Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Throughout the pandemic we have sought as a diocese to be alert to the most vulnerable in our communities and follow the national advice amongst our church communities. Whilst it is hugely frustrating that the Government’s Plan B has had to be put in place, it is there to help protect us and our neighbours.
I know this will lead to further uncertainties and anxieties, especially around events during the Christmas season, and the need to update risk assessments. Many are already exhausted and this will feel a heavy blow. Thank you for all that you are doing to ensure that our churches are as safe as possible.
The updated national guidance is available here.
Wearing face masks is now mandatory in all places of worship, except for those people with exemptions (including when leading aspects of the service). Whilst face masks can be removed for singing, the other bishops, archdeacons and I recommend strongly that face masks are still worn when singing, except by members of choirs who should be well spaced apart. I hope that wearing face masks, and the fact that many have had three vaccine injections, will give people confidence to continue to be part of our worshipping life in our churches, though many will choose to join online.
Covid ‘passports’ are not required to attend worship, though we would recommend members of congregations are encouraged to do regular lateral flow tests, preferably before attending worship.
Thank you for all that you do, especially in sharing the message of hope that illuminates the stable of Bethlehem and is so needed by each of us and the whole world.
With every blessing as we approach Christmas.