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Ban on singing in church is 'nonsensical' says Evangelical Alliance

by Donna Birrell

The Evangelical Alliance has described the ban on singing in church as “nonsensical”. 

In an article on its website, Danny Webster, who is Head of Advocacy at the organisation, says the continued ban on indoor church congregational singing is inconsistent, disproportionate and fails to follow the evidence :

“When churches were allowed to resume meeting in July last year a number of restrictions were put in place through both law and guidance to ensure they could operate safely and limit the spread of coronavirus. 

“Churches have diligently followed these rules and advice, from limiting numbers, tracking attendance, creating one-way systems and altering practices. This has also all happened within the context of wider restrictions on interaction indoors. However, the restriction that grates the most is the effective ban on indoor congregational singing.” 

Under current Coronavirus restrictions, congregational singing is still not permitted, despite other measures, such as the lifting of the cap on wedding numbers, being announced earlier this month.

In Wales, indoor congregational singing is now permitted advising that appropriate mitigations such as mask-wearing, lessen the risk of transmitting the virus.

Danny Webster is calling on the government to produce evidence to explain its guidance :

“In England, the rules are more nonsensical because professional performers are not limited numerically so you could have a choir of hundreds sing, whereas for amateur singers the cap is at 6. The government has not produced evidence to explain why singing by amateurs is more likely to spread coronavirus than by professionals. “

Mr Webster claims the ban on congregational singing is discriminatory against people of faith :

“During the Euro 2020 championships the added insult for churches is seeing crowds gather and sing or cheer in stadiums in huge numbers under the guise of test events, and in pubs, trains, and planes, without a word from the government that they should at least wear masks, keep their voices low, or only do so outside. I do not realistically expect the government to stop fans from cheering and trains and planes of Scottish fans descending on London were never going to be silent, but I would like to see some humility that in requiring churches to continue to mute their congregation the government are permitting football fans to do something they are not extending to worship services. “

He’s urging people to contact their MP calling on the government to allow congregational singing in churches in every nation of the UK. 

Last week, the Bishop of London, Dame Sarah Mullaly said she will continue to press the Government on lifting the ban on congregational singing in churches. 

And in the House of Lords, the Bishop of Leeds, the Right Reverend Nick Baines raised the issue of why singing in a pub was permitted, but not in a church.

Responding, the Health Minister, Lord Bethell said :

“Having looked at the scientific evidence, with a sense of regret that we are letting down those with a passion for singing and religious worship, and in the hope that we can get rid of them very soon.”

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