Cathedrals are preparing to re-open for public worship slowly and safely where they are able in the wake of the Government’s announcement of a slow road map out of lockdown towards recovery.
Cathedrals prepare to bring back public worship
St Edmundsbury will re-open for public services from this Sunday (March 7) and will reopen for personal prayer from Tuesdays to Thursdays from 12noon-2pm from next Tuesday (March 9)
York Minster will reopen for worship and private prayer on Sunday March 14 (Mothering Sunday) – it will be the first public services to be held at the cathedral since the third period of lockdown in January.
Daily services and private prayer will resume on Monday March 15.
Canon Victoria Johnson, the Cathedral’s Precentor said:
“There is an immense sense of anticipation and joy at the prospect of welcoming people to York Minster once more for prayer and reflection and to experience the presence of God in this special place. “
Truro Cathedral too has announced it will reopen on Sunday March 14 for private prayer and public worship opening from 10-3 weekly and 11.30-1pm Sundays with limited attendance to the Sunday Eucharist which is bookable by ticket only.
The services will be live streamed so people can continue to join them remotely by clicking this link > Truro Live Stream
Wakefield Cathedral re-opened for public worship this week, on March 1 and the cathedral is currently open for private prayer from 10am -2.30pm Monday to Saturday.
St Albans has been able to continue with its weekly public services and from Sunday 14 hopes to resume its usual service schedule including its Main Sunday 10 am service.
Portsmouth too has been able to run a limited number of in person services at the Cathedral, and will continue to broadcast online services daily.
Southwark Cathedral has announced it will reopen for public worship and private prayer on Palm Sunday 28 March.
Wells Cathedral is also getting ready for a return to public worship on Mothering Sunday (March 14) with three Sunday services, and a midweek Eucharist and Evensong planned.
Bradford is remaining more cautious in light of its relatively high infection rates and is hoping to be able to offer public worship for a limited number of people on Palm Sunday. From this Sunday (March 7) it will start to live-stream Choral Evensong at 3.30pm in addition to the usual livestreamed 10.30am Sunday service. Morning and evening prayer remain at the same times and the cathedral will continue to open for private prayer and reflection Wednesday – Saturdays 2-4pm.
The Dean of Bradford, the Very Revd Jerry Lepine, said:
“This Cathedral has always sought to be cautious regarding Coronavirus so that staff, visitors and congregations are protected from infection. In the light of the fact that the ‘stay at home’ message is staying in place and infection rates in Bradford are still relatively high, Chapter is proposing ‘no change’ to our current arrangements until Sunday 28th March, Palm Sunday. On that day we will offer 35 seats at the 10.30am Choral Eucharist.
“We have plans for Holy Week and Easter which will involve an act of worship plus an address every day during the week. Depending on government advice this could be either restricted attendance and live-streamed or solely live-streamed.
“We can be more positive about the future but we also need to maintain a conservative approach,’ he added.
Following the Prime Minister’s announcement of the roadmap out of lockdown, the Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, who chairs the Church of England’s Coronavirus Recovery Group, issued a statement.
You can read it here.
“I am grateful to the Prime Minister for sharing these proposals to ease the current restrictions in a way which gives us all some clarity and enables people to begin to plan.
“We will study the details and, working with Government Departments, refine our own advice for local churches in the weeks ahead. We all look forward to being able to meet in larger groups again later this year and today’s announcement will be especially encouraging for couples planning weddings, among others.
“When the first lockdown was introduced last year, we were – as we are now – in the midst of Lent, a time of preparation and self-reflection for Christians as we look forward with hope to Easter and its promise of new life in Jesus Christ.
“This has been an incredibly testing time for the whole world – most of all the loved ones of those who have died. The financial cost of the pandemic has been enormous, and we will never truly know the cost of separation and loneliness on individuals and society.
“But we have also seen remarkable signs of hope. The rapid development and distribution of vaccines has been a phenomenal achievement and I want to thank everyone involved in the process.
“The way in which people have reached out to others has been inspirational.
“Our churches have loved and served their neighbours perhaps like never before and found ways to meet and worship God together we would not have imagined just a year ago.
“As we look ahead to the prospect of easing of restrictions we know it is still a long road. Yet Easter reminds us we always have hope.”