Reopening of church buildings for public worship
The Bishop of Carlisle has welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement that church buildings in the diocese can reopen for public worship and for weddings from Saturday 4 July.
This afternoon, the Rt Rev James Newcome has written to all clergy detailing the further easing of lockdown restrictions for places of worship, as set out by Boris Johnson in his statement to the House of Commons.Small weddings – for up to 30 people – will also be possible from the same date.
Bishop James said: “I give huge thanks that we have reached this point. Like so many people, I have sorely missed our times of collective worship, moments when we are able to gather together physically to give thanks to a bountiful and merciful God. So I am thrilled at the prospect that church buildings will be able to reopen for public worship from this date.
“But we must also remain cautious and remember this is a phased response to the lifting of restrictions. Any church buildings that do reopen from 4 July for public worship or for weddings should only do so if all the necessary social distancing and hygiene measures are adopted. Those churches which feel this cannot be done safely should not feel pressured to open.”
The announcement is the latest in a phased lifting of the restrictions around places of worship and follows churches being able to open for individual private prayer from Saturday 13 June and for small funerals from Monday 15 June.
The Diocese of Carlisle – the Church of England in Cumbria - expects further Government guidance to be issued in the coming days, which in turn will be flagged up to all clergy.
Meanwhile the Church of England’s Recovery Group – of which Bishop James is a member – is due to issue advice on subjects including singing and music for which a review by Public Health England is currently in progress.
For further information please contact Dave Roberts, Diocesan Communications Manager, on 07469 153658, 01768 807764 or at email@example.com.