Christians petition MP about remaining restrictions on church gatherings

(Photo: Pexels/Luis Quintero)

Christians in the Morecambe Bay area are petitioning local MP David Morris to urge the Government to lift all remaining restrictions on churches meeting together. 

The letter has been organised by Church by the Bay, a member of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches, which insists that services can be held safely by adhering to social distancing guidelines.

It asserts that re-opening the churches for private prayer is not enough and that Christians should be free to gather in their church buildings because online services "fall far short of the New Testament standard for church gatherings". 

"For us the opening of church buildings for private prayer does not mean very much: we can pray privately at home," they write.

"What matters to us is physically meeting together as the Lord Jesus Christ's people, whether in a recognised church building or some other venue such as a school.

"We meet together to build one another up in our Christian faith, to serve one another in practical ways and to serve this town of Morecambe and the surrounding area. We believe local churches provide 'essential services' in love and good deeds.

"We believe that online meetings fall far short of the New Testament standard for church gatherings. We believe that the living God calls us as local churches to be the Body of Christ in this community as we meet together.

"For us virtual Christianity will not do." 

The letter questions why people have been allowed to hold mass protests, go shopping and visit the zoo in recent weeks, but still cannot go to church for service. 

The Government originally pegged the re-opening of churches, including for individual prayer, for July.  But after coming under pressure from Christians and Church leaders, including Cardinal Vincent Nichols, it permitted church buildings to re-open for individual prayer last weekend. It is yet to lift restrictions on larger gatherings but has said they may be able to open again fully from 4 July. 

The letter concludes by asking Mr Morris "to champion the cause of Christian liberty in our country, whose democracy owes so much to the Christian faith, and to work for the lifting of the restrictions on local churches physically meeting together".