Forward in Faith-UK backs closing churches to parishioners, but not clergy

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Forward in Faith strongly supports the Church and the civil authorities in doing all they can to limit the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on our nation, particularly by us all following the advice of stay home, protect the NHS, save lives.

Forward in Faith also welcomes the diverse range of liturgical resources being made available on-line from across the entire spectrum of belief in the Church of England, echoing the call from Archbishops of Canterbury and of York for us to be rooted in prayer.

In this spirit of public safety and prayer, the trustees of Forward in Faith would like to draw the attention of its membership, and others, to an article written by Fr Edward Dowler, Archdeacon of Hastings, for the Church Times on the current closure of churches.

The analysis and overarching message set out in Fr Dowler’s article mirror the views of many supporters of Forward in Faith and, indeed, of many others who are concerned about making provision for all who habitually worship in church or who look to their parish church as a place of spiritual nourishment and safety in times of trouble.

We, as trustees of Forward in Faith, ask that the article is given careful attention at all levels in the Church of England. We recommend that the article is read in conjunction with the paper from the London College of Bishops on ‘The Eucharist in a time of Physical Distancing’, which affirms our understanding of the sacraments at this testing time.

We also ask that the Archbishops and Bishops consider in the coming days what provision can be made, as a first step, for clergy to preside over liturgies in their churches during the forthcoming Holy Week and Easter period, while of course remaining in full compliance with the legislation and public health advice currently in place.