News by email Donate


Credit: Diocese of Chichester
Credit: Diocese of Chichester
UK News

Bishop of Lewes orders all churches to close due to Covid-19

The Bishop of Lewes has sent a message to all Church of England parishes across East Sussex ordering them to close their doors in a bid to help slow the spread of Covid-19. 

Rev William Hazlewood issued the edit after being approached by the Head of Environmental Health for Rother and Wealden districts, Richard Parker-Harding.

In the message, reported by the Telegraph, Bishop Hazlewood said: "I know that decisions to close church buildings always go against the grain of who we are as the household of faith."

The action was agreed in conjunction with the Bishop of Chichester, Rt Rev Dr Martin Warner.

Under the current lockdown, churches are permitted to stay open for Covid-secure worship services, although congregants are not allowed to mix with those outside of their household or support bubble. In Scotland, a blanket ban has been imposed on places of worship, with the exception of small-scale funerals and civil partnership ceremonies. 

Churchwarden at St Thomas a Becket church in Lewes Trevor Butler, added:

“I know many who visit our ancient and historic sanctuary for peace and healing will be devastated. Every day we welcome dozens of people and have seen a noticeable upturn in visitor numbers during these dark days of coronavirus.

“We have many precautions in place to create a Covid-secure venue in line with government advice, including a daily cleaning regime using special cleaners and a hand sanitizing station.

“We have had at least two people in the last fortnight who are struggling with mental problems that are leading them to suicidal thoughts. One man left us to go for a life or death meeting with his doctor so we know we are providing a valuable service. Our only hope is that Covid case numbers fall soon so that we can open our doors again.”

The bishop noted that church officials "will continue to closely monitor the situation and will offer further guidance on when we will be able to encourage reopening".

Funerals will continue to take place at the closed churches.

A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Support Us
Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

News by email