Christian Concern considering legal action over forced closure of churches in Scottish lockdown

(Photo: Unsplash/Zack Davidson)

Public policy group Christian Concern is weighing up whether to launch a legal challenge against the closure of churches in Scotland's latest national lockdown.

National lockdowns were imposed in both England and Scotland this week as Covid cases continue to soar, but the two countries have taken different approaches to places of worship.

While the rules in England permit them to stay open for public worship, Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has ordered them closed.

Christian Concern supported 122 church leaders in a judicial review when places of worship were forced to close last year, and is now considering similar action in response to Scotland's closure of churches.

In a statement, the group said: "We welcome the government's decision not to close churches or ban communal worship during the English lockdown announced on Monday evening by the Prime Minister.

"There can be no doubt that the legal challenge and pursuit of a judicial review by 122 church leaders has helped the government understand the crucial importance of church independence.

"Never in our history before have our churches been forced to close – not during wars, plagues or famines. Instead churches have always been places of respite and hope."

The organisation went on to say that churches were safe places and that the decision to open or close should be left with them.

"Churches throughout the UK have demonstrated their responsibility – and indeed their safety – throughout the pandemic," it said.

"It is right that church leaders continue to be trusted to decide if and how to meet, given their local circumstances and the needs of their members.

"We ask you to pray for and support all church leaders and their congregations in crucial the days, weeks and months ahead.

"May they be given wisdom and courage to responsibly honour and worship God and love their neighbours at this challenging time."