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Bishop of London to press government on singing ban in churches

by Donna Birrell
Sarah-Mullally-thumb_galleryfull.jpg - Banner image
Diocese of London

The Bishop of London says she will continue to press the government to consider the ban on congregational singing in churches. 

The Right Reverend Dame Sarah Mullaly, who chairs the Church of England's Covid Recovery Group, released a statement after the government announced a four-week extension to England's lockdown restrictions: 

"Thankfully church buildings remain open for public worship and prayer. While we look forward to restrictions on worship being lifted in the near future, I will continue to press for ongoing appraisal of choral and congregational singing."

The former Chief Nursing Officer says the government's decision to extend the roadmap out of lockdown until 19th July will be "a blow to many people" but that as Christians called to love our neighbour, it is necessary:

"I know from those on the front line that the pressures on the NHS are extreme and understand that a delay of a few more weeks in lifting restrictions could make a big difference in helping us all to get ahead in the 'race' against this virus which has caused so much death and misery."

There was some good news for those planning weddings after 21st June as the Prime Minister announced that groups of more than 30 people will be able to attend weddings and funerals. Bishop Sarah welcomed the news:

"The Prime Minister's comments about lifting the limit of 30 people attending weddings will be a relief to many. We will await the detail from the Government about what it means in practice and will update our guidance to churches accordingly...Most of all, however, we do have hope. This pandemic has been a trial for us all but we put our trust in God and have hope that there are better times to come."

The director of Affinity, Gospel Churches in Partnership, Graham Nicholls, told Premier he is disappointed with the decision not to ease restrictions on churches:

"It's legitimate, as the Bishop of London has done so, to raise the question - is it really fair to churches to be quite so restrictive in terms of mask-wearing and not being able to sing? We want to be obedient but other things such as sporting fixtures are going ahead. And it just seems incongruous." 

Public guidance on Church of England attendance is being updated in the light of the government's announcement.

You can read the Bishop of London's statement here: Covid-19 restrictions: reaction from the Bishop of London 

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