30 people max at a wedding
The government has issued new guidance for the re-opening of places of worship for congregational activities. Weddings, funerals and other “life-cycle ceremonies” will all be permitted in a limited capacity, but only up to 30 people may be present. The detailed guidance says shared items, such as religious texts, prayer mats and service sheets, are to be avoided and people should be prevented from touching or kissing communal objects. People should not touch each other’s’ shoes. Books must be quarantined for 48 hours after use. Those giving and receiving food items should wash their hands thoroughly before and after consumption, or wear gloves. Full story here.
British mosques prepare to re-open
The Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB) is organizing a training session today (Tuesday 30 June) to help leaders of British mosques prepare for re-opening for congregational prayer. It will cover risk assessments, training, best practice for signage and washing and advice on the safe movement of people. The event is in collaboration with Faith Associates and Strengthening Faith Institutions.
New Archbishop of York apologises
The new Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell has apologised for failing to ensure domestic abuse allegations against a parish priest, made more than ten years ago, were not fully investigated. Concerns were raised with the Church of England’s safeguarding team earlier this year and an investigation was launched. Stephen Cottrell said the incident happened when he was moving between roles and although he spoke to colleagues, he failed to ensure actions were properly documented and followed through. He said he is deeply distressed and very sorry. He is due to formally take up his appointment on 9 July.
Climate at the heart of the national recovery
Faith organisations and Christian charities are part of a coalition calling on the world’s governments to back a green and fair economy. Organisations like CAFOD, Christian Aid and Tearfund form part of The Climate Coalition which today (Tuesday 30 June) is calling for politicians “to put people, climate and nature at the heart of our nation’s recovery”. A statement says: “The UK is at a turning point. As we build back from the current health crisis, we have the opportunity to rebuild a resilient economy that benefits everyone in society and tackle climate change and nature’s decline, creating jobs and protecting the most vulnerable in the UK and around the world. Or we can let the moment for change pass us by, go back to old ways and wait for new crises to emerge.” The group is calling on individuals to call for action by having a “virtual cup of tea with your MP” to tell them that #TheTimeIsNow.
A hellish lockdown in Ireland
The leader of the Church of Ireland has said some people have endured a “hellish” lockdown, suffering the death of someone close or enduring the “desolating tedium and stress of isolation”. The Archbishop of Armagh John McDowell said as churches open for worship, people will be welcomed back. The return to normality involves always thinking of others and making the church safe.