Further relaxation of the guidance and legislation is taking place across Britain. These changes will allow us to enjoy more of what we like to do as Quakers. We can be more confident that our Quaker meetings are safe spaces for those who attend that are most at risk from the virus.
The pandemic is still not over and we need to keep working together to help keep the virus under control. Much of the legislation has been removed (especially in England) but there is still suggested behaviours in place to help us to learn to live with the virus.
BYM is encouraging those holding in-person worship or other Quaker events, such as weddings or funerals, across Britain to work closely with those managing Quaker premises to keep everyone safe by:
- Limiting numbers where possible.
- Maintaining some level of social distancing.
- Wearing face coverings where possible, including when giving ministry.
- Carrying out a risk assessment, specifically for Covid or as a theme within a wider review.
All three nations are encouraging the same things. It varies in each nation as to what is advice and what is legislation, and how it is set out. But broadly:
- Get the vaccine or the vaccine booster.
- Use lateral flow tests (LFT) while they are available or you have them – especially before mixing with other people or visiting a hospital or care home.
- Follow regional guidance on self-isolating and testing.
- Wear a face covering if and when required.
- If mixing with others, try to gather in small groups only.
- Wash your hands regularly and cover your nose and mouth if coughing or sneezing.
- Open windows when meeting indoors.
- Mix home and office working allowed where possible.
Places of worship are open for public in-person worship in all parts of Britain. Here is a summary of what has changed or is changing in each part of Britain.
See the plan for
Living with Covid in England.
All remaining restrictions have been lifted in Scotland. For full details see Coronavirus in Scotland.
We still need to continue with caution and care for our communities. The emphasis from the Governments is that we need to think of how we can be supportive of others in the choices that we make to keep everyone safe.
We can look to our Quaker advices and queries when thinking about our options and actions. This might help us to consider if our choices are for the benefit of others in our Quaker communities, or for our own benefit.
Britain Yearly Meeting (BYM) is continuing to take a measured approach for all staff. Friends House, Quakers in Britain Yorkshire Office and Swarthmoor Hall will continue to have protection measures in place as venues for work, worship and lettings. Staff who meet with Quakers will be following guidelines to keep themselves safe, as well as those they meet with.
Britain Yearly Meeting staff are at work. If you need advice please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatives to meeting for worship in person indoors
Quaker worship can happen anywhere at any time.
Some Quakers sit worshipfully, separately in their own homes at a prearranged time (not necessarily Sunday morning) in order to worship with each other at a distance.
You can gather in worship outdoors (even in pairs) wherever you are in Britain.
Many Quaker meetings in Britain are holding worship online. You can find them by looking on their website or social media pages, or by contacting their clerk. Our search tool will help you find these details. Woodbrooke offers online worship (offsite link) most days of the week which anyone may join.
Woodbrooke's 'setting up your own online worship' page you will find:
- A guide to joining and holding online worship, including instructions for those less used to using computers. Some online meetings have telephone access too.
- Guides for children's meetings, youth work, and online and blended meetings for worship for business.
- A simple guide for those new to Quaker worship.
Blended online and in-person
We have developed:
- Advice about blended physical and online worship (PDF) - updated 22 July 2020
- Blended worship stories and equipment - from 11 meetings - (PDF) updated 13 August 2021
Holding in-person children's meeting for worship
- Risk assessment for children's meetings (Word)
- Guidance for children's meetings in England (Word)
- Guidance for children's meetings in Scotland (Word)
- Guidance for children's meetings in Wales (Word)
Funerals and weddings
Funerals and memorial meetings can take place in all parts of Britain. For details and ideas look on our funerals page
Weddings can now be held in all parts of Britain. Check the links to the government below for local information.
These links were checked on 25 February 2022 but may have been deactivated since.
What else can our Quaker community do?
Quaker Life's local development team made a series of videos on re-starting in-person worship and other activities.
- Opening Up: Where we are; how do we open up and keep the good stuff? (offsite link)
- Opening Up: Opening the meeting place; the practicalities (offsite link)
- Opening Up: The way forward; journeying and worshipping together (offsite link)
Find out more about local development work, how it is being rolled out across Britain and how you can get in touch with your Local Development Worker.
Advice and guidance for Quaker meetings as employers
ACAS coronavirus website (offsite link) to find the latest advice and guidance.
Friends House and Swarthmoor Hall
Both venues are open in a limited way. Please see the
'Contact us' page for more details.
The work of Britain Yearly Meeting
BYM staff are all at work. Some staff are working from home, some in Friends House, the Yorkshire Centre and Swarthmoor Hall. All staff can be contacted on their usual e-mail addresses and phone numbers.
In-person meetings must be arranged in advance, please do not visit without making an appointment.
Some committees and other work is being done in person, following good health and safety practices.
National Quaker events
BYM is following public health advice. Many events and committees are being held online.
- See the Quaker events page for details of BYM events.
- Woodbrooke is running a range of learning opportunities online.
- Committees meetings are taking place online, or postponed. Committee secretaries will keep committee members updated.
- Some staff, such as the local development workers , are doing a limited amount of face to face work.
Image of meeting house: © 2019 Mike Pinches