The Government has said places of worship - including churches - may be able to re-open from 4 July, if it safe to do so. Social distancing will need to be carefully observed. Following a meeting between the Government and faith leaders, guidance has been promised. However, to be truly useful, the guidance needs to recognise the richness and variety of church life across the UK. Below you'll find a copy of the letter from CARE's Chief Executive Nola Leach to the Prime Minister, asking for specific and detailed guidance for churches which engages robustly with the richness and variety of church life across the UK.
Read Nola’s Letter
Dear Prime Minister,
RE: GUIDANCE FOR THE RE-OPENING OF CHURCHES
I write to you on behalf of tens of thousands of Christians across the UK who support the work of CARE (Christian, Action Research and Education). For more than 35 years, we’ve been active in promoting Christian values and representing the interests of our supporters. Our work encompasses a wide range of issues, including modern slavery, online safety, and family life.
At this time of the coronavirus pandemic, please be assured of my prayers for you and the Cabinet as you make such difficult decisions. Can I take this opportunity to congratulate you and Ms Symonds on the birth of your son, Wilfred. I thank God for your recovery from the virus and will be praying for continued health for you and your family.
As you know, one of the many consequences of the lockdown has been the closure of places of worship, including churches. For many of our supporters, this has been a particular burden. Church is more than just a building; it’s the people. Being able to gather together is a really vital part of our faith.
Many will therefore have been very relieved to see a mention of ‘places of worship’ in the Government’s recently published ‘Plan to Rebuild’. Church leaders have reached out to me to confirm their eagerness to obey the rules and observe the guidance, in order to help protect the NHS and save lives. However, as the potential re-opening of churches comes closer, understandably, church leaders are looking for support and advice as they plan for some kind of return. Contrary to some media reporting, there’s not necessarily a great rush to re-open, instead, leaders want clear guidance from the Government.
In light of this, and on behalf of the many church leaders who support the work of CARE, I’m asking you to consider publishing specific guidance for churches in advance of any potential re-opening from 4 July. This will greatly assist church leaders with their planning and preparations.
Such guidance should engage with the rich tapestry that is church life across the country. The UK Church is ordinarily a hive of activity which extends further than the Sunday service – from outreach and compassionate projects, to small mid-week meetings, to children’s and family work. Moreover, the sheer range of buildings that churches use must be considered, such as; our Cathedrals, hired community and school halls, and even rented cinema spaces. This diversity needs to be engaged with if the guidance is to be truly useful and relevant. I would be happy to provide more details if that would help.
Once again, can I thank you for all you are doing. It’s an awesome responsibility on your shoulders and please be assured of my ongoing prayers for you, Carrie and Wilfred.
Chief Executive of CARE