 February 2021

Following the Government announcement for easing restrictions in England, we will continue with online only worship until further notice, or until guidance from Salvation Army Headquarters changes.

Wednesday 6 January 2021

We hope you all had a good Christmas and New Year.

We return in this new year to the next phase of the pandemic and all that it means for our corps. You will all be aware of the new national lockdown measures announced by the Prime Minister on Monday and so we write to you to give a brief update of our response to the government’s latest lockdown measures that have come into force in the last 48 hours. Ten months into the pandemic we are getting quite used to having to make changes to our way of doing things and this is likely to continue for many months to come. As far as the day to day operations of the corps are concerned, we will continue to work at the hall each day to support people in our city, as we have been doing since mid-March last year. Already we are seeing an increase in requests for food parcel deliveries as we did in the first lockdown and we will manage these accordingly.

In England, the government is allowing communal worship to take place in churches during this latest lockdown, which is a change in policy to previous lockdowns. We have always sought to operate according to government and SA guidelines as far as Sunday worship activities are concerned and will continue to do so. That said, for this lockdown we have decided that we will be suspending congregation attendance on Sunday morning for the duration of this current lockdown.  The Livestream service has been very welcome and gives us options we did not have before and therefore we will be conducting our Sunday Meeting via the Livestream service only. This will mean that the only people who need to attend the hall on Sundays are the COs and the two livestream operators. There are two dominant factors influencing this decision this time around:

  1. The new strain of the virus is more easily passed from one person to another, as is seen in the daily statistics being shared by the government. Therefore, until more people become vaccinated the risk of catching the virus at present is much higher than before.
  2. The majority of those who have been attending on Sunday mornings since our meetings recommenced in the Summer have travelled in from the outer parts of the city, which is the very nature of our gathered corps. Whilst attending worship in this lockdown would not be breaking government guidelines, for the majority of folk who have been attending they would have to leave the area where they live in order to come into central Birmingham to attend the meeting and that would be in breach of the current government guidelines.

Therefore, having assessed the risk, as we regularly do, we consider that at the moment it is safer for us to suspend attendance at the meeting and to provide the worship service to everyone through the livestream. We will review this at the end of the current seven week lockdown period.

Every blessing,

Major Adrian and Captain Clare Allman

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