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UK News

NI church closure rule scrapped as they open for individual prayer

by Tola Mbakwe

The Northern Ireland Executive has changed its coronavirus rules for places worship. 

It announced on Tuesday that places of worship can now open for private prayer and can host drive-in services. 

The decision by Stormont ministers came after church leaders in Northern Ireland complained about churches having to close. 

Initially, places of worship were ordered to close for two weeks starting on 27th November. They were only allowed to open for weddings and funerals with up to 25 people in attendance.

Last week, one pastor in Belfast said he would defy Northern Irish lockdown rules and keep his church open during the upcoming coronavirus lockdown in the country.

"The church is separate to the state," Rev Paul Burns of the Adullam Christian Fellowship told Premier. "We are a separate entity. Therefore, the Government has to respect that."

In a statement, Rt Rev Dr David Bruce, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland said: "We have been reminding legislators of the importance of balancing our essential liberty to worship, with the need for protection of the community and people's livelihoods, from the devastating effects of this serious pandemic, and will continue to do so."

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