Support for Family Life: Covid-19

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

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Photo of Joy Morrissey Joy Morrissey Conservative, Beaconsfield

What steps the Church of England has taken to support family life during the covid-19 lockdown.

Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous The Second Church Estates Commissioner

In the diocese of Oxford, which covers Beaconsfield, churches have opened food banks and community larders and supported vulnerable people who are socially isolating as well as asylum seekers and key workers. In addition, nationally, the new marriage and pre-marriage courses have been available online throughout lockdown so that any local church can forward them to couples wanting to invest in their relationship.

Photo of Joy Morrissey Joy Morrissey Conservative, Beaconsfield

What better way to celebrate couples than getting married, but, sadly, in beautiful Beaconsfield countless couples have had to cancel their church wedding. I welcome the news of 30 people being able to gather at a wedding, but what has the Church of England done to work with Government and to lobby them to increase the numbers for gatherings and weddings? Could we increase those numbers for this summer?

Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous The Second Church Estates Commissioner

I thank my hon. Friend for that question, and she is right to say that a maximum of 30 people will be allowed at weddings from 4 July. That 30 includes the minister and the couple, and there should be social distancing of 1 metre-plus between individuals, households and support bubbles. The figure of 30 is what the Government have advised for now, and they obviously continue to listen to the science, but the couples I have spoken to are just so pleased to be able to get married. Perhaps a bigger party—perhaps a celebration of the renewal of vows—could take place next year.