Forum: Churches and the pandemic
‘I was glad when they said unto me
Let’s take note and do things differently?’
The COVID-19 pandemic, and everything that ensues from it, is leading to the re-evaluation and re-assessment of many aspects of pre-pandemic life. The churches of course are not exempt from this.
First, however, let us review a major decision in England, replicated in the rest of the UK, which affected places of worship at an early stage of the pandemic. The March 2020 declaration from the archbishops of Canterbury and York determined that “Our church buildings must now be closed not only for public worship, but for private prayer as well, and this includes priests or lay persons offering prayer in church on their own.”1 A pandemic was raging. Hospitalisations and deaths were rising. But the locking out of religious leaders from buildings for which they were responsible, even if they were to be temporarily closed to the public, caused both unrest and confusion amongst church leaders. This later led to increasing anger and frustration.