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Masks on during Worship

by Michael Ford — last modified 25 Jul, 2020 12:06 PM

You are now being "strongly advised" to wear a face mask in church.

Masks on during Worship

The Revd Matt Renyard

The House of Bishops Recovery Group has published advice on face coverings which reflects Government guidance encouraging the wearing of face masks "in enclosed public spaces where there are people they do not normally meet".

The advice, published on the Church of England website states:

“We strongly advise that face coverings should be worn by all those attending a place of worship, including ministers, worshippers, staff, volunteers, contractors and visitors, where there may be other people present; remembering that they are mainly intended to protect other people, not the wearer, from coronavirus Covid-19 and that they are not a replacement for physical distancing and regular hand washing.”

The advice goes on to detail how masks should be worn. More here.

Posting a picture of himself in a mask on social media, Assistant Curate Matt Renyard, from Weymouth, put the new guidance in a wider perspective:

"The new "normal" for now. Blessed to have been back in church today and a reminder that many of our brothers and sisters don't have the privilege of meeting without the fear of persecution."

Some of our churches are writing to their parishes to explain how the new rules can be intrepreted.

The Avon River Team posted on Facebook:

"The expectation, in line with other public spaces, is to wear a mask and continue to be socially distanced. Hopefully, such measures are intended to breed confidence and encourage people who feel vulnerable to begin the process of venturing out and back into church.

Practically speaking, it is important that we approach this in an inclusive way. There are many people in our congregations who are hard of hearing and need to see the face of the person leading the service. Therefore, the leader of the service will only wear a mask when they feel in close proximity to people, ie the distribution of Communion or possibly at the door, if they are not outside.

We will welcome everyone in church, but we cannot be responsible for policing the wearing of masks in any way. It is down to individuals in the congregation to follow the guidance and not for sidespeople, church wardens or clergy to embarrass or interrogate. There are some people who feel unable to wear masks for personal reasons, which they may not wish to disclose, and it is important that they feel welcome and valued too."

Full Government guidance here.

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