Following a meeting yesterday of the House of Bishops, it has been announced that funerals may begin taking place again from next week.
According to a letter written by the Bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Rev James Newcome to all clergy in his area, the services, which will be subject to government guidance on coronavirus, will be permitted to commence from Monday 15th June across the Diocese of Carlisle.
Bishop James wrote:
“This represents a further step in the Church of England’s phased approach to the reopening of our church buildings and follows the Government’s announcement to allow churches to reopen for individual private prayer from next Monday. I know how difficult a time this has been for those people who have lost loved ones - some due to the coronavirus - and who may have wanted a funeral service to take place in church. But with concerns over social distancing and as the number of COVID cases grew, the closure of churches for funerals was the responsible way forward and helped protect lives.
“As infection rates decrease, so now is the right time to look at the situation again. I am pleased to announce that our churches may reopen for funeral services, subject to all social distancing regulations being met and the necessary cleaning taking place.”
Bishop James urged all churches who are thinking of restarting funerals to ensure they keep a close eye on infection rates in their local area and take action according to government guidelines.
He said: “Whilst welcoming this news, I would stress that as a Diocese we shall continue to carefully monitor the situation. If an increase in infection rates means that this needs to be readdressed we shall do so.
“Meanwhile my prayers are with all those clergy colleagues who may be considering reopening their church buildings for funerals. I give thanks for the added comfort this may bring to those family and friends who have lost loved ones.”