Patience and goodwill: meeting for Christmas as Covid-safe churches


During the Christmas period, where ordinarily nearly 6 million people would attend church buildings, churches, chapels and cathedrals across the country are preparing to allow people to come together as church, either virtually or in person with measures to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Flowers in foreground, Christmas tree in background blurred James Atkinson

The Church of England’s ‘church finder’ website A Church Near You allows users to find Christmas services near them. This includes online services, outdoor services and indoor worship with Covid-secure arrangements. More than 15,000 services have already been listed.

The Archbishop of Canterbury will lead a service of Midnight Mass to be broadcast on the Church of England’s YouTube and Facebook channels, while the Daily Hope freephone line continues to offer worship, reflections and music for those who aren’t able to stream.

The Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, who leads the Church of England’s Recovery Group, is encouraging churches to prepare carefully for Christmas services, so that as many people as possible can share in the comfort and joy of Christmas worship:

"We are looking forward to welcoming linked Christmas households into our church services and are glad that families can spend time together as we celebrate the birth of Jesus," she said.

“I want to echo warnings of the Prime Minister and the Chief Medical Officer that in coming together, especially at home, we do everything possible not to put those who are most vulnerable at risk, limiting travel and contact with others outside our households as far as possible.

“Our cathedrals and parishes have already done a magnificent job of creating COVID-safe environments and we are extremely grateful for all they have done throughout the year. Coming together as worshiping communities both in person and online will bring comfort and joy to millions over the Christmas period.

“It is vital that we keep our focus on caring for one another; with greater numbers it will be important that all of us attending church services meet in a spirit of patience and goodwill, to ensure the safest environment possible for all.”

Covid-19 advice and guidance from the Church of England is updated regularly, as is Government guidance for places of worship.