Stop Press –
As we recover from lockdown and gradually return to normality you will hear and see information stating that from such and such a date something will be possible –
From Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government that, “church buildings will be able to open for individual prayer from Monday 15 June.” Or that -“small funerals can now take place in church buildings from Monday 15 June”
It is encouraging but –
Please do not be upset if the local church fails to manage this time table
Most people will be unaware of are the reams and reams of conditions – about social distancing, as you would imagine; but also no singing, no hassocks, no hymn or prayer books, no organ, rigorous cleaning after every use; ample provision of alcohol based hand cleaners; and strictly controlled numbers.
The questions about, Who will do these many things? And, How could the conditions be met ? Have yet to be asked and the guidelines have not yet been published!
The Government issues guidance, so do the Church of England . Local churches – their churchwardens and Parochial Church Councils and Churchwardens – together with the Vicar are the ones who must put these guidelines into operation. With the best will in the world the Vicar cannot do it on his own!
“The opening of church buildings may take longer in some places than others……..
What if “clergy, lay leaders and volunteers are themselves needing to isolate or shield others? ” Asks the Bishop of Norwich in a recent email. He concluded:
The opening of church buildings may take longer in some places than others……..The key thing is that we move forward steadily and safely.
That is how we can best ‘love our neighbour’