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Allow us to worship in our churches

by Michael Ford last modified 06 Nov, 2020 11:29 PM

Bishop Nicholas has written to all the MPs in his Diocese to register his “dismay at the proposed restrictions on places of worship”.

Allow us to worship in our churches

Original photo courtesy wallpaperflare

The Bishop had written ahead of the debate in the House of Commons which affirmed the government's second lockdown.

Assuring the MPs that they were very much in his prayers and acknowledging “how difficult it is to find a way through this pandemic”, Bishop Nicholas said the immediate challenge will be how to keep Remembrance Sunday which was “a whole community event.”

The Bishop wrote:

“Over the last 6 months, we have collaborated closely with Ministers and officials to keep people safe. In my experience, churches and the cathedral are among the most responsible in the implementation of the Covid-19 guidelines. So far, no evidence has been given that suggests that places of worship have been places of contagion.

“Churches are a key part of the social capital of your constituency and are deeply involved in the development of the local networks that are so vital at the moment. Of course, an individual and household can pray anywhere but good works grow in church communities out of worship. That churches can continue to be open for private prayer requires them to be supervised. Particularly in rural parishes, this will be more difficult to do than careful and well-supervised Sunday worship.”

He added:

“The immediate challenge will be how to keep Remembrance Sunday, a whole community event, and the subsequent Sundays into Advent when possibly the only way of doing so will be online. This does underline that worship is not a leisure or just an interest group activity but an essential service with and for the whole community. Worship is directly connected to the health and wellbeing of individuals, communities and the nation.

“I ask you to do all you can in Parliament to modify the lockdown arrangements so that churches will be able to function in what is already a very limited but safe way as at present.”

MPs passed the new lockdown regulations by 516-38, but there was plenty of critical references in the Commons debate about the impact on public worship.

Matt Hancock in winding up said:

“Ministers are talking to faith leaders to do everything they can to reach an accommodation as soon as possible.”

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