United Kingdom

Places of worship will reopen for prayer later this month

Amen! Churches open for prayer later this month. 

Churches will reopen for private prayer this month under plans being finalised by ministers.

Places of worship have been closed since the lockdown began on March 23.

Churches will reopen for private prayer this month under plans being finalised by ministers. Places of worship have been closed since the lockdown began on March 23. Pictured: Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury, Kent

With restrictions now being eased, and even betting shops due to open from June 15, ministers have come under pressure to name a date for allowing churches and mosques to reopen.

Government sources last night said that places of worship are set to open in the second half of this month, although a precise date has yet to be finalised.

One source said: ‘We cannot be in a position where we are allowing casinos to reopen but churches are still shut.’

Places of worship have been closed since the lockdown began on March 23. Pictured: The reverend Lucy Winkett, rector of St James's Piccadilly, delivers the Eucharist on May 17 via webcam to the church's congregation

The initial move will cover private prayer, but talks continue on allowing worship with social distancing.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick last night said the issue was ‘a priority’, adding: ‘We are working in partnership with faith leaders to develop guidance to enable the phased and safe reopening of places of worship. We will issue necessary guidance as soon as possible.’

The move comes as leaders of the Church of England stepped up calls for reopening. There is dismay that while fast-food chains and giant furniture stores are back in business, churches still don’t know when they can open.

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