COVID-19

FAQs

FAQs

 

Is closing the church mandatory across the NEC? 

Are we calling the church to pray? 

How will church activities be coordinated during the pandemic? 

What are Church Response Teams being asked to do? 

What should happen if someone becomes ill (or suspects they are ill) from Coronavirus? 

How should churches maintain contact, particularly with the vulnerable? 

How can churches help the community during this time? 

Will any church services be broadcast if churches are closed? 

Can churches and individuals create online ministry for themselves? 

What support will NEC be offering local churches? 

Where can churches find trustworthy information throughout the pandemic? 

What will we be developed by NEC in the weeks and months ahead? 

 

Is closing the church mandatory across the NEC? 

Yes. All churches must put in place plans for worship, pastoral care, leadership, and the continuation of community outreach activities. For the duration of the church being closed:

  • Any extracurricular group activities and large events should be cancelled. 
  • Congregations and staff should be discouraged from gathering or socialising unless essential.
  • Gatherings at places like a friend’s house, a favorite restaurant, or local store / shop should also be discouraged.

Are we calling the church to pray? 

Absolutely. Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled. Pray About It! 

In order to counteract the understandably negative messages being circulated, and to fortify our faith despite the pandemic, we are encouraging corporate prayer across the entire NEC territory for as long as the situation remains. At 07:00 and 19:00 hours every day we are asking members to come together and Pray:

  • Pray! That God will be merciful during this worldwide pandemic.
  • Pray! For members, calling by name, those in self-isolation and who may test positively for COVID-19.
  • Pray! For those in authority making difficult, challenging decisions.
  • Pray! Especially for the elderly, the physically vulnerable and our young ones who may be frightened by what they are hearing in the media about the virus.
  • Pray! For members to keep in touch with each other and for God to protect individual churches from being destabilised as they are affected by this crisis.
  • Pray! For God’s people to keep a level head and see the pandemic as an opportunity to share the 3 angels’ messages and good news of Christ’s second coming, and pray for God to break the chains that hold people back from accepting Bible truth.
  • Pray! For a spirit of calm across the UK, and rebuke the spirit of selfishness that is moving the public to hoard food and goods.
  • Pray! For Christ to be fully revealed in the lives of our members as we respond to this crisis situation.
  • Pray! For members to be spiritually attuned and strong in faith, having a deep sense of God’s abiding presence, and His enabling power to take a decided stand for truth in challenging times.
  • Pray! For the promised blessing of the Holy Spirit and for God’s people to prepare to receive Him as He is given in generous measure. 

How will church activities be coordinated during the pandemic? 

The Pastors of ALL churches have been provided with a Church Continuity Plan, which needs to be completed as a matter of urgency in order to safeguard members, regular visitors and the wider community.  Each church will appoint a Responsible Officer and a Church Response Team, chaired by the Responsible Officer and include representation from the pastoral team, church leaders, health professionals, and individuals with experience in areas such as administration, project management, risk assessment and management, counselling etc.  

All plans will be sent to NEC on a fortnightly basis or immediately following a significant local development. A NEC appointed Continuity Planning Team will use the information provided to help NEC respond to developments in a co-ordinated and informed manner.  

What are Church Response Teams being asked to do? 

A Pastor’s job is to shepherd the flock, even if the flock is somewhat scattered for any reason. During the pandemic we are asking local churches to create Church Response Teams comprised of individuals from pastoral team, church leaders, health professionals, and individuals with a range of useful experience in areas such as administration, project management, risk assessment and management etc., will lead and coordinate delivery of practical ways of providing:

  • identifying people in need and designating members to check on these people regularly
  • providing counselling, encouragement, and pastoral care using phone calls, Skype, Zoom etc.
  • addressing people’s fears with the hope of Christ
  • using phone calls, texting, and emails to check in with people regularly
  • planning for outreach to shut-ins, people with special needs, and the elderly

What should happen if someone becomes ill (or suspects they are ill) from Coronavirus? 

To prevent the spread of the virus, individuals should follow the steps below If they are sick with COVID-19 or think they might have it. Following the steps will to help protect other people in your home and community:

  • Stay home. People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to recover at home. Do not leave, except to get medical care. Do not visit public areas.
  • Seek medical advice if required. First point contact should be 111 via the internet, and by phone only if this is not possible.  Be sure to get care if you feel worse or you think it is an emergency.
  • Avoid public transportation. Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
  • Cover. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Dispose. Throw used tissues in a lined bin.
  • Wash hands. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.  This is especially important after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.  Soap and water remain the best option, especially if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Do not share. Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people in your home.
  • Wash thoroughly after use. After using these items, wash them thoroughly with soap and water or put in the dishwasher.
  • Clean and disinfect. Routinely clean high-touch surfaces in your “sick room” and bathroom. Let someone else clean and disinfect surfaces in common areas, but not your bedroom and bathroom.
  • Stay away from others. As much as possible, you should stay in a specific “sick room” and away from other people in your home. Use a separate bathroom, if available.
  • Follow care instructions from your healthcare provider and local health department. Your local health authorities will give instructions on checking your symptoms and reporting information.

How should churches maintain contact, particularly with the vulnerable? 

We are encouraging churches to find creative ways of staying in touch with those who are isolated and vulnerable and to give them spiritual support and also practical support as far as possible. 

