Covid update Scotland: Church leaders write to Nicola Sturgeon about worship ban

Jan 13, 2021 by

By Emer O’Toole, The National:

A GROUP of 500 church leaders from around the UK have written to Nicola Sturgeon calling for her to lift the ban on public worship on Sundays.

Some 200 leaders from Scotland and another 300 from the rest of the UK say the decision may be unlawful.

As part of the latest lockdown rules, places of worship are only permitted to conduct weddings or funerals – with the number of people attending these strictly limited – and to broadcast services online….

…Signatories to the letter from several different denominations include Reverend Paul Rees of Charlotte Chapel in Edinburgh and Reverend Dr William Philip of the Tron Church in Glasgow.

The church leaders’ letter says: “We understand entirely the exceptional difficulties of leading the country at the present time, and we and our churches have prayed for wisdom and clarity for your government repeatedly.

“But we strongly disagree with the decision to prevent the gathering of the church at this time, which we believe is profoundly unhelpful and may be unlawful.”

It continues: “We know of no evidence of any tangible contribution to community transmission through churches in Scotland; to the contrary, since churches re-opened in July we have demonstrated that places of worship and public worship can be made safe from Covid transmission.

“It is for such reasons that legal challenges in other jurisdictions have overturned prohibitions of the freedom to gather for worship.

“However, above all we are dismayed because there seems to be a failure in the Scottish Government to understand that Christian worship is an essential public service, and especially vital to our nation in a time of crisis.”

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