Covid-19: North East local restrictions
Letter to Newcastle Diocese from Bishop Christine, 17 September 2020
Dear brothers and sisters,
The challenge and fragility of our current situation has been brought home yet again with the announcement earlier today from the Government of additional social restrictions in our region. Please note that these are additional restrictions, rather than a return to lockdown, and are aimed at keeping our communities safe, our children in education and our local businesses open. They also mean our churches can remain open. However, not being able to socialise with friends and family members who live in other households will be a particular cause of sadness for many of us, particularly those of us who live alone.
The Christian call of each one of us has always been to love God and to love our neighbour, and in these days loving our neighbour extends to ensuring their safety and protection from Covid-19. As our church buildings remain open, we all need to continue to play our part in ensuring we limit, as much as possible, either unwittingly spreading the virus or becoming a contact of someone with the virus. Each local church needs to continue to be vigilant and respond appropriately to changing local circumstances with a system of sensible risk assessment. I am incredibly proud of our clergy, churchwardens and congregations for the way in which you have managed to put in place Covid safe measures in our church buildings and manage a ‘mixed economy’ of worship in our buildings and online.
There remain many questions for us all about how we journey together through the autumn to Remembrance, Advent and Christmas given the unprecedented restrictions placed upon us. Yet the history of our faith shows that the Gospel of Jesus Christ knows no bound or restriction, save for the faithfulness and imagination of the Church.
We are waiting for more detail from the government around the regional restrictions announced today, and we will all have many questions. I am sure these will be answered in the hours or days ahead and in the meantime, you may also wish, like us, to keep abreast of the government’s main website (https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus) and social media platforms where I am sure further guidance will be published as soon as it becomes available.
With every blessing and ongoing prayers,