News by email Donate

Suggestions

Top Stories

Most Read

Popular Videos

@wabbey Twitter
@wabbey Twitter
Justin Welby and Cardinal Vincent Nichols.jpg
UK News

Justin Welby and Cardinal Vincent Nichols pray together as churches reopen

by Press Association

Church buildings have reopened for private individual prayer, but there were strict rules for the worshippers who took part.

Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, started the day together in prayer.

They spent some time in private prayer before the Blessed Sacrament at Westminster Cathedral before heading to Westminster Abbey to pray at the shrine of Edward the Confessor.

The Archbishop of Canterbury tweeted that it is "always a joy to see" Cardinal Nichols "but today we needed to keep distant".

He added: "We continue to give thanks for all battling the pandemic and pray for a renewal of our common life."

Cardinal Nichols described it as "a great joy" to see churches open once again and it said had been "good to pray" with the archbishop "to mark this moment of grace".

Signs which read "pray safe stay safe" reminded people to keep two metres apart as they arrived at London's
Westminster Cathedral.

Worshippers were asked to stay for up to an hour per day to allow others the chance to enter.

The restricted hours were to allow the cathedral to be regularly cleaned and for a safe commute for the staff and volunteers.

People in groups were asked to separate or leave, and confessions were not heard at the cathedral. Toilets, the shop and cafe were shut.

The need to maintain social distancing means "this is very much the first step of our opening", according to Fr Andrew Gallagher, of Westminster Cathedral.

He added: "I am sure we all see this as a moment of joy, after what has been a difficult journey through Lent and Easter."

The Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner, said "it is important to stress that there is no pressure, no rush" for churches to reopen until they feel it is safe to do so.

Safety signs and marked-off seating were among the measures imposed across the Anglican churches in the Chichester Diocese.

Social media was used by St Luke's Parish Church in the Chichester Diocese  to alert parishioners to their expected behaviour, which included use of hand sanitiser, keeping to the two-metre rule and not to enter if they had any Covid-19 symptoms.

Chichester Cathedral, which reopened to the public for the first time since March, said in a message posted on its website: "Whilst there is no public worship, votive stands will be available for you to light a candle. The Blessed Sacrament is reserved in Saint Clement's Chapel off the South Aisle, which is set aside for private prayer."

Current Government guidance says singing and playing instruments, with the exception of the church organ, should be avoided, as officials continue to review scientific and medical advice around how those activities can be managed safely.

Last month, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick referred to the particular problem of exhalation spreading droplets further during the singing of hymns.

Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

A Monthly Gift Of £5 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 UK is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of £5 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.

Set up a monthly gift

Related Articles

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

Connect

Donate

Donate