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Churches: Coronavirus

Question for Church Commissioners

UIN 902797, tabled on 19 May 2020

To ask the hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what the Commissioners' timetable is for enabling churches to reopen safely for funeral services after the covid-19 lockdown.

Answered on

19 May 2020

The Church Commissioners do not have responsibility for setting a timetable for the reopening of church buildings for funeral services. Current guidance from the House of Bishops is not to conduct funeral services in church buildings because of widely expressed concerns about parishes having capacity to conduct such funerals safely, including being able to clean churches thoroughly between services to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus. This is guidance, not instruction.

We are acutely aware of the anguish of those not able to have or attend a funeral in their parish church in the current circumstances. Where it is requested a priest will be present to conduct a funeral service, either at a crematorium or at the churchyard. The House of Bishops meets regularly to review its guidance which will be updated in line with changing circumstances, and published on the Church of England website.

Answered by

Church Commissioners
Named day
Named day questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.