Bishop of Leicester speaks of heavy hearts as lockdown returns



The Bishop of Leicester has spoken of the heavy hearts people are feeling as more severe lockdown restrictions return and churches and church schools in the city, and some neighbouring parts of the county, have to close once more.
 
Some churches had re-opened for private, individual prayer and were preparing to hold services in their buildings again from this weekend.
 
The Rt Revd Martyn Snow said:  “This is not something that any of us wanted to hear. Our thoughts and prayers are first and foremost with those who are unwell, those who are caring for them, those who are grieving, and those most affected by the lockdown.
 
“We are still trying to work out the full implications of this for our churches and awaiting further advice but we have to assume that for churches within the designated area we must return to the earlier stage of lockdown, where our church buildings in the lockdown area are closed.
 
“This includes all public worship, funerals, weddings, private prayer (including clergy on their own) and livestreaming of services – none of these activities should take place within a church building. The Government has asked all of us living in this area to ‘stay at home’ and, however frustrating this is, we have a responsibility to others (in particular those who are most vulnerable).
 
“We realise how hard this will be for many people, particularly wedding couples (who will need to postpone) and those who had planned funerals in church, which will now have to take place in a crematorium or at the grave side with minimal numbers. 
 
“This is very hard for the families concerned as well as our church leaders and volunteers who, like the Cathedral which was due to open tomorrow, were in the midst of preparations for re-opening. We can only reiterate our belief that our primary responsibility at this time is to work to stop the spread of the disease, and to devote ourselves to prayer and to pastoral care of those who are suffering.
 

“We appeal to you all to show compassion and understanding, to persevere patiently once more. No one is sure about the full reasons for this spike in the virus, though we do know that the pandemic has highlighted inequalities in our society and in general, those who are economically poorer, as well as those of BAME heritage have been disproportionately affected. We must then redouble our efforts to overcome these injustices.”

Church leaders across the diocese have been emailed by the Bishops, and churches with urgent queries about what the lockdown in the next  day or two whilst we still await further guidance should contact their Archdeacon.

 


 

 




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