Diocesan Covid 19 Update 19 – 23rd June

Dear Clergy, Readers/LLMs and Churchwardens,

1. Government Announcement today

Following the Government announcement that church buildings will be able to reopen for public worship from 4th July, providing physical distancing remains in place, the Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, who leads the Church of England’s Recovery Group, said: “I welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement today that we will soon be able to begin to meet and worship together in our church buildings again.

“We will not be returning to normality overnight – this is the next step on a journey. We’ve been planning carefully, making detailed advice available for parishes to enable them to prepare to hold services when it is safe and practical to do so. It is important to say that the change in Government guidance is permissive, not prescriptive.

“I would particularly like to thank clergy and lay leaders for all they have done during the time our buildings have been closed. Not all church buildings will be ready to hold regular services from July 4th, but we are providing whatever support we can to enable them.”

See the full statement  https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/news/reopening-church-buildings-public-worship

Bishop Paul has tweeted; “This is very good news – for now we await further detailed government guidance and advice from the Church of England. We will be ready to support clergy and church wardens in @diocswellnott as they make decisions appropriate to their context and circumstances.”

a) New guidance is coming

As a result, we recognise there will be many questions about the Government advice and the national church guidance. We are awaiting further information in the next day or so. The national church guidance on opening for public worship and weddings will be updated and we are working on the best way to conduct the marriage preliminaries.