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Church buildings able to open for individual prayer from 15 June

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“Following the announcement late last night by Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, that church buildings will be able to open for individual prayer from Monday 15 June, I am writing to say that detailed guidance will be issued on the Church of England website once the full Government guidance is released and it has been considered by the Church of England’s Recovery Group chaired by the Bishop of London.

“This news is a positive step and a marker on what will likely be a long journey back to the full use of these sacred places and treasure troves of the memories of our communities.

“I am conscious that a number of clergy, lay leaders and volunteers are themselves needing to isolate or shield others. This means that the opening of church buildings may take longer in some places than others. In multi-parish benefices it might be worth opening one or two church buildings to begin with and steadily rolling this out as volunteer support becomes available and safety measures can be put in place. The key thing is that we move forward steadily and safely as that is how we can best ‘love our neighbour’. I trust incumbents, churchwardens and PCC members to work out how this is done given your local needs.

“We move forward in the hope of Christ, continuing to pray for all affected by COVID-19, and praying that God the Holy Trinity will hold us as we wait with eager longing for the next stage when we might gather again for corporate worship and the celebration of the Eucharist.

“I remain hugely grateful for all that you have been doing in response to the pandemic. Thank you.”

With every blessing.


The Rt Revd Graham Usher​
Bishop of Norwich