Scotland and England have been placed under national bans again as coronavirus cases continue to surge across the UK.
The lockdowns are the toughest restrictions both north and south of the border since last March and were triggered by the spread of a mutant strain of coronavirus.
However, the rules for places of worship are different in both countries. Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon ordered that places of worship be closed there, including for private prayers. The exception to the Scottish lockdown are the islands that remain in Level 3.
The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Rev. Dr. Martin Fair, was positive about Ms. Sturgeon’s decision to close churches under the Scottish lockdown.
« If that is what it takes to protect one another and the most vulnerable in particular, then I am absolutely ready, even if it means closing our churches, » he said in a Facebook message. eval (ez_write_tag ([[250,250], ‘christiantoday_com-medrectangle-3’, ‘ezslot_0’, 156, ‘0’, ‘0’]);
« You should follow instructions on how to use places of worship safely and should not mix with anyone outside your household or the support bubble when visiting a place of worship. «
Bishop of London Sarah Mullally, Chair of the Church of England’s Covid Recovery Group, said the changes « underscore the gravity of the situation ». . eval (ez_write_tag ([[580,400], ‘christiantoday_com-medrectangle-4’, ‘ezslot_2’, 150, ‘0’, ‘0’]);
« At a time like this, the Church is here to offer comfort and spiritual support to all. We have a duty to look after each other, especially those who are vulnerable or who are most at risk, « she said.
The bishop said that churches that want to stay open need to make sure they are « as safe as possible, » but added that anyone who has concerns, including clergymen, should not attend the service in person.
« However, some may think that right now it is better not to attend in person, and there will be communities that decide to only offer digital services for now, » she said.
« Ministers in concern and others who are shielding themselves should be extra careful and stay home. «
She urged Christians to pray for frontline workers « in this anxious and stressful time », but also for parents and schools. . eval (ez_write_tag ([[580,400], ‘christiantoday_com-box-4’, ‘ezslot_3’, 117, ‘0’, ‘0’]);
« The vaccination program is ongoing and as Christians we have a deeper hope in God that comforts us beyond fear.
« As we remembered this Christmas season, that hope brings light even amid our darkest fears. «
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, welcomed the decision to keep the churches open for public worship.
« The regular exercise of our belief in God is a source of personal resilience and dedicated service to the needy, both of which are vital in these troubled times, » he said.
« I am glad that no action has been taken to obstruct or limit this essential source of energy for the common good. «
John Stevens, National Director of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches, called for respect as the churches decide whether to stay open or to close their doors. eval (ez_write_tag ([[300,250], ‘christiantoday_com-large-Leaderboard-2’, ‘ezslot_5’, 120, ‘0’, ‘0’]);
« While the new law allows places of worship to remain open for corporate worship, it doesn’t mean they have to stay open, » he wrote in an update on the FIEC website.
« Many churches may choose to attend public worship during this proliferation period out of concern for the members of the ward (especially if they are elderly and vulnerable) or because of their reputation in the wider community where there is unnecessary public concern virus.
« The leaders and trustees of independent churches must determine for themselves what course of action is appropriate in their particular circumstances.
« FIEC would urge all churches to fully comply with laws and guidelines and to respect the autonomy of each local church as to whether they should continue to meet physically during this difficult time for our country.
« It is important that we respect each other and the decisions our churches make, and not think about the motivations that individuals and churches might have for either staying open or just switching to online services. «
World News – AU – Churches close in Scotland but stay open in England as new national lockdowns begin
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