It took a long time to come, but the resumption of religious services in England has finally been set to July 4. The british prime minister, Boris Johnson, has confirmed on Tuesday 23 June his plan déconfinement providing for the next reopening of places of worship, as well as other places of the public space such as bars, restaurants, or theatres.
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Closed since march 23, to deal with the epidemic of Covid-19, the places of worship of the United Kingdom had been allowed to reopen partially in mid-June, for the funeral ceremonies and prayers of the individual. While England plans to fully resume its religious activities on 4 July, Northern Ireland has advanced the date to June 29. Scotland and wales have not yet ruled.
The british prime minister explained that the places of worship, English would again be allowed to hold offices, but also weddings, limited to 30 persons, in compliance with the social distancing. The singing will be temporarily prohibited, in order not to spread the virus.
These severe restrictions, however, have not started the enthusiasm of the religious representatives in the country. ” It is great that we can soon bring us together again to worship in our churches “, welcomed the primate of the anglican Church and archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, in a press release.
The most reverend Vincent Nichols, archbishop of Westminster and president of the bishops ‘Conference of England and Wales, also applauded the government’s decision, thanking” all those who have worked hard to get here, my fellow religious not least “. Last may, following the announcement of the plan of déconfinement british, the cardinal English was concerned on the BBC of the belated recovery of the offices in July :” We would like the government to show a little more sensitivity “he said.
A re-opening in stages
In an effort of appeasement, a working group was then established between the secretariat of State for Communities, the representatives of the six cults (Church of england, catholic Church, judaism, islam, hinduism, sikh) and the Faith Action network faith-based organizations and the community. On 15 June, the churches of the English had obtained the possibility of a partial reopening for prayers private. This decision was welcomed by cardinal Nichols as” a big step forward for the company “in the face of coronavirus.
If the christian clergy now appreciates the full recovery of the worship services on July 4, the religious leaders of jews and muslims show themselves to be more circumspect. The chief rabbi of the Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, Ephraim Mirvis,” warmly welcomes the new “but states that it will be” as cautious as necessary to protect our communities “after having already stated that the synagogues could reopen later than expected. The muslim Council of Britain has also announced that all the mosques could not receive the faithful from the July 4, due to the difficulties to apply the health rules during the prayer.