On 17 August, the Church of England published the following update of its guidance “particularly in light of changes to advice on choirs singing during services”. The announcement, the new FAQ and relevant part of the guidance on conducting public worship document are reproduced below.
In light of recent Government guidance updates we have now updated the following documents. This is particularly in light of changes to advice on choirs singing during services. Please see the top of each document for details of changes.
Last updated Monday 17 August at 14:32
- Updated Baptisms document
- Updated Weddings document
- Updated Funerals document
- Updated Holy Communion document
- Updated Confirmation services document
- Updated Ordinations and Consecrations document
- Updated Conducting public worship document*
- Updated Pastoral support in the community including care homes document
- New FAQ Can a choir sing during worship? in Prayer and worship section
* Further updated on 18 August with regard to latest face coverings guidance for those leading worship, (same URL).
Yes, the congregation may not sing yet, but providing adequate distancing can be achieved, a small choir may sing. Please see our guidance on public worship for more information.
Dated 17 August:
Update on version 2: sections 17. and 18. Have been updated to reflect the updated Government guidance on Performing Arts and Places of Worship issued on the 13th and 14th August respectively.
17. Can we sing?
It is now permissible for both professional and non-professional singers and musicians to perform in small groups to people inside and outside of buildings in line with the recommendations for physical distancing and hygiene set out by the Government in their performing arts guidance.
This includes those who regularly volunteer to do music and singing, as part of a choir for example, to perform as a part of worship.
Congregations are still at this time not permitted to sing as part of worship.
Wherever possible people should continue to physically distance from those they do not live with, venues, performers and audiences should be matched to ensure 2m distancing applies and the number of performers should be limited.
Those assisting with worship through music or singing do not always need to wear a face covering, but face coverings or screens should be used if physical distancing cannot be maintained.
18. Can our worship band play?
Yes, please see the guidance on singing above and the Government guidance on performing arts. Players need to be appropriately physically distanced, and the music should not be so loud that it encourages people to shout above it.
The Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) has produced additional practical guidance:
- Guidance for Safely Resuming Group Music-making in Church.
- Initial things to consider when planning for music in post-pandemic live services.
- COVID-19 Risk Assessment Music in live services – Template.