Church of England launches virtual Christmas carols for people excluded from Christmas services

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She told BBC Radio 4’s Today show on Monday: “You will be alone singing these songs, but you will feel like you have been transported to the church where we recorded them, and you will be able to look around you. and see the impressive building – you will feel like you are among the choir and it will be a new experience for people everywhere this Christmas. ”

Speaking of worshipers who cannot attend church services this Christmas, Ms. Cole said that since the start of the pandemic, the Church has used technology to reach people it has never been connected with before, “and to reconnect with people who did not feel comfortable entering our buildings ”.

“This allows us to connect with people who, perhaps for accessibility reasons, cannot visit us in our buildings, we can connect with them in this innovative way,” she added. .

A Church of England spokesperson said there was no central policy regarding the opening of churches for Christmas during the pandemic, and churches and local officials were responsible for their own assessments risks.

The Christmas carols were uploaded to the Church of England’s YouTube channel, which has nearly 20,000 subscribers.

Until the beginning of this month, there was a ban on singing in congregation, much to the dismay of the clergy and the laity. Speaking in the House of Lords in July, the Bishop of Gloucester, Rachel Treweek, criticized the government and called for clarity on the restrictions, “since singing is not an addition to worship but in fact integral part “.

Under Plan B, face coverings have become mandatory in most indoor public places.

However, under current government guidelines, there is a “reasonable excuse exemption” that allows people to remove face coverings in places of worship while singing if they choose.

The deans of the cathedral have also urged Christmas carol singers to wear masks and take Covid tests on Christmas even though they are not mandatory.

Under current Plan B restrictions to tackle the spread of the coronavirus, blankets have become mandatory in most indoor public places.

“We ask people to behave responsibly”

However, under current government guidelines, there is a “reasonable excuse exemption” that allows people to remove face coverings in places of worship while singing if they choose.

Despite this, Deans of Cathedrals across the country are taking matters into their own hands and urging those entering their buildings to take extra precautions.

The Right Reverend Andrew Nunn, Dean of Southwark Cathedral, said he made no drastic changes to Christmas but insisted that singers continue to wear masks.

“We haven’t changed a lot of the things we’ve been doing throughout the year,” he said, but “we’ve cut back on the number we were planning to have for Christmas – it’s surprisingly a little more than in Durham [cathedral], since Southwark is smaller, so we’re going to have 400 people at church.

“We are not asking for passports or lateral flow tests, but we are asking people to distance themselves and behave responsibly towards their neighbor.”

Regarding asking people to continue singing while wearing masks, he admitted, “It’s difficult. “

“It’s particularly difficult when you feel like singing hymns, which requires singing out loud, but we got used to it because we’ve been singing behind masks since the song was reintroduced, so we didn’t take advantage. occasion to ask people to take off their masks – but that’s not the best. “

The Right Reverend Andrew Tremlett, Dean of Durham Cathedral, said every Church of England cathedral had to undergo a risk assessment, and for Durham Cathedral that means having only 350 people inside of the building.


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