Statement From the Parish Priest about Live Streaming from Church
After the Archbishop ‘clarified’ on Easter Day that his ban on the use of churches for prayer and live streaming was meant only as guidance and was not an instruction, a member of our congregation wrote to the Archbishop on their own initiative to ask about his view of the Bishop of London’s present stance on the subject.
He received a reply from the Archbishop’s office saying that Bishop Sarah’s request for live streaming from churches with attached Presbyteries to desist was also not an instruction, but an encouragement.
Additionally - and perhaps unsurprisingly - we have found physical distancing is proving trickier in the dining room of the presbytery than the church itself.
Having consulted and been informed that there is no legal obstacle to such a return to church, I informed the Archdeacon on Wednesday that I was minded so to proceed and, having received his acknowledgment of my communication and his good wishes in return, the Standing Committee gave its assent to the move at its weekly meeting on Friday 24 April.
We were and are clear however that this is not a move made in a spirit of defiance: Bishop Sarah in a previous communication regarding this matter did ask us to use our common sense, and this we are doing, given that practical, legal, and health and safety considerations all seem to align, let alone the good pastoral reasons in terms of the greater support and reassurance provided to our watching laity by the setting of the church itself...
I could add, by way of a sort of confirmation of our decision, that we also received yesterday afternoon notice of long overdue Fire Upgrading Works to the Presbytery which, being deemed essential, have now been brought forward, commencing around the first May Bank Holiday. Our need to move out of the temporary Oratory located in the Presbytery dining room was therefore really only a matter of time.
To move back as part of our celebration of Mary's month of May seems, more importantly though, theologically appropriate and liturgically apposite. Pour for us to God thy Prayer, O Blessed Virgin, Alleluia!
Fr Andrew Walker
25 April 2020