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Coronavirus - latest information

01 April 2020

Dear All,

Church buildings may be closed but it seems to me that churches are coming alive, working and serving our communities in so many new ways. It is so encouraging in this time when the world needs to hear the voice of hope, the message of good news that only Jesus Christ our Saviour can bring.

It is important to note that the Government have listed Ministers as key workers at this time so I want to thank them for all the work they are doing in this time of change and challenge.

I write today to support churches who have made enquiries about Furlough and the Governments job retention scheme. There is information on the Governments website and this is the link.

However, if you require specific HR advice, we recommend you contact Peter Flower our advisor who will be more than happy to support you. You can email him here.

We do not want Ministers or anyone working for the church to lose their jobs because of this crisis. We know with buildings having to be closed income is being lost not just from Sunday morning collection but also from weekly room rentals. I have therefore written to the Prime Minister to seek assistance and support for churches from the Government. We wait for a response.

We have recently heard from the Congregational Fund Board who can award grants to Ministers who are experiencing 'Sudden & Exceptional' financial difficulties. This now also includes hardships due to Covid-19. Aged (70+) and/or Infirm (Retired early through ill health) ministers are also eligible to apply. Grants can be up to £500. Please note that eligibility is also partly based on geographical location and Scotland and parts of Northern England are not eligible to apply but Ministers in those areas could contact the Lady Hewley trust. Let me know if you would like the contact details.

I have been overwhelmed with all the online services and videos that I have been able to watch and be part of without having to travel at all from my office in Liverpool!! The wonder of technology is something to be thankful for at this time.

Easter is approaching I hope you find some way to celebrate the most amazing message of resurrection and hope from Jesus. Let me know if you would like some ideas.

Keep in touch, be assured of prayers for peace and protection – join me live every day for online prayers at 12.45pm on the Congregational Federation Facebook page.

Yours sincerely

Yvonne Campbell
General Secretary