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UK News

Churches warned to be 'cautious and careful' as worship restrictions ease

by Heather Preston


The Evangelical Alliance has warned that congregations and leaders need to act with "wisdom and grace" as restrictions on communal worship are lifted.

Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday night, Sajid Javid announced that people in England would be allowed to sing together in places of worship from the 19th July - news that has been welcomed by many across the church. 

Head of Advocacy for the Evangelical Alliance, Danny Webster, said that the prospect of worshipping together is an exciting one, but will come with many challenges as churches "navigate the next steps". 

Speaking to Premier, he said: "we need to be very aware that we're in a context where cases are rising and, while the vaccine seems to be doing its job, churches may well want to be cautious and careful with how they proceed in the next few weeks."

Stating that "every church will come to its own conclusions", he suggested that the local case rate, the size of congregations and venues and ventilation conditions all needed to be considered, along with the concerns and welfare of church members before worship can return to normal: "There will be people who are vulnerable, people who are uncertain or anxious that aren't necessarily willing to come straight back into a church, churches are going to have to act with a lot of wisdom and a lot of grace."

He went on to say that we all have a collective responsibility to look after our church family and give people the choice to stay as safe as possible: "There will be a responsibility that sits with the church leadership to set out what their plan is for this, what they're going to require people to do. If they're going to remove social distancing and fill their venue to capacity, I think it's helpful that people know what to expect when they come to church. But then I think individuals also have a role to play in this - if a church is saying 'actually we're going to continue to wear masks', it is important that individuals wear masks if other people are. It is also up to people to choose to stay home while engaging with church online or through a hybrid format."

The Prime Minister also confirmed that face masks and social distancing will not be a legal requirement in England when the coronavirus restrictions ease further and restrictions on the number of people allowed at weddings and funerals will be lifted.

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