You will have tuned in to the Government announcement at the weekend to hear news of the Lockdown we will enter on Thursday. I know there will be many questions about what this means for churches and I expect that there will be increasing clarity in the coming days. For now you may wish to be aware of the updated guidance from the Government as it relates to places of worship.
5. Weddings, civil partnerships, religious services and funerals
Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people, and it is advised that only close friends and family attend. Linked ceremonial events such as stone settings and ash scatterings can also continue with up to 15 people in attendance. Anyone working is not included. Social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a support bubble.
Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies will not be permitted to take place except in exceptional circumstances.
Places of Worship will be closed, unless they are being used for:
> To broadcast acts of worship
> Individual prayer
> Formal childcare or where part of a school
> Essential voluntary and public services, such as blood donation
or food banks
> Other exempted activities such as some support groups
The guidance appears to suggest that in-person worship will be suspended for 4 weeks. If this proves to be the case I am sorry.
I know this news will come as a blow to so many of you. You have worked amazingly over recent weeks to make worship safe; to make it a time to gather in fellowship and encounter God together. If we need to suspend things again we know that despite all that is happening, God is with us.
Please be assured of my prayers as you each adapt to yet another set of new circumstances.
Peace to you all,
Yorkshire West District Chair