COGOP UK RESPONSE TO COVID 19

 

Introduction

The Church of God of Prophecy UK is committed to doing all that it can to help reduce the spread of Coronavirus, (COVID-19).

 In light of global precautions and to ensure we are adhering to the directions given by the UK Government and Chief Medical Officer, our church Board is monitoring the prevailing situation around this virus and meeting regularly to review how we can reduce risks and provide our membership population with practical precautions to prevent the spread of infection.

Public and Private Worship/ Services

It is with regret that we have decided to suspend public and private worship services in the Church of God of Prophecy UK for the time being, in line with government guidance. As a leadership team we are looking at alternative ways to continue providing worship services and pastoral care, such as online worship services.

The use of church buildings for social action projects bring with its increased risks and therefore a risk-based approach must be taken and in collaboration with guidance from the local authorities prior to any project continuing. Due consideration must be given to wearing protective equipment. Where there are exceptions – it should only be for parcelling and drop off.

Keeping you Informed

There is a robust communication plan to ensure that our church networks are appropriately kept informed. As the advice from our government changes, then these guidelines will be updated, but we recommend that members take responsibility to regularly visit our church website(www.cogop.org.uk) and communications on the NHS website (https://111.NHS.uk). 

Safety Measures

There are general principles you can follow to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

Hand-Hygiene

Good hand hygiene is always vital in reducing the spread of this virus. Wash hands more frequently, for at least 20 seconds, in running water, with soap, and use hand sanitising gel. Only single-use hand towels should be used in your toilet facilities.

Also avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands and cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin and wash your hands.

Click here to download the NHS Hand Hygiene Poster to publish in your toilet facilities at your local church.

Routine Cleaning

We have released guidance to our local churches on how our sanctuaries are to be cleaned (deep cleaning and routine cleaning).  Extra attention will be given to high traffic areas especially metal surfaces like door handles, fascia plates, microphones and seats. 

Click here to read cleaning advice from the government.

Stay at home

You must stay at home apart from essential travel or you could be fined

  • Only go outside for food, health reasons, exercise or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home)
  • Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home

Further information can be found at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Protecting our vulnerable members

Government guidance is under constant review and so must be followed.  Current guidance includes:

  • Avoid non-essential travel and social gathering
  • Those with existing medical conditions and 70 years old and above must self-isolate for 12 weeks
  • Pregnant and vulnerable adults to take additional precautions of social measures/distancing

These Individuals may have received a letter in the post asking them to follow shielding advice and the necessary precautions for 12 weeks as they are considered an extremely clinically vulnerable group.

www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19

The church will be taking a proactive approach to ensuring supportive and protective contingency measures are in place for all members, the elderly and vulnerable and all those who may need to be in isolation.

Social Distancing

Social distancing measures are steps that the government has asked that we take to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

  • Avoid non-essential use of public transport, varying your travel times to avoid rush hour, when possible.
  • Work from home, where possible.
  • Avoid gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media.
  • UK Gov Guidance on Social Distancing

Self-Isolation

  • According to NHS, if you have a NEW persistent cough or a high temperature you must stay at home for 7 days.
  • If you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms.
  • If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system please. see https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
  • If symptoms worsen or persist you may need additional help and may need more intensive intervention and services.

If a member develops symptoms or is diagnosed with the virus

  • Please refer them to appropriate NHS advice. (https://111.NHS.uk)  as above. 
  • Please let your senior Pastor know so we can put the appropriate pastoral support in place.

Supporting our Members

Pastoral Care

  • The Pastoral team will continue to be on hand to support our members. Pastoral visits will be selective and by prior arrangement considering advice provided by the government.

Funerals

  • Until further notice, funerals will not take place in any COGOP UK church buildings Funerals will only be conducted at the crematorium or at the cemetery.
  • Public Health England (PHE) has issued further guidance for those managing or organising funerals during the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance aims to ensure that bereaved people are treated with sensitivity, dignity and respect, while protecting individuals, communities and those in the funeral industry from the risk of infection.
  • The guidance details where exceptions can be made to the stay at home advice currently in place to allow families and friends to attend funerals and say goodbye to loved ones, including those who are self-isolating or who have been defined as extremely clinically vulnerable, should they wish to.

The advice includes:

  • those who have symptoms of COVID-19 must not attend and must stay at home
  • limiting the numbers in attendance to as low as possible to ensure safe social distancing. Numbers can be determined by the size and circumstance of the venue. (Please check with your local authority /funeral director for agreed numbers as there are regional variances)
  • observing social distancing guidance across all aspects of attending a funeral
  • people who are extremely clinically vulnerable (shielded) can attend with measures put in place to reduce their risk
  • people self-isolating, because someone in their household is ill, may attend if they do not have symptoms themselves
  • available bereavement support services

The following publication provides additional information when planning a funeral  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-managing-a-funeral-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic/covid-19-guidance-for-managing-a-funeral-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic(19 April 2020)

  • Consideration can be made to holding a memorial service and wake at a later date to celebrate the life of our loved ones.

Ministry and wellbeing of the elderly or those staying at home

  • The church will be taking a cell group and social action approach in partnership with existing community groups to ensure practical support is in place for all those who are vulnerable at this time.

Sentient Support Network – therapy and counselling

  • You can access the church’s Sentient Support Network of qualified counsellors who are available to provide individual/group therapy, bereavement counselling and support to the church community and wider community. This service is available to church ministers, leaders, volunteers and frontline workers including doctors, nurses and social workers. 
  • To request support call the corporate support helpline on 0121 358 2231 or email Sentient@cogop.org.uk or Administrator@cogop.org.uk( 9 am – 4 pm )
  • Your request will be treated confidentially by the Sentient coordinator and assigned to a support counsellor or group therapy session on request.

Prayer for families and communities

  • We will be continuing prayers and prayer points for all families affected and further information will be shared of how you can engage with this programme.

Prayer Focus

(Local/National/International)

Church of God of Prophecy is an international church family, operating at local, national, and international levels. As we find ourselves in this most difficult situation, we are concerned about our church family and people everywhere who have been adversely impacted. We are gathering information and learning from our church families around the world, who are currently facing severe difficulties and uncertainties around this situation. We do ask that we hold everyone up in prayers, particularly in those countries where the rate of infection of this virus is greatly advanced.

Hebrews 13:5 “Jesus said I will never leave you nor forsake you that you may boldly say, the Lord is my helper.”

‘Father in your name, we call on you today in the promise of your word. We pray for those who are currently struggling with the fears and concerns around this virus. Father we act in belief and confidence in your promises, knowing that you have not given us the spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind. We therefore embrace the promise of your word, even during this time of uncertainty. We are still persuaded that your precious blood heals and makes whole. We pray for our church family: we pray for those in our communities who maybe feeling insecure and isolated. We pray for our decision-makers, medical experts, leaders national and international. Father we rest our cares in your hands, in the name of Jesus. Amen’

Updated and reissued by COGOP UK National Presiding Bishop and Board of Trustees updated 5 May 2020

References /Useful links

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For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.

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