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UK News

All churches in Northern Ireland to resume in-person services

The Church of Ireland, the Methodist Church and Presbyterian churches will resume in-person services from 2nd April.

The Catholic Church had already opened its doors for worship on the 26th March.

It comes after all four denominations voluntarily agreed to suspend in-person services in January due to a surge in coronavirus cases.

Rev David Bruce, the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church, told Premier worshipping together in-person again will be “a moment of great joy”.

“I think there's something in Scripture about this desire that we're with each other. The idea of these pilgrim festivals where people would gather from all over and meet. And of course, within the Jewish calendar at Easter time, we're thinking of Passover as well, which is one of those pilgrim festivals where people give expression to their love for God and for each other by gathering.”

When asked about the impact of church closures on people, Rev Bruce said he believed God had been using the pandemic as a “kind of plasticine moment for the church”.

“If you ever played with plasticine when you were a kid, you could shape things and then reshape things and shape them again. I think maybe God has been using this moment as a little bit like that as a kind of plasticine moment for the church, we have had to remodel. Almost everything that we know and understand about church life.”

Although there is no capacity limit for in-person services, churches must ensure all necessary safety measures are in place, including maintaining two metres distance.

Earlier this month, the Church of Ireland issued a statement highlighting that all churches needed to make sure they are covid-safe before re-opening.

The statement reads: “Parish officers must carry out a risk assessment and ensure that good mitigation is in place and that face coverings are worn by congregation members on their arrival and exit from the church building and throughout services.

“We all need to play our part in preventing any further transmission of Covid-19 within the community. Marriages and funerals will continue to take place in line with the current restrictions.”

A cap of 25 people attending funerals and weddings remains in place in Northern Ireland.

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