Places of worship to reopen for private prayer in England

We welcome the news that church buildings in England will be allowed to reopen for individual prayer from 15 June.

As evangelical Christians we do not believe churches are “sacred spaces”. We can meet with God and pray anywhere. Many of our churches do not even own a building, preferring to rent a school or community centre for Sunday meetings.

During lockdown many churches have been able to meet online in various ways and we are grateful for that. However, this change in the law means that some Christians will once again have a suitable environment for prayer and reflection. It is also a sign of progress towards the greater easing of restrictions on churches, for which we have petitioned the Prime Minister.

It seems inconsistent that retail and leisure venues are being opened for large numbers while churches are still very restricted. We do not want to be reckless or take unnecessary risks, but we also place a high priority on the nation’s spiritual well-being.

Therefore, we urge the government to allow churches to meet again as soon as possible, given appropriate hygiene and social distancing measures.

Graham Nicholls is Director of Affinity



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Those churches hiring any public place such as a school for their congregational meetings, have the added complexity of whether the school will want or agree to their venue being hired out at this difficult time.

I am not sure what there is a clear inconsistency between retail opening and churches remaining closed? The risk profile is rather different if you pass someone at an appropriate distance in a shop to remaining in an enclosed space with someone for 1 to 2 hours. Unless your church is blessed with a space that can give each individual a 12m2 space each so they can remain social distant? The case of people infected at church in Singapore should make churches wary of becoming the cause of a second wave of infections or being seem to flout or seek exceptions from the rules that are keeping us safe

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