Bishops James’ statement regarding church buildings
In light of the House of Bishops’ agreement in principle to a phased approach to lifting restrictions to church access, in time and in parallel with the Government’s approach, the Bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Rev James Newcome, has issued the following statement.
Bishop James said: “The coronavirus pandemic has had a terrible effect across the world, wreaking death and disruption. So many people have lost their lives; so many families have lost cherished ones. I continue to pray for them all, for those who lead and govern at this time and for the NHS staff who continue to work so hard providing frontline care. It has been an unprecedented time.
“So I also give thanks to God for the signs of hope that we are beginning to see, reflected in a reduction in new cases and hospital admissions. It is in this light that we were able to come together as bishops, yesterday, to discuss potential ways in which our churches may be accessed again.
“It is encouraging to think we can begin to examine what those next steps may be for us as a Diocese. The three stages agreed in principle by the bishops constitute a careful and considered approach to a phased lifting of the current restrictions on church access.
“Yet it is vital that they are adopted in tandem with associated Government advice and timelines and are subject to constant review in line with the national situation.
“As a Diocese, we have maintained that it is our Christian duty to do all we can to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. In line with national church and Government guidance, that led to us temporarily closing our churches for all public and private worship.
“As we now begin to consider a phased lifting of restrictions be assured that we will continue to adopt the same approach.
“This means that in the Diocese of Carlisle we propose to enter the first phase of the lifting of restrictions only after the Government has issued its revised instructions. This means that it should not be too long before clergy are able to re-enter their churches but for the moment the situation remains as it has been. All our clergy have been briefed about the latest developments.”
For further information please contact Dave Roberts, Diocesan Communications Manager, on 07469 153658, 01768 807764 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.