Bishop of Norwich welcomes churches re-opening
The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham Usher has welcomed the Government announcement of churches opening for private prayer and small funerals from Monday June 15, but acknowledges that not all will be able to open straightaway.
“This is good news as churches are sacred and special places - treasure troves of memory for generations of people. They belong to all the community and it is a joy that they are now able to be places of welcome and prayer once again," said Bishop Graham.
“I hope that in time all our churches will be open, but if they can’t do so immediately then there will be good reasons.
“It is crucially important that our church buildings are safe places to enter which do not endanger public health. A comprehensive risk assessment will need to have been undertaken. Our churches will need to be cleaned thoroughly in the right way and with the appropriate materials having been closed for three months. Some of the people who look after our churches, may need to be shielding or isolating at present," he said.
“This all may mean that some churches will not be able to open straight away and, especially in localities where there are a number of church buildings, this may take some time. There is no need to rush as we work together to open up our churches, safely, securely and steadily. Our journey out of lockdown will be made up of these small steps.
“Over the last three months the life of the Christian community hasn’t closed. It’s been different. Congregations have been meeting online in over 250 weekly services across Norfolk and Waveney, and people have been undertaking thousands of acts of kindness in loving their neighbours.
“We owe a great debt of gratitude to our clergy, lay minsters and churchwardens for their faithful leadership over the past few months and I trust them in working out how we open our church buildings in the weeks ahead,” said Bishop Graham.
Pictured above is Bishop Graham Usher.