Churches to close with immediate effect but we continue to pray, love and care

The Archbishops and Bishops of the Church of England have urged everyone to follow the instructions given by the Prime Minister to stay in their homes in a national effort to limit the transmission of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

But they called on the Church to “continue to pray, to love, to care for the vulnerable”.
It follows the announcement by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson of sweeping restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the virus.

It means all Church of England churches will close with immediate effect in line with the Government’s instructions. There will also be no Church weddings or baptisms.

Funerals at the graveside or in crematoriums can still take place, but only in line with the Prime Minister’s statement.

In a joint statement the bishops said: “In the light of the Government’s measures, announced by the Prime Minister this evening, we urge everyone to follow the instructions given.

“We will give a fuller statement of advice as soon as possible. Let us continue to pray, to love, to care for the vulnerable, and build our communities, even while separated.”

A letter was sent to all clergy which can be downloaded below. Bishop Peter and Bishop Ruth, together with the three archdeacons for this diocese, sent a letter to clergy and churchwardens explaining the closure, which can also be downloaded below.

New guidance has been published on the Church of England website, with FAQ on weddings, funerals and baptisms.  A poster has been produced to put on church doors and noticeboards explaining the closure, which is available to download below.

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