Church gatherings to be suspended from 5 November
2 November 2020
Subject to the approval of Parliament on Wednesday 4 November, a new national coronavirus lockdown will come into force on Thursday 5 November. Most significantly for churches, this will re-introduce the prohibition on congregations gathering for public worship, as well as the conducting of weddings.
These restrictions will remain in force until the relaxing of this regulation, which at the moment is scheduled for the first week in December. However there is growing uncertainty as to whether this relaxation will be possible, given the scale of the second wave of the virus.
The Government website states (correct as of 2 November):
Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people, and it is advised that only close friends and family attend. Linked ceremonial events such as stone settings and ash scatterings can also continue with up to 15 people in attendance. Anyone working is not included. Social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a support bubble.
Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies will not be permitted to take place except in exceptional circumstances.
Places of Worship will be closed, unless they are being used for:
To broadcast acts of worship
Formal childcare or where part of a school
Essential voluntary and public services, such as blood donation or food banks
Other exempted activities such as some support groups
If any further variations are announced, this web page will be updated.
The Church remains active
As we saw in the first national lockdown in the spring, although church services might be suspended, Christian churches remain active in serving their communities, gathering online to worship, and praying for our world in these challenging times.
There are countless examples of Christians providing practical help and support in their local communities, within covid guidelines – whether it’s hosting online remembrance events to help those who are grieving, coming alongside the local council to support practical initiatives in the community, or gathering together virtually to pray.
At this time we can truly be the Church for everyone, bringing compassion in the form of care and light in dark times, and proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ as the one great hope for our world.