Reopening of Church Buildings process from 26 March 2021

For those congregations that did not reopen their church buildings after the first lockdown in March 2020 and wish to reopen their church buildings now:

The congregation must follow the standard reopening of church buildings process. This means that the congregation must complete the reopening of church buildings checklist, undertake a COVID-19 risk assessment and submit both documents to Presbytery for approval.

For those congregations that did reopen their church buildings following the first lockdown in March 2020 and submitted their church buildings checklist and COVID-19 risk assessment to Presbytery for approval:

A simplified process has now been put in place. If the congregation has undertaken weekly inspections of their buildings using the Church of Scotland weekly inspection checklist (available in PDF and Word formats), details of which were sent to office bearers on 29January 2021, and this has been signed off each week, then this alongside a revised and/or updated COVID-19 risk assessment should be submitted to Presbytery. Congregations will also have to complete and submit abuildings safety declaration (available in PDF and Word formats) form to Presbytery to confirm that the weekly inspection record is accurate and that their church buildings are safe to reopen. It may also be helpful to Presbytery to receive an extract minute from the Kirk Session confirming their intention to reopen as this, along with the approval of documents must be a decision of the Kirk Session as a body, not a single office bearer.

For those congregations that did reopen their church buildings following the first lockdown in March 2020 and submitted their church buildings checklist and COVID-19 risk assessment to Presbytery for approval but have not completed a weekly inspection of their buildings:

They must complete and submit to Presbytery a new buildings checklist and COVID-19 risk assessment for approval.

For those congregations that did not reopen their church buildings following the first lockdown in March 2020, or who did reopen their buildings but have decided that their buildings should now remain closed:

Both Presbytery and COSIS must be informed of their decision.

It is important to stress that church buildings cannot reopen without Presbytery approval.