To ask the right hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, when churches will be re-opened for worshippers.
5 May 2020
It is essential that when church buildings reopen for public worship or private prayer by members of the public, that it is done safely. In the meantime, churches across the country are holding virtual services and offering support to the vulnerable and elderly. Where they are unable to do this locally national resources are available such as the national church service on a Sunday and the Daily Hope phone line.
The Church is adapting and rising to the challenge of supporting their community physically and spiritually during this medical emergency. The Church is regularly reviewing the medical advice and is in regular conversation with the Government. What is needed is a wide range of detailed protocols and practices to be established to ensure that church buildings and services do not represent risks for renewed transmission of the virus.
The Church of England is currently preparing for the reopening of church buildings, but it must be recognised that not all churches and clergy may be able to satisfy all the necessary criteria, especially in the early stages of the recovery phase. This has been the experience in other jurisdictions such as Germany where the Government has advised that churches can be reopened for public worship.