Message from Bishop Martin

On Tuesday 5 May the House of Bishops agreed that, since the numbers of Covid 19 infections are showing signs of declining, we could now move towards clergy and lay ministers being able to access a church building to pray, celebrate the Eucharist and possibly record or livestream an act of worship. We have agreed to make this possible immediately, under careful guidance. The purpose of the guidance is to keep people safe, since we know the virus lingers far longer than people had earlier thought, and we do not want to trigger further outbreaks.

In accordance with the Government’s restrictions, our churches remain closed for any other purpose.  Unfortunately, this includes allowing others to enter the church to pray. 

I want to emphasise that no one should feel any pressure at all to go back into a church.  Several clergy, readers and wardens are over 70 and so will be self-isolating.  Others will not want to pray in their churches without at least some of their congregation members present.  In terms of Sunday worship, many have devised wonderful ways of enabling congregations - and significant numbers of new people – to worship by zoom or online streaming, and the systems you have set up at home may well be far better than anything you could set up in the church building (where there may not be wifi etc).  So I encourage congregations to do just what is best and manageable for you.  And there is no rush. 

The detailed guidance can be found here, and further guidance is being developed.

The House of Bishops has outlined two further stages for the weeks and months ahead.  Neither of these can take place until Government guidance is changed. When the time comes, we will need to have very clear safety protocols and we are working on these now in preparation. It would be good for each of us to start thinking now about how our individual churches will operate as restrictions are gradually lifted – ensuring those who must continue to self-isolate are included and enabling those new attenders who want to continue to join online to do so.

I am so grateful for the extraordinary ways the churches of Suffolk have been at the heart of the care and compassion in our communities, being with the vulnerable, the isolated and the hungry, and supporting through care and prayer the sick and the bereaved.  Worship and prayer, care and service is the church being the body of Christ for the world.  I keep you in my prayers, praying for your safety, and that you know the closeness of God’s loving presence in these days and all the days ahead.

With Easter blessings,


Tuesday 5 May 2020

Page last updated: Thursday 11th June 2020 3:13 PM
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