Care of Organs during the present Coronavius COVID-19 Crisis
The following is the official guidance of the Church of Scotland and is endorsed by the Organ Advice Committee of the Scottish Federation of Organists.
Church organs are a significant asset to many churches and we do understand that there is some anxiety about leaving church organs un-played for a significant period of time. We have received specialist advice which suggests that organs should be played, where appropriate, for 15 minutes per week to ensure the integrity of the organ mechanism. However, Financial Boards must take reasonable steps to ensure that the organ is only played to protect and maintain the instrument, and that the organ should not be used for general practice. The Financial Board must ensure that reasonable precautions are in place, including arrangements for the cleaning and disinfection of all hand contact surfaces. A written record should be kept detailing by whom and when the church was accessed to play the organ. The Financial Board may have to coordinate access arrangements with the organists to take in to account of whom else may be in the building at the same time to ensure appropriate safe precautions are followed. Financial Boards should also seek advice from the Church of Scotland Law Department before granting permission to organists who are furloughed before they are allowed access to the church organ.
Possible Resumption of Weekly Services
The following has not yet been finally approved by the Scottish Government but Holyrood has indicated that churches may be allowed to re-open for congregational services of communal prayer and contemplation with physical distancing and limited numbers and no singing on Sunday 26th July 2020. (Singing produces droplets of infection.) Again, this is not official guidance, but national opinion is that more normal weekly public worship may be allowed to resume on Sunday 29th November 2020 - the First Sunday of Advent. However, this is by no means certain.