MP in call to allow churches to reopen for funerals

May 07 2020
MP in call to allow churches to reopen for funerals

Bishops have now agreed in principle to a phased approach to lifting restrictions.

Filton and Bradley Stoke MP Jack Lopresti is among a group MPs calling for churches to reopen for funerals, it has been reported.

Currently, Church of England clergy are conducting ceremonies at crematoriums and outside in churchyards but not inside church buildings because of the risks of the spread of coronavirus.

The letter, signed by 36 Conservative MPs, states: “The grief of bereavement is being translated to trauma in many cases, especially where it is resulting in the tragedy of direct cremation.

Bishops have now agreed in principle to a phased approach to lifting restrictions.

Bishop of London, Dame Sarah Mullally, who chairs a group examining how the Church of England might proceed once the current restrictions for COVID-19 are relaxed or lifted, said: “We are hugely grateful for all that our churches and clergy have been doing to support the Government’s message to stay at home, to support the NHS, and to save lives.

"While it is clear there will be no imminent return to normality, the emphasis is now turning towards how and when aspects of social distancing can be eased, although we remain mindful of the potential risks of a second wave of the virus.

"Nevertheless, it now makes sense for us to start to look ahead to the potential easing of restrictions so that our clergy and churches can be prepared.”

Last month Mr Lopresti suffered a backlash after writing to the secretary of state for communities and local government, Robert Jenrick, calling for churches to open their doors for private worship over Easter weekend.