Clergy up in arms as pressure mounts on bishops to reopen churches

Jun 4, 2020 by

by Harriet Sherwood, Guardian:

Calls for places of worship to be unlocked earlier than 4 July, in line with retail sector.

The government is facing mounting calls to reopen places of worship, which have been closed for more than two months, as lockdown restrictions ease.

Churches, mosques, synagogues and temples are due to open under step three of the government’s recovery plan on 4 July at the earliest, along with hairdressers, cinemas and pubs.

When congregational worship resumes, faith leaders and officials will be required to enforce social distancing and ensure frequent cleaning of buildings. The sharing of items such as hymn books or prayer mats will not be permitted.

Some clergy say Church of England leaders should be pressing the government to bring places of worship into step two of the recovery plan, in place from 1 June. They argue that if shops are allowed to reopen from mid-June, places of worship should be permitted to unlock their doors.

The government, which is consulting with faith leaders, may adopt a staged approach, with places of worship initially being allowed to open for private prayer and contemplation – possibly this week – before services are allowed to resume.

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See also: Sign the official petition to Parliament to permit wedding ceremonies to go ahead with 5 people during the COVID 19 lockdown, to allow couples to become legally married.

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