Up until now, along with the other Bishops, I have asked that, if possible, Church buildings remain open for private prayer. However there are a number of considerations that lead me to ask now that you keep your Church buildings closed except for the marriages that are taking place under pastoral necessity or for an individual cleric praying or live-streaming. The social distancing guidelines allow exercise in public spaces but buildings are confined spaces and even our larger ones are such that it would be easy not to obey the 2 metre rule particularly when entering or leaving the building. Furthermore, it has been shown that the virus can survive on some surfaces for a number of days. While we do not believe that God is more present in our Church buildings than anywhere else, we know that entering a place where people have prayed over the centuries, can aid prayer and bring peace.
My grateful thanks to you all again and to use St Paul’s words, “be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication, make your requests known to God.” Let us learn each day how to turn fear, dread and anxiety into prayer. Amen