Churches can continue to open for worship during the new lockdown announced last night, but there is no obligation to do so and local decisions will be supported by our bishops, writes Bishop Nick.
In a letter sent to all clergy and parishes, Bishop Nick writes:
"Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Following the announcement this by the Government that England will once more move into lockdown I just wanted to be clear on what this means for our churches.
Churches can continue to open for worship, but as we have said before, can does not mean must. Decisions should be taken locally and the bishops will support each decision. Permission is not obligation.
If you continue to open, you must ensure that all conditions are met and that mingling before or after a service is prevented.
If your PCC decides to move worship online or use another creative medium for the time being, please notify your bishop and archdeacon (with the PCC’s rationale) in order that we can back you in the wake of any complaint.
The Church House team continue to be available to support you in any way they can and can be contacted at covid-19help [at] leeds.anglican.org
Further guidance will be issued as and when it is released and is of assistance – the latest guidance on the lockdown published by the Government is here
You are in our prayers. Please pray for those particularly in the NHS and in education as they handle this continuing crisis and uncertainty.
God bless you."
Rt Revd Nick Baines
Bishop of Leeds