Dear sisters & brothers,
‘Stay at home’ is the best advice in the current circumstances with Covid rapidly spreading.
St Aidan’s will open this weekend for those who turn up but will close from Monday 11th January for the time being.
The third ‘lockdown’ in England began on Wednesday 6th January. It shows an understanding of the role of churches and faith groups that so far in this phase we have not been required to close by law. It is also a tribute to stewards and others that church communities are seen to be acting responsibly in these times.
The Archbishop has given parish priests authority to close a church for a period if local circumstances require it. There are two main reasons for closing a church. One is if stewards feel unable to continue volunteering due to their personal circumstances including their families. The other is if the level of the virus makes it unsafe to open the church for Masses.
Here at St Aidan’s over half of the stewards have indicated that they feel unable to continue volunteering for the time being due to their responsibility to their families at this very difficult time. Several have concerns for their own health and that of those they serve at church. We therefore would not be able to provide the required supervision for public Masses after Sunday 10th January.
My personal view is that St Aidan’s is as safe as we can manage. However, that level of safety may not be sufficient to protect those attending church from the present aggressive spread of the new virus strain. Added to that, we are in an area that is designated as ‘critical incident’ for hospitals and emergency services. It would therefore seem safest to heed the government appeal to ‘stay at home’.
I am asking people not to come to church this weekend 9/10 January or for the immediate future until we are through this phase of the pandemic. The church will be open for Masses this weekend for those who have not had a chance to read this advice. It will be closed from Monday 11th January except for funerals and baptisms that take place under the Government’s Covid rules.
Please pass this information on to anyone you think may not have the means to receive it through the website or email.
God bless you and keep safe.