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Home News "We look forward to the time when we are able to gather again in our church buildings"

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"We look forward to the time when we are able to gather again in our church buildings"

by Michael Ford last modified 15 May, 2020 01:36 PM

The National Church has responded to the Government's latest guidance on coronavirus.

The Bishop of London, Dame Sarah Mullally, who chairs a group examining how the Church of England might proceed once the current restrictions for Covid-19 are relaxed or lifted, said:

"We note from the Government’s Covid-19 Recovery Strategy that churches could be open from July as part of the conditional and phased plan to begin lifting the lockdown.

"We look forward to the time when we are able to gather again in our church buildings. We are examining what steps we will need to take to do so safely and are actively planning ahead in preparation.

"We strongly support the Government’s approach of continuing to suppress the transmission of the virus and accordingly, we recognise that at this time public worship cannot return in the interests of public health and safety."

The guidance mentions that the Government is examining how to enable people to gather in slightly larger groups to better facilitate small weddings.

It notes that, in the coming weeks, the Government will engage on the nature and timing of the measures in this step, in order to consider the widest possible array of views on how best to balance the health, economic and social effects.

It also mentions under the Government's phased plan to lift restrictions, in Phase 3 - no earlier than July 4th - the ambition is to "open public places (such as places of worship)", providing they meet the Covid-19 secure guidelines.

On the 5th of May, the House of Bishops issued a statement that proposed their own "phased lifting of restrictions, in time and in parallel with the Government’s approach, with 3 broad stages as infection levels improve".

The 3 stages are :

  1. An initial immediate phase, allowing very limited access to church buildings for activities such as streaming of services or private prayer by clergy in their own parishes, so long as the necessary hygiene and social distancing precautions are taken.
  2. Subsequent access for some rites and ceremonies when allowed by law, observing appropriate physical distancing and hygiene precautions.
  3. Worship services with limited congregations meeting, when Government restrictions are eased to allow this.

In a letter to clergy, lay ministers and churchwardens, Bishop Nicholas invited clergy to return to their churches to pray and to film worship.

This should be alone or with one member of their household who could help them film.

Our churches are still closed for public worship.

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