This page contains guidance for Quaker meetings on coronavirus (Covid-19). Quakers are worshipping in various ways: indoors, outdoors, online, at home and in new combinations. We welcome new people.

Find out more

    General

    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.

    Worship

    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.

    England

    See the plan for Living with Covid in England.

    Scotland

    All remaining restrictions have been lifted in Scotland. For full details see Coronavirus in Scotland.

    Wales

    Wales remains at Alert Level 0. If the current public health situation remains stable, all remaining restrictions will be removed on 9 May. For full details see Coronavirus in Wales.

    Summary

    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 supportmeetings@quaker.org.uk.

    Alternatives to meeting for worship in person indoors

    Quaker worship can happen anywhere at any time.

    Separately together

    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.

    Outdoors

    You can gather in worship outdoors (even in pairs) wherever you are in Britain.

    Online

    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.

    On 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:

    Holding in-person children's meeting for worship

    Funerals and weddings

    Funerals

    Funerals and memorial meetings can take place in all parts of Britain. For details and ideas look on our funerals page

    Weddings

    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.

    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

    Visit the 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.

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