It has been announced today by The Archbishop of Canterbury that Public Worship services have officially been suspended.
This comes after the Prime Minister on behalf of the Government announced measures to try and limit the spread of the Coronavirus. Restrictions have been put on public gatherings, transport and working.
The Church, the Archbishop said, must become "a radically different Church rooted in prayer and serving others" but, for now, there will be no gathering on Sundays.
To face the challenge of coronavirus the Church as we know it Church, they said, will become a “different sort of church” in the coming months.
Justin Welby along with John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, expressed the desire that church buildings should, where practical, remain open as places of prayer for the community but added social distancing recommendations would be in place.
The Archbishops went on to urge congregations that despite not meeting together that they should to be at the forefront of providing care and support in a practical way for the poor and vulnerable during this time.
“Being a part of the Church of England is going to look very different in the days ahead,” they wrote.
They went on to encourage people to not "shut up shop" but instead look at things in a different way and says "by our love, Jesus Christ, will be known"
“Our life is going to be less characterised by attendance at church on Sunday, and more characterised by the prayer and service we offer each day.
We may not be able to pray with people in the ways that we are used to, but we can certainly pray for people. And we can certainly offer practical care and support"
They went on to suggest ways in which practical help and support could be given and the fruit that would come out of this.
“Please do carry on supporting the local foodbank and buy extra provisions for it. Ensure the night shelters wherever possible are kept open. There are many very encouraging schemes happening right across our country in communities to focus on caring for the most vulnerable and do continue to play your part in those.
“Then by our service, and by our love, Jesus Christ will be made known, and the hope of the gospel – a hope that can counter fear and isolation - will spread across our land.”
The Archbishops went on to say “This is a defining moment for the Church of England” They said the question needed to be asked
“Are we truly are a church for all, or just the church for ourselves”
“We urge you sisters and brothers to become a different sort of church in these coming months: hopeful and rooted in the offering of prayer and praise and overflowing in service to the world.”
17 Mar 2020