COVID-19 update

Faith communities are responding to COVID-19 in a variety of ways. Read more…

Faith Communities and Coronavirus

A number of IFN member bodies have issued guidance on Covid-19. The links below will no doubt change on a regular basis but the range and nature of responses may be helpful to be aware of.

Note: This page was last updated on 7 April. For the latest information see: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ which links to all government information on this issue.

 

BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha

 

Board of Deputies of British Jews

  • On 4 March, Board of Deputies of British Jews published a list of precautions according to Government guidance on their website. https://www.bod.org.uk/coronavirus/
  • On March 17, Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl has spoken about the challenges facing both the Jewish community and the wider world in the face of the spread of Covid-19. https://www.bod.org.uk/board-of-deputies-president-we-need-to-dig-deep-to-find-the-faith-strength-and-resources-to-get-through/
  • On March 18, BoD have posted downloadable link to a ‘Can I Help You’ card which people can print off, fill out and post through the letter box to their neighbours, as well as other guidelines from Public Health England. https://www.bod.org.uk/coronavirus/
  • On March 22, BoD President called on the government to respect religious traditions on cremation and burial. This came after the government proposed an emergency coronavirus bill which includes mandatory cremation for all who die from coronavirus if necessary. The legislation was amended after concerns were raised by Jewish and Muslim communities.
  • BoD have shared guidelines issued by the UK’s main Kashrut authorities regarding products that are permissible for use on Pesach this year, as many members of the Jewish community may not be in a position to visit a Kosher supermarket to do their Pesach shopping.  
  • The Board of Deputies have collaborated with the Jewish Leadership Council to create a new online forum to work together “at a level never seen before” in order to be connected nationally. They have pooled together resources, as well as skilled professionals, in order to offer a vital way to communicate and to have maximum impact on a number of issues during the epidemic.

 

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales

 

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

 

Churches Together in Britain and Ireland

 

Churches Together in England

 

General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches

  • Unitarians UK posted a message on Facebook regarding Coronavirus from the Unitarian headquarters, stating that they are not planning to cancel their annual meetings in April, although this may change as things develop. They have also provided links to the latest NHS advice, as well as advice from the Church of England. https://www.facebook.com/UnitariansUK/posts/2499667180248197
  • On 16 March, the Unitarians posted an update to their upcoming meetings, such as the AGM which has been cancelled, and they are working on a ‘Plan B’ to offer some virtual spaces where they can learn, worship, explore, and connect together. https://www.facebook.com/UnitariansUK/photos/a.2152344151647170/2502958499919065/
  • From 25 March, Unitarians UK have posted daily reflection videos on Facebook to inspire hope within others during this difficult time.
  • Unitarians UK are holding a three day virtual gathering for spiritual connection titled ‘Being Together’ from 7-9 April 2020. This will be a space of togetherness, hope, inspiration and support during these strange and difficult times. The gathering will consist of online talks, workshops, ritual, and sharing circles. 

 

Hindu Council (UK)

  • Hindus in UK have joined other Faith Leaders, to urge communities not to gather physically in groups, and to pray at home. 
  • The Chair of Hindus in UK has urged Hindus to pray for humanity this Chaitra Navratri 2020.  https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=262589961416839
  • Members of the Hindu Council prepared over a hundred meals to serve to the needy and locked down community. They are also requesting all temples in the UK to organise Food Seva for the needy people in this time of crisis, even by providing uncooked raw foods in their stock if they are unable to cook at their premises. https://twitter.com/hindu_counciluk/status/1244635571953303552

 

Hindu Forum of Britain

 

Inter Faith Working Group of the Baptist Union of Great Britain

 

Islamic Cultural Centre

 

Jamiat-e-Ulama Britain (Association of Muslim Scholars)

 

Methodist Church in Britain

 

Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board

 

Muslim Council of Britain

 

Network of Buddhist Organisations (UK)

 

Network of Sikh Organisations (UK)

  • On March 20, The Network of Sikh Organisations published advice for gurdwaras to consider the temporary closing of normal gatherings to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. http://nsouk.co.uk/category/current-issues/

 

The Pagan Federation

 

Quaker Committee for Christian and Interfaith Relations

 

The Salvation Army UK

 

Spiritualists’ National Union

 

Sri Lankan Sangha Sabha of GB

  • On 21 March, the Maha Sangha at the London Buddhist Vihara posted a message on Facebook wishing all good health and protection. The Maha Sangha have been livestreaming the chanting of 'Ratana Sutta' at their evening puja every day on Facebook at 6pm. https://www.facebook.com/londonvihara/posts/646114446172976

 

United Reformed Church in the UK

 

Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe

  • From 18 March, the office at the Zoroastrian Centre will officially be closed until further notice. 
  • ZTFE President Malcolm Deboo and ZSCH-CZC lead Rozy Contractor have put together a video message to their members explaining how ZTFE is adjusting its operations in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and have also requested the contacts of any elderly persons who may be isolated and may benefit from a regular phone call, or help with shopping. https://www.flickr.com/photos/68383837@N06/49723683148/in/shares-19w7C2/

 

There is also guidance from other organisations such as https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-churches and http://www.citysikhs.org.uk/2020/03/coronavirus-covid-19-update-for-gurdwaras-united-kingdom/ .

Strengthening Faith Institutions (SFI) have also compiled a list of resources for faith institutions and groups on responding to COVID-19. https://www.sfitogether.org/2020/03/17/advice-for-faith-institutions-and-groups-on-responding-to-covid-19/

Cancellations, precautions and alternative approaches to worship

 

A number of cancellations have been taking place, including, for example, in relation to the celebration of Holi in some areas, eg https://www.bedfordindependent.co.uk/bedford-holi-festival-cancelled-as-coronavirus-precaution/

Some are using ‘virtual’ celebration options. For example, the United Syngagogue which livestreamed a Purim service:  https://www.thejc.com/community/community-news/united-synagogue-livestreaming-purim-service-for-those-affected-by-coronavirus-1.497862

A number of articles are picking up on how faith communities are responding such as:

 

 

 

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