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Buildings, Liturgy and Worship: Adaptation

The hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, was asked – in the House of Commons on 19th May 2020.

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Photo of Fiona Bruce Fiona Bruce Conservative, Congleton

What representations the Church of England has received on the adaptation of its buildings, liturgy and worship prior to their reopening after the covid-19 lockdown.

Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous The Second Church Estates Commissioner

The House of Bishops guidance issued on 5 May shows that the Church of England is committed to reopening buildings in a phased and measured manner, in accordance with the legal position. We are working with the Government and representatives of the heritage planning sector to assess the need for building adaptations related to public health.

Photo of Fiona Bruce Fiona Bruce Conservative, Congleton

Polling shows that during the current crisis, one in four adults, and one in three of 16 to 30-year-olds, have joined a religious service remotely. Does my hon. Friend welcome that, and what is the Church doing to ensure that this continues more widely, even after lockdown?

Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous The Second Church Estates Commissioner

I am very grateful to my hon. Friend for drawing those figures to the House’s attention and I welcome them very warmly, particularly the large viewing figures among younger people. She is absolutely right that the Church will need to keep up a significant online presence well after lockdown has finished.