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Covid-19 Lockdown: Public Worship

Volume 684: debated on Thursday 26 November 2020

What representations the Church of England has made to the Government on the importance of public worship during periods of covid-19 lockdown. (909344)

Both archbishops joined other faith leaders earlier this month in writing to the Prime Minister to highlight the importance of public worship. The worship of Jesus is the spiritual fuel that keeps the engine of the Church running.

Over the past 1,000 years, we have had a fair proportion of saints and sinners as Archbishop of Canterbury, but one thing that we demand of our established Church is that it provides robust leadership against arbitrary government. I do not know whether my hon. Friend noticed that 90 colleagues and I wrote to the Prime Minister on the subject of the closure of churches, but can he assure me, as a voice of the established Church in this place, that if there is any future proposal to prevent public worship, the Church of England will demand evidence—there has never been a shred of evidence—and we will try to save this very important part of public life?

I not only noted my right hon. Friend’s letter, but was one of the signatories to it. Like him, I know that clergy have worked extraordinarily hard to provide covid-secure services. I felt safer in church than in any other public space I have been in during the pandemic. My right hon. Friend makes a very valid point. I have registered that point very strongly, and I will absolutely feed it through to the leadership of the Church of England.