Coronavirus: Online worship to remain as churches prepare to reopen

PUBLISHED: 17:00 29 June 2020

Bishop of Barking and Acting Bishop of Chelmsford Diocese Peter Hil. Picture: Edward Starr Photographer / Diocese of Chemlsford

Bishop of Barking and Acting Bishop of Chelmsford Diocese Peter Hil. Picture: Edward Starr Photographer / Diocese of Chemlsford

Edward Starr Photographer

Churches can reopen to the public this weekend, but many will continue to offer online worship as well.

The government has announced that church buildings will be able to open their doors for public worship from July 4, providing social distancing guidance continues to be observed.

Acting Bishop of Chelmsford, the Right Reverend Peter Hill, said this was “very welcome news” but added reopening will not be possible at some churches.

Bishop Peter said: “As always it is important to make clear that this is permissive guidance and not an expectation that all churches will be able to open for public worship from July 4.

“We recognise that for many, this will not be possible to do, whilst ensuring that the necessary safety measures are put in place.

“Indeed, it will not be possible for any church to return to the normality of the pre-Covid-19 world at present.

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“We must continue to take seriously our responsibility to keep people safe from infection, particularly the vulnerable in our communities.”

Many churches across the Diocese of Chelmsford, which includes Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Newham and Redbridge, will continue with the online worship they have offering been during lockdown.

Bishop Peter said: “Online worship and serving our communities in different ways than we did before the pandemic will continue to be important in the weeks and months ahead.

“We hope that for many these new approaches will continue to be part of their practice in the long term alongside worship in our

church buildings.

“We must build on the lessons we have learned and the progress we have seen in recent months.”

Visit the national church finding website to find details of your local online service.

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