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Bishop of Leeds Nick Baines Official Portrait House of Lords.jpg header4.jpg
Church News

Bishop asks Government about singing in church

A Church of England bishop has asked whether congregational singing will be returning to church anytime soon. 

On Thursday, the Bishop of Leeds, Nick Bains, said in the House of Lords: "Churches, clergy and chaplains have been very involved in pastoral care and in support of the dying and the bereaved, even when buildings have been closed.

"There is now big concern with Holy Week and Easter coming up. Can the Minister offer a roadmap for when singing by choirs and congregations will once again be allowed, with sufficient time to prepare?"

Lord James Bethell, on behalf of the Government, answered: "My Lords, I am entirely sympathetic to the question posed by the right reverend Prelate.

"I cannot think of anything nicer than spending Easter at Salisbury Cathedral listening to the beautiful singing of the choir there. We will be led, however, by the public health practicalities on that.

"It has been one of the most heartbreaking aspects of this pandemic that those who seek sanctuary through worship have not been able to join the rest of their community, but the practicalities of the spread of the virus are unavoidable, so we will be led by public health advice in this matter.

"I do not have a date for his roadmap, I fear, but his considerations are very much understood in the department."

Churches in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are currently allowed to open for public services legally but many have chosen not to or are doing a mixture of online and socially-distanced services. 

Singing altogether in church services is not encouraged and only a limited band is recommended to lead the sung worship. 

Daniel Singleton, national executive director of Faith Action and member of the Places of Worship taskforce, told Premier last week that he suspected signing would be a long way off returning: "There doesn't seem to be any change about singing inside...I've been very invovled in exploring the science of all this kind of stuff and I don't see that going to change very quickly. We want to push much more to happen outside, particularly with the better weather coming."

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