Government preparing to ease church singing rules

(Photo: Unsplash/Anna Earl)

The Government is reportedly preparing to relax the rules around church singing from 29 March, according to an update to church leaders.

The changes were revealed in an email from the Government to John Stevens, head of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches. 

The update, shared on his blog, suggests that the Government is planning to allow small singing groups indoors and congregational singing outdoors in church car parks, gardens and courtyards from 29 March. 

That update acknowledges that many leaders have asked the Government for "increased clarity" around singing in church, and states that discussions are "ongoing", with more details to be published "shortly". 

"The current plan is to allow single small groups of singers to perform during an act of worship," the update reads. 

"At the same time we hope that congregations will be able to take part in singing in the grounds of a place of worship, observing the social distancing rules around attending groups and following the guidance on safer singing.

"As soon as we have confirmation, we will send through further details." 

Churches in England have been allowed to remain open for in-person services during the current lockdown, but singing has been restricted to one person or three individuals in exceptional circumstances "where it is essential to the service".

"Strict social distancing should be observed and the use of Plexi-glass screens should be considered to protect worshippers, and each other," current guidance reads.

"Communal singing should not take place. This applies even if social distancing is being observed or face coverings are used.

"Current guidance also suggests that churches use recordings "as an alternative to live singing".

Stevens said the latest update, sent by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government this morning, was "encouraging".