Churches to close - again...

Boris Johnson announced significant new restrictions in his press conference on Saturday 31 October which have now been clarified in the government guidance.

Responding to the news, Affinity Director Graham Nicholls said:

“I am disappointed with the news that churches are to be closed again for public worship from Thursday. Church gatherings in person are an essential part of the Christian life and are good for all of society - and as essential as education and other activities such as elite sport, which continue to be permitted. Therefore I cannot agree with this decision.

We are, of course, all concerned about the apparent rise in infections, the potential for serious illness and the resultant pressure on the NHS, but we have not seen any evidence that church meetings are a significant cause of spreading infection. I know our churches have been diligent in taking every possible precaution - including cleaning and social distancing - to make their gatherings Covid-secure. Our love for God motivates us to be responsible citizens who respect the authorities and love our neighbours.

We also note that following a recent letter from church leaders with over 1,000 signatories, we were assured that the government was not planning to close churches again.

We urge the government to reconsider this decision and we will be prayerfully reflecting on the best way to respectfully make the case for churches to be allowed to remain open.

Across the churches we represent, as for the country as a whole, there are a range of views on the interpretation of the scientific data and the most effective and reasonable policy to deal with the pandemic. Solutions may be forthcoming from people with God-given medical skills, but medical treatments may not end the pandemic. We recognise and respect the very difficult decisions our government has to make and we continue to pray for them as they seek to lead us wisely.

We urge the church to pray for God’s mercy on our nation at this time. Let us pray, too, for ourselves that we would not place our hope in technology or fear death, because out trust is in the Lord. God knows what he is doing; he is totally in charge and we are in his hands. Ours should be a profoundly different response to those around us who will be driven mostly by a fear of death and the hope that social distancing and vaccines might save them."

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"You cannot tie up God's good news". The Government has no right to stop public worship. We are a country that respects religious freedom. People have died for the right to worship God and to be faithful. How dare the government declare that our churches are on par with pubs and restaurants as risky places to be in. Give us back our freedom to practice our faith.

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