Our churches have responded in different and imaginative ways to the challenges of the last few months. Local trustees have had to make the appropriate decision about opening their buildings for worship in response to their context whether that be a national lockdown in England, the firebreak in Wales or all those living with restrictions in Scotland and the Islands of our nations.
The Government has commended the churches on their adherence to the guidance and the care they have taken to help protect worshippers in their buildings. It is sad that the freedom to make those decisions has been removed as part of national efforts to control the spread of the virus in England (as is the case in Wales). We will continue to engage with the Government to try to ensure that where appropriate church buildings can safely reopen for worship sooner rather than later.
Many churches have been at the heart of supporting local communities, for example through food provision, support groups and mutual aid groups. As we enter into periods of new restrictions, we encourage people to continue loving their neighbour through this kind of service. As we have seen, the pandemic and lockdown have hit the poorest and most marginalised the hardest. The Methodist Church, along with others, have been speaking out about the impact of household debt and poverty, and we must continue to do so.
The Revd Richard Teal
President of the Methodist Conference