Here's how Boris Johnson's plan to unlock England could impact your church's diary. All dates are earliest possible and depend on coronavirus cases going down and the success of the vaccine rollout.
The guidance has not been specifically applied to places of worship yet but here is a rough idea of what we might expect:
8th March: you can do a 1-2-1 Bible study or pray over a coffee with a friend outside.
We could be looking at Sunday school in the car park as by 8th March all children will be able to access any outdoor childcare and supervised activities. Parent and child groups can also take place outdoors with a limit of 15 attendees (children under five years of age do not count towards the attendee limit.)
29th March: you can do a small group of two households outside.
4th April is Easter Sunday! Remember last Easter when church had to frantically find ways to make sure they got the message of Jesus' resurrection out via different channels with just a few days' notice? Well, although churches in England are already allowed to open in-person in England currently, many have chosen to broadcast online. Maybe those that have opted to close will feel they can safely do more by Easter weekend and make up for last year's last-minute plans.
12th April: Church halls and community centres can re-open and weddings can have 15 guests.
17th May: 30 people can gather outdoors in groups of six, could we be looking at a socially distanced church picnic?
Groups of two households can gather indoors from 17th May, families could pair-up with each other in a living room to join a Bible study over Zoom.
Weddings & christenings can have 30 guests.
Christian festivals may be able to go ahead at half venue capacity or less than 1,000 people in line with other conferences and church weekends away look possible as remaining accommodation re-opens, trips before that in more self-contained accommodation might be possible as there's less sharing of bathrooms and kitchens involved.
21st June: The date now on everyone's calendar...hopefully social distancing will no longer be legally required, weddings will have no limits and we can hug our church family as normal again!