Church of England to review church guidance after PM's re-opening roadmap

(Photo: Facebook/Church of England)

The Church of England is to "refine" its advice for local churches in light of the Prime Minister's roadmap out of lockdown. 

The Bishop of London, Dame Sarah Mullally, who chairs the Church of England's Coronavirus Recovery Group, said there was "still a long road ahead" in the fight against Covid-19 but that there were also "signs of hope". 

"I am grateful to the Prime Minister for sharing these proposals to ease the current restrictions in a way which gives us all some clarity and enables people to begin to plan," she said. 

"We will study the details and, working with Government Departments, refine our own advice for local churches in the weeks ahead." 

The four-step roadmap was published as the nationwide vaccine programme continues to bring down Covid numbers. 

The first step will be the return of schools and the resumption of outdoor recreation on 8 March. 

Further easing of restrictions will be dependent on four tests, among them the successful continued deployment of the vaccine programme. 

Bishop Mullally said the development of the vaccine had been a "phenomenal achievement". 

"When the first lockdown was introduced last year, we were – as we are now – in the midst of Lent, a time of preparation and self-reflection for Christians as we look forward with hope to Easter and its promise of new life in Jesus Christ," she said. 

"This has been an incredibly testing time for the whole world – most of all the loved ones of those who have died. The financial cost of the pandemic has been enormous, and we will never truly know the cost of separation and loneliness on individuals and society.

"But we have also seen remarkable signs of hope. The rapid development and distribution of vaccines has been a phenomenal achievement and I want to thank everyone involved in the process.

"The way in which people have reached out to others has been inspirational.

"Our churches have loved and served their neighbours perhaps like never before and found ways to meet and worship God together we would not have imagined just a year ago.

"As we look ahead to the prospect of easing of restrictions we know it is still a long road. Yet Easter reminds us we always have hope."