Diocese of Portsmouth

Latest News

Church buildings during the pandemic

As we emerge out of the current lockdown into the new three-tiered system, here are the details of what your church is able to do from December 2:

Tier 1 (Medium) – applies to the Isle of Wight only:

  • Churches can open for public worship, so long as the Covid-secure number is not exceeded, social distancing is practised and face-coverings worn.
  • Those attending cannot interact with more than six people.
  • There is a maximum of 15 guests for weddings, civil partnerships, wedding receptions and wakes; and a maximum of 30 for funerals.

Tier 2 (High) – applies to Portsmouth and Hampshire:

  • Churches can open for public worship, so long as the Covid-secure number is not exceeded, social distancing is practised and face-coverings worn.
  • Those attending cannot interact with anyone outside their household or support bubble.
  • There is a maximum of 15 guests for weddings, civil partnerships, wedding receptions and wakes; and a maximum of 30 for funerals.

Tier 3 (Very High) – worth knowing, in case any part of our diocese is moved to this tier:

  • Churches can open for public worship, so long as the Covid-secure number is not exceeded, social distancing is practised and face-coverings worn.
  • Those attending cannot interact with anyone outside their household or support bubble.
  • There is a maximum of 15 guests for weddings, civil partnerships and wakes; and a maximum of 30 for funerals. Wedding receptions are not permitted.

Current lockdown

Before December 2, our churches can only be opened:

  • for funerals (with a maximum of 30 people attending);
  • to broadcast acts of worship;
  • for individual private prayer,
  • for formal childcare or educational provision;
  • or for essential voluntary and public services (such as a Foodbank).

Weddings will not be permitted, apart from in exceptional circumstances. You can read the full details on the government website, including who can be in the building when you broadcast digital worship, and how to organise individual private prayer, here.

The national C of E has also issued some guidances document about the new lockdown, which usefully summarises the current position:

The Archbishops and Bishops have also suggested that the month of lockdown, from November 5-December 2, should be a month of prayer. Christians should pause at 6pm each day to be united in prayer for our nation, for those who are ill and their loved ones. You can download resources to help with this from here and here..

Maintenance and repair of church buildings during coronavirus

Parishes will be concerned about the maintenance and fabric of church buildings during the current restrictions, and therefore guidance has been issued as follows:

As health and safety requirements and associate risk assessments for such work will now have to also incorporate regularly updated government advice, parishes should ensure that their architect/professional advisor has ensured that the principle contractor undertaking works has agreed to take on this responsibility.

You can continue to complete faculty applications at this time and the DAC Secretary can advise on paperwork required. The revised online system is up and running as of April 1st and we can also advise over the phone on using this. Therefore parishes can continue planning for the long term and DAC Secretary can still circulate details to the committee for discussion.

If you wish to contact the DAC Secretary please email dac@portsmouth.anglican.org or telephone 023 9289 9687.


Central contents register

Please find below the links for the Central Contents Register.

If you are not aware of what this is, Church Commissioners produce a list every quarter of ecclesiastical items that are in need of relocation i.e. pews, fonts etc. There is also a list of items that parishes are looking out for.

Remember to inform Vivienne Chick (details on the covering letter below) if you want to add or remove an item from the list.

Covering letter (January 2020) DFOs (January 2020)
Suppliers (January 2020) Disclaimer (January 2020)
Items wanted (January 2020) Items for sale (January 2020)

Maintenance Booker

Maintenance Booker postcardThis is an online service from National Churches Trust, which helps parishes find maintenance services through accredited and experienced contractors.

Services currently available include gutter clearance, lightning protection system inspections, tree surveys and surgery and asbestos maintenance.

Please click here for further details.

Extension of LPOW

The government has formally confirmed the extension of the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme (LPWGS) until March 2021.

Changes to Faculty Rules from 1st April 2020

From April 1st 2020 there will be four main changes to note when applying for works:

  1. New expanded A & B lists come into force – removes more work from requiring a faculty.
  2. Application process on the online system will be revised to improve communication with DAC Secretary (total paperwork will be the same but more steps will appear on the system).
  3. The documents that are viewed during the public notice period can now be viewed online (the DAC Secretary can upload these for parishes).
  4. The process for consultation with the amenities societies will now take place before the DAC agree the works and no longer requested once this has gone to the Chancellor.

There will now be a 42 day (maximum) consultation period for the amenities societies to comment following submission of an application for significant works or changes.

For full details of all the changes see: https://www.churchofengland.org/more/church-resources/churchcare/church-buildings-council/how-we-manage-our-buildings

To discuss any of these changes please contact David Cain or Catherine Gray on 023 9289 9687.

Further detail on new Faculty Jurisdiction Rules from April 1st 2020

(added 19/03/2020)

This is the first substantial change since the 2015 rules that introduced the lists of works that could be done without faculty, some after confirmation by the Archdeacon that a faculty is not needed.

The new rules add to both List A (works that can be done without permission) and List B (works that the Archdeacon must confirm do not need a faculty). There will be more routine, repair and maintenance works that will not need faculty. The range of items in the list is increased and a distinction made between listed and unlisted buildings where appropriate. Matters to encourage better use of energy are moved into the lists, and providing bike racks is introduced for the first time.

One intention of the new rules is to see churches better supported through the faculty process. For churches with far-reaching proposals that will change the character of a listed building wide consultation remains necessary. However, it has been moved to earlier in the process so that parishes will have the benefit of the advice before the DAC issues its notification of advice. This regularises a working practice that has already become establishes in many dioceses.

To support this the Online Faculty System has been revised and all new applications from 1 April will have new screens reflecting the new rules and to encourage close working with the DAC. The main change that experienced users will notice is at the start of a new faculty application. The first engagement will ask only two questions –form 1 and a description of the project. The DAC will review this and advise the next steps according to what is really needed. This is intended to encourage close engagement and save a church providing more that is needed.

All applications started on or before 31 March will follow the current rules, and the online system will automatically identify these and continue to process them as at present.

The text of the new rules is here and updated guidance for parishes on the new rules is here. A flowchart can be downloaded showing the process here.

New guidance on metal roof covering

Historic England has updated its online guidance on thefts of roofs and published new technical guidance on terne-coated stainless steel.

When lead or copper roof coverings have been stolen, Historic England understands it may be too risky to replace with the same materials. It has found that the most appropriate and long-lasting alternative is terne-coated stainless steel; although for some buildings zinc, slates or tiles may be options. A good specification and experienced contractors are key to ensuring the performance of the replacement roof covering. HE has now published technical guidance about using terne-coated stainless steel for church roofs to address commonly raised questions.

Grants for roof alarms

Grants of £1,000 are available to churches for roof alarms from Allchurches Trust. This has been provided to county historic churches trusts and dioceses on the basis of a £1,000 grant per church. To see if you are in an eligible area visit the National Churches Trust website.

Download this leaflet regarding Allchurches Trust’s Roof Protection Scheme

DAC Newsletters

Click below for the latest newsletter:

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If you have any practical information which you think might help other parishes with DAC work or church maintenance please email: dac@portsmouth.anglican.org