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Dame Sarah Mullally (Photo Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA)
PA wire
PA wire
USA News

Bishop of London encourages people to take personal responsibility for loving their neighbour as restrictions ease in England

by Cara Bentley

As the Church of England releases its guidance for public worship, Rt Rev Sarah Mullally has encouraged people to take personal responsibility for loving their neighbour. 

She was speaking as guidance was issued by the Church of England to help churches prepare for stage 4 of the Government's roadmap for the lifting of restrictions in England on Monday, which you can read here.

The guidance encourages churches to make their own decisions about singing, where to gather and whether to keep the test and trace QR code.

Bishop Sarah, chair of the Church of England's Recovery Group, praised the vaccination programme, saying: "The relaxation of restrictions on Monday is only possible because of the vaccination programme which has reduced the percentage of those with Covid who become seriously ill or die.

"We are indebted to all who have developed and administered the vaccines and we encourage anyone who has not yet done so to take advantage of the protection they offer."

The Church of England guidance tells churches that it would be inappropriate to ask for people's vaccination status to enter church. 

Bishop Sarah acknowledged the ways the restrictions will help churches get back to normal and asked individuals to be aware of others' anxiety.

"Many will welcome the possibilities now before us, not least increased numbers at life events and a long awaited return of congregational and amateur choir singing.

"However, this is a difficult point in the course of the pandemic. Despite vaccination rates, cases are up, hospital admissions are up and long covid remains an ongoing concern. Therefore, our approach needs to be cautious and careful.  

"Taking personal responsibility means responsibility for our neighbour, not just for ourselves, and taking precautions to protect those more vulnerable than we consider ourselves to be."

She ended by clarifying that the national Church will not enforce one style of behaviour: "Local church leaders know their communities and their own circumstances, and we will support them making local decisions to keep themselves and their community safe. We would ask everyone to support those making local decisions and respect risk assessments, which are in place to protect everyone as we enter the next phase."

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