Search

Churches can reopen for private prayer and contemplation

PUBLISHED: 13:15 13 June 2020 | UPDATED: 13:16 13 June 2020

Places of worship can reopen for private prayer for individuals and households Picture: GREGG BROWN

Places of worship can reopen for private prayer for individuals and households Picture: GREGG BROWN

Churches can reopen for private prayer across Suffolk from today – but the county’s most senior Church of England clergyman has stressed that places of worship should not rush to do so.

Bishop Martin says parishes should not rush to reopen - and should ensure there is safe social distancing first Picture: LUCY TAYLORBishop Martin says parishes should not rush to reopen - and should ensure there is safe social distancing first Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

The Rt Rev Martin Seeley, Bishop of the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, has welcomed the Government decision to allow a reopening of buidings for prayer but has told parishes that each must make their own decision based on whether they can remain safe for their communities.

People going into churches will see areas roped off, seats marked where they can sit safely two metres from one another, and be asked to enter by one door and leave by another. All Bibles, prayer books and other paper material will be removed.

In many places toilets will be closed to remove an extra cleaning burden.

Bishop Martin said: “This is a welcome first set to allow churches to open to those who wish to come and say prayers individually, or as a household.

“Our church buildings are special places in our communities, and many individuals step inside churches for moments of quiet and solace. I am very pleased that we can begin to take these small steps to opening up.

You may also want to watch:

“We have to be mindful of our responsibility to the community and minimise the risk of spreading coronavirus, and the risk will stay with us especially as more visitors come to Suffolk in the Summer.

“I have made it clear to churches that if they cannot open up safely then they should not rush to do so. The decision should be a local one based on local circumstances and needs.

“Churches will continue to livestream services online and on social media. We have over 100 services broadcast online from across Suffolk every week with thousands joining in.”

The Government’s guidance makes clear that no worship services, including normal Sunday services and weddings can take place in church buildings at the moment. However, funerals can be held in those churches which can meet the social distancing, cleaning and hygiene requirements.

The new guidance stresses the communal nature of places of worship makes them particularly vulnerable to the spread of COVID 19.

It is not known if any churches have reopened today for private prayer as most have been working towards the original date of Monday. It is expected that most will only open on certain days and for certain hours.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the East Anglian Daily Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the East Anglian Daily Times