New Covid-19 lockdown announced

On Saturday 31 October, the Government announced a second Covid-19 lockdown, with restrictions on places of worship as follows:

‘FUNERALS can be attended by a maximum of 30 people, and it is advised that only close friends and family attend. Linked ceremonial events such as stone settings and ash scatterings can also continue with up to 15 people in attendance. Anyone working is not included. Social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a support bubble.

WEDDINGS, civil partnership ceremonies will not be permitted to take place except in exceptional circumstances.

PLACES OF WORSHIP will be closed, unless they are being used for:
+ Funerals
+ To broadcast acts of worship
+ Individual prayer
+ Formal childcare or where part of a school
+ Essential voluntary and public services, such as blood donation or food banks
+ Other exempted activities, such as some support groups’

Read the full text of the Government statement HERE.

Church of England response

In response to Government guidelines, the Archbishops of Canterbury (The Most Revd Justin Welby) and York (The Most Revd Stephen Cottrell), together with the Bishop of London (Dame Sarah Mullally, pictured below), have issued a joint letter to Church of England clergy, calling on them to open church buildings for private prayer wherever possible, to stream services from church buildings and to make November a month of special prayer. Read the letter in full HERE

Roman Catholic response

Cardinal Vincent Nichols (pictured below), President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, along with its Vice-President Archbishop Malcolm McMahon, issued a statement which included the words, ‘It is thus a source of deep anguish now that the Government is requiring, once again, the cessation of public communal worship.  Whilst we understand the many difficult decisions facing the Government, we have not yet seen any evidence whatsoever that would make the banning of communal worship, with all its human costs, a productive part of combatting the virus. We ask the Government to produce this evidence that justifies the cessation of acts of public worship.’ Read the full text HERE.