Tonight (31st October 2020) the Prime Minister announced that the Government would ask Parliament to agree a further period of a month’s lockdown beginning on Thursday 5th November.
There will again be a significant impact on our lives at home and work. Once more we shall want to give priority in our care for those who are vulnerable, as well as those who are fearful or ill in the wider community. Thank you again for your commitment to support those who will need to remain at home, those who are on the streets, and others in challenging situations. Please continue to be the people of Jesus Christ in both action and word.
The proposed legislation will mean that our church buildings will be largely closed for worship other than:
- for funerals
- to broadcast acts of worship
- for individual private prayer
- for formal childcare
- or for essential voluntary and public services (such as a Foodbank)
You can read fuller details here. There must be a temporary pause in worship services with a physical congregation, but you and your colleagues will still be able to live-stream worship from an empty church. After all the efforts that you have made to ensure that your buildings are Covid-secure, it obviously saddens me that we have to close our doors to those who would like to worship there. However, I’m sure you understand why this has become necessary.
You and your colleagues showed admirable levels of innovation and compassion in the Spring as you launched digital worship services from home, and made extraordinary efforts to care for those who were isolated, lonely and hungry. I’m heartened that the Church’s role in caring for others, physically and spiritually, appears to have been recognised by the government in their desire for our buildings to remain open for those seeking peace, prayer and refuge.
When there is confirmation about the precise details of how we open for the activities described above, I shall email clergy, ministers and churchwardens with further advice. Until then I hope that this summary will be helpful in making announcements on Sunday during worship. Further information, when available, will also be on the diocesan website and on social media, and I know you will communicate details to the parish. I am grateful to you and colleagues for your understanding and support of each other, your congregation and your parish in these challenging times.
Please continue to pray for those who are most affected by the Covid-19 virus, especially those ill at home or in hospital and those close to them, along with staff in our GP surgeries, hospitals and care homes. Those who have recently died and those close to death today are in our prayers.
As we move into the seasons of Remembrance, the Kingdom and Advent, we continue to trust in the God who brings light and hope into every situation. Please be assured of my prayers as we work together to help bring that light and hope to those in our local communities.