The Abbey remains closed. We are making plans to reopen for private prayer. A date for reopening has not yet been published.
Last weekend the Government announced that churches across England will be permitted to reopen for individual prayer from Monday 15th June.
The Government is due to publish guidance to ensure the limited reopening of places of worship can be done safely and in line with social distancing guidelines. This will recommend the thorough cleaning of shared spaces, hand cleansing at entry and exit and other measures to reduce the risk of infection.
The House of Bishops Covid-19 Recovery Group recognises that it will not be possible for every church to open at the same time and will depend on their individual circumstances. Bishop Sarah, who chairs the Recovery Group, has commented that the Government’s announcement about individual prayer is the ‘start of the journey for church buildings to open up safely in line with government advice.’
Locally, a team including the Vicar and Churchwardens have been planning for the reopening of the Abbey for private prayer. There will be a further announcement next week as they work towards achieving this. Their preparations include a one-way system with entry and exit via different doors, limited access inside the Abbey, spaced seating in the Nave, very restricted numbers of people permitted to enter and hand sanitising stations. The plans are cautious with consideration for the safety of everyone involved in enabling this and those visiting the Abbey.
There are no plans to reopen the Church Rooms or St Swithun’s Church at this time. These will be addressed separately.
Our daily services will continue to be streamed live on zoom and online on Sunday and we hope that you can join us there. Find details in our Weekly Bulletin.
11th June 2019