Social isolation can intensify loneliness. If you or someone you know is in isolation because of the virus, it’s important to stay connected.  As part of their Church Continuity Plan, we are asking all churches to create a list of all vulnerable individuals in their church - contact information, including phone numbers (mobile and home), email addresses, physical addresses and family contact information. Ensure frequent, regular contact based on need, and ensure to keep them included by name in prayer and able to make prayer requests.

We are asking for the information collated by churches regarding the number of vulnerable individuals to be shared with NEC so that we can maintain an accurate picture of where the challenges and needs may be across the NEC territory.

How can churches help the community during this time? 

People will be more open to the Gospel in words and in deeds than maybe ever before. COVID-19, though not welcomed, is an opportunity for us to be the Christ within our respective communities, and for all churches to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ in service. If your church cannot start a community outreach ‘from scratch’, it can volunteer to assist other community projects and initiatives. 

Whatever you decide to do to serve your community, ensure that you tell people what you’re doing. You can use your website, your Facebook page, Facebook groups, other social media accounts to inform people of your services. Here are a few ideas to get you started: 

  • Providing particular assistance and support for those without access to the internet, DAB radio or other social media platforms.
  • Providing food and household supplies. 
  • Purchasing extra food for those who may be self-isolating and coordinating delivery of food items.
  • Enquiring what local food donation organisations you may be available to partner with. They may be looking for help in food distribution and you can serve there. 
  • Encouraging local grocery markets and pharmacies to deliver. You could even help facilitate these deliveries. 
  • Helping elderly people set up online ordering systems so they can order from home. Where there is evidence of community spread of COVID-19, design strategies to avoid distribution in group settings. Consider options such as drive-through bagged lunches or meal delivery.

Provide varied types of assistance: 

  • Care for families who may have someone sick or in the hospital. 
  • Provide burial care if necessary. Again, consider live streaming these services for people who cannot attend. 
  • Set up a “hotline” for people to call with any needs you haven’t yet identified. Then connect your church members to meet these needs. 
  • Provide financial assistance for people who may need to miss work because of illness, to care for someone, or to care for children should schools be closed.
  • Consider how to help with pets. There may be medical needs with pets that quarantined people cannot accommodate. 

Will any church services be broadcast if churches are closed? 

As COVID-19 continues to spread across the UK, the coming weeks will be unpredictable and difficult for a many of us. What we do know is that people are turning online more than ever to both process their fears and to build communities of support.  This can include your website, social media, and mobile apps.

The NEC will be streaming a live service every Sabbath beginning at 08:30am to help cater for the membership during this time of church closures. We hope that these messages will be a source of encouragement and help us all to get through this challenging time.  Access to the live stream is available at:  https://youtu.be/oLpI0eJU6Lw

HOPE FM will also provide daily broadcasts (24/7, 365 days of the year), and can be accessed by either the internet at www.hopefm.live, or by downloading a free app.  Members can listen live and also join interaction on the live chat.  Download HOPE FM on iPhone/iPad: https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/hope-fm/id1495251383 or Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.abn.hopefm

Can churches and individuals create online ministry for themselves? 

With the closure of churches, it will be important for your church to be able to do ministry online. This can include your website, social media, and mobile apps.

  • Improving your church website. It’s a dated analogy but churches should consider enhancing their online presence especially during a crisis. 
  • Increasing your church Facebook presence. Facebook is built around a community focus. Facebook pages may be a primary way for your church members to communicate, care for one another, and reach out to one another. Start a Facebook page or Facebook private group. If you don’t have a Facebook page, then start one now. Every post provides an opportunity for your members to share those posts with their friends and expand your ministry reach during a time when people will be open to the Gospel.
  • Arrange to promote worship or Bible study online.  Your church may already live stream your messages. If so, you are ahead of the game. If not, you can get started live streaming or using Facebook Live or YouTube Live.  These allow a church to stream a message from any location directly onto Facebook. 
  • Communicating through podcasts. Podcasts are a great way to provide comfort and communicate biblical perspective during times of crisis. You can use Facebook Live as a simple tool for podcasting. 

What support will NEC be offering local churches? 

We are aware that the circumstances of the pandemic may place pressure on local churches in their care and support of individuals from vulnerable groups.  With that in mind, the NEC Executive Committee have given their support to the re-distribution of the 2020 budget so that relief funds can be made available to assist this group.  The criteria for accessing the relief funds will be made available shortly. 

Where can churches find trustworthy information throughout the pandemic? 

Churches should not only ensure they get information from trustworthy sources, but should discourage members from randomly sharing information from unqualified sources that do not accurately reflect the current position and do not edify individuals spiritually. Check Government response for the most up-to-date information on how to protect yourself and those around you. Maybe also consider switching off and having a break from the constant stream of news! Please visit our download page here.

What will we be developed by NEC in the weeks and months ahead?

In the weeks ahead, and anticipating that the pandemic is likely to cause disruption for probably months not weeks, we will be focusing more acutely on our online and social media capabilities to share the Gospel of hope at this time.  More content is required and the setting up of social media groups and increasing the number of webinars and other online services where we all can make the most of social media to share important messages with family, friends and acquaintances.  

We will maintain our continued focus on vulnerable groups and enable mental health reflections take place – daily reflections to help people, especially at a time when they are feeling lonely, isolated or anxious.