Smaller and Rural Churches: Covid-19

Church Commissioners – in the House of Commons on 25th June 2020.

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Photo of Rosie Duffield Rosie Duffield Labour, Canterbury

What assessment the commissioners have made of the ability of (a) smaller and (b) rural churches to re-open safely as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous The Second Church Estates Commissioner

Church House staff and the House of Bishops are doing everything they can to assist parish churches to open safely. The guidance published by the Church is applicable for small and rural churches as well as for larger and urban churches.

Photo of Rosie Duffield Rosie Duffield Labour, Canterbury

It is obviously fantastic to see Canterbury Cathedral open for private prayer, but rural and smaller village communities often use their churches as a lifeline, particularly those who have been shielding. I want to reassure them that it is going to be safe for them to return to church soon.

Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous The Second Church Estates Commissioner

I can give the hon. Lady that reassurance. I know from my own village church how seriously the vicar and the church wardens are taking their responsibilities to make sure that the return will be safe, with hand sanitiser, removing the kneelers, keeping prayer books covered up and so on, as well as making sure that people sit at an appropriate distance. I am sure that the rural churches will be back in action shortly in the hon. Lady’s constituency.