Southwell Minster and Birmingham Cathedral are the latest Church of England cathedrals to close their doors to support the national effort to stop the spread of the infection, keep people safe and protect the NHS.
They join Bristol, Chester, Canterbury, Liverpool, Truro, Sheffield, Guildford, St Paul’s, Southwark, Ely, Rochester, Salisbury, Cathedral Isle of Man and York Minster which have all taken the decision to close.
The Dean of Southwell, the Very Revd Nicola Sullivan said:
“We have taken the decision to close the Minster with a heavy heart. The offering of worship and prayer in this holy place is core to our ministry and mission, but we must take action to protect our staff and all who come to the Minster. We will keep everything under review and open again when we know it is safe to do so.”
Southwell Minster will open for funerals, and for the recording of worship which will be available online.
Winchester and Manchester have both announced a suspension of public worship but are open for private prayer and reflection at limited times during the week.
The Dean of Manchester, the Very Revd Rogers Govender, said:
“Given the continued severity of the transmission of the virus at present, further changes have been made to our public worship. Sadly, all public worship is now suspended with immediate effect. We remain open for private prayer during each day but worshippers will now need to join us live on Facebook for our services.
“As ever, we continue our prayer for an end to the pandemic and for the NHS, as we remember those who are unwell and for those who are bereaved.
“May the Holy Spirit of God bring healing and comfort in these difficult times. May God grant us mercy and love.”
They join Bradford, Chelmsford, Christ Church Oxford, Lincoln, Lichfield, Truro, Wakefield, Hereford, Derby, Blackburn, Norwich, Peterborough, Wells and St Asaph from the Church in Wales which have all suspended public worship but are currently open for private prayer and reflection at limited times and days through the week – subject to regular review.
Chichester Cathedral, which remains open for services, prayer and reflection, has reduced capacity at its services to just 40 people on top of its existing Covid precautions and is exploring ways of further live streaming more services.
Coventry, Leicester, Ripon, St Edmundsbury, and St Albans, are also offering a reduced number of smaller public services each week – under strict Covid guidelines – and have limited their opening hours for private prayer and reflection.
All cathedrals are reviewing the situation on a daily basis.
Under the latest Government rules, places of worship can currently remain open for private prayer, reflection and public worship.
All our cathedrals are urging people to stay home, keep safe and protect the NHS, and all of them are offering prayer and worship online so people can join in where they are.
Please be assured all our cathedrals continue to follow the latest public health and government guidance on the safe use of places of worship which includes observing social distance, making sure visitors do not mingle with anyone outside their household or support bubble, and offering hand sanitising stations.
Please visit your cathedral’s website for the latest up to date information.