With cases of coronavirus continuing to rise in Wales, churchgoers are being warned over the dangers of visiting a place of worship this Christmas.
The country has entered a new lockdown following the news of a new variant of Covid. Yesterday, health minister Vaughan Gething said people who were previously shielding "should no longer attend work or school outside the home" due to the surge.
While shops and restaurants have closed, churches are still allowed to open for in person gatherings.
Jane Hutt, Deputy First Minister and Chief Whip said, "I have worked closely with faith leaders and groups throughout the pandemic. Faith plays an essential part in many people's lives, and I recognise how important communal worship is for faith communities.
"In all of my many meetings with faith leaders across Wales this year, and in all of my interactions with those of faith, I have been impressed by their incredible efforts to keep places of worship safe for communal worship. I am also aware of the important work they have been doing in their own local communities, supporting and reaching out to those in need during this difficult and uncertain time, and exemplifying more than ever the best of who they are.
Rev Gethin Rhys, of Cytûn: Churches Together in Wales has questioned whether meetings are buildings at all.
"Given the inherent risks involved do I need to engage in this activity at all? Are there safer alternatives such as broadcast?"
Siân Rees, director of Evangelical Alliance, Wales thinks physical gatherings are vital but churches must take this pandemic seriously
"Gathering for corporate worship is an important component of Christian life, perhaps more so at Christmas," she said. "Churches also provide essential support networks for those with spiritual, mental health or practical needs. We fully acknowledge the seriousness of this pandemic and the duty of care churches have to ensure that congregants are kept safe."