With mass public gatherings now restricted with cinemas, restaurants and pubs closed, our churches are the latest to follow the trend. Despite trying to stay open for as long as possible to allow people to pray and worship together, they are now stopping services across the country as the coronavirus threat grows.
The Church of England has announced that all public worship is suspended in light of the coronavirus. This means that there will be for the foreseeable future no services in any churches that are open to church members or members of the public to attend. In accordance with the guidelines issued by the Archbishops, the clergy together will maintain a rhythm of Morning Prayer and Eucharistic worship throughout each of our churches on a rota basis.
The archbishops wrote that,’ Being a part of the church of England is going to look very different in the days ahead. Our life is going to be less characterised by attendance at church on Sunday, and more characterised by the prayer and service we offer each day. We may not be able to pray with people in the ways that we are used to, but we can certainly pray for people. And we can certainly offer practical care and support.’ .
With a large percentage of worshippers being in the over 70s bracket, the Church of England has had to take these steps to ensure the safety of its congregations. Some people are taking to online meetings to conduct their prayer meetings or sing together. Some will not have access to technology so will have to pray at home and the church is working hard to coordinate pastoral care and service at parish level.