Allow Sunday Church Gatherings to resume

Allow Christian Churches to physically gather again in their buildings on Sunday's. This idea would also hold true for other religious groups. The size of the gathering could be restricted to a third of the maximum seating capacity to allow proper social distancing to be maintained during this time of continued concern about the spread of coronavirus. This would allow proper spacing between seats or along pews. Online recordings of the services can continue to be provided to those who need to be shielded (as is currently being done by most churches as a response to this time of lockdown).

Why the contribution is important

Restoring church gatherings has a positive role in helping Scotland move forward at this time of Coronavirus infection. It would help people to rebuild community at a time where prolonged social isolation can cause many problems. It will also reduce anxiety and strengthen people to overcome fear. I believe that churches can be a good model of how some normal social interaction can resume while staying safe.

by plrees on May 05, 2020 at 05:40PM

Current Rating

Average rating: 3.7
Based on: 103 votes


  • Posted by HMW1956 May 05, 2020 at 17:49

    Allow half the capacity of the church to attend at any one time with social distancing of at least 1 metre. No singing but the Minister to relay the word of the Lord by readings and sermons from the Bible.
  • Posted by Unwinp May 05, 2020 at 18:31

    This is a very helpful and workable suggestion. Churches have historically led the way in plagues and times of disease, and Christians do not fear death. They are committed to showing loving care which protects others, but offers hope. Other countries have seen that church gatherings can be of great help to wider society. So should we, and surely they will.
  • Posted by DL49 May 05, 2020 at 19:03

    There is no reason to view church services any differently from any other gathering.
  • Posted by HelenO May 05, 2020 at 19:07

    This is a very good suggestion. Our church already had contingency plans for holding two or three short services on a Sunday morning to accommodate everyone. You had to choose a time to attend and stick to it. Worship songs can be played on screens instead of singing to cut down on potential transmission rates. Sanitizer provided at church die on entry and congregating spaced out.
  • Posted by Jamman4 May 05, 2020 at 20:30

    Allow churches to initially gather on a Sunday only. No mid-week or other gatherings. Hand washing or sanitizer on entry and exit. Social distancing observed. Hymn books and Bibles removed. Services can be recorded for those in vulnerable categories.
  • Posted by CBCpastor May 05, 2020 at 21:04

    There is great wisdom in this. The Church can set a model for good and appropriate operational practice, be there for those who are anxious and afraid; and extend its existing role which for many has been at the forefront of serving the vulnerable in the midst of the crisis, in the ongoing work of rebuilding our communities.
  • Posted by triumphherald May 05, 2020 at 21:37

    Re-opening churches with restrictions on numbers attending and with hand washing etc in place would not be high risk. The way services are conducted is surely a matter for church members, not for the government to lay down.
  • Posted by Bethan May 05, 2020 at 22:00

    Allowing outdoor gatherings with social distancing between household groups may be more feasible initially?The church could still hold a usual service outdoors with singing etc. Smaller groups eg Bible study groups could also possibly start up as restrictions ease?
  • Posted by Ghost11A May 05, 2020 at 22:16

    Given the ageing population of those attending church, surely this potentially puts most vulnerable people in this pandemic in more danger.
  • Posted by MacLennan1968 May 05, 2020 at 22:49

    Re-opening churches should be done with restrictions on numbers. People would be advised to space out throughout the church. Faith has been very important to many during this crisis.
  • Posted by Rainbowbright May 06, 2020 at 08:41

    Not yet. I miss church but we are too close and there are too many elderly people.. most churches are utilising modern technology to worship. This has to continue for now unfortuntley
  • Posted by CarlaMSteele1990 May 06, 2020 at 09:53

    The majority of churches in Scotland have huge buildings with a capacity far greater than the actual number of people who regularly attend. For most congregations, opening the building with 1/2 or even 1/3 capacity is a sensible and practical solution. Elderly or vulnerable could be advised to stay at home for now, but others could meet at a safe distance.
  • Posted by egkrateia May 06, 2020 at 18:47

    This is important. These suggestions are workable now.
  • Posted by Gillon May 06, 2020 at 20:15

    I sadly have to disagree with this, I do understand the importance both spiritually and socially religious services have for people especially our older population however social distancing is next to impossible inside religious buildings of all faiths and these could become a hotbed for soaring infections within communities
  • Posted by KaSh May 07, 2020 at 08:48

    Churches can practice social distancing within their buildings. People need to encouragement for their mental, and spiritual well being. Worship should be a priority to allow. Perhaps even gatherings outside could be permitted.
  • Posted by tringy May 07, 2020 at 14:46

    with elderly and vulnerable staying away whilst others meet with social distancing, further isolates and excludes these people and takes the ministers focus away from ministering to his whole congregation to ministering to those who do physically come and the procedures that will need to be put in place for that, instead of focusing on finding a way in which all the members can worship
  • Posted by rosewifie May 07, 2020 at 14:56

    Definitely a good idea. Not all churches are only populated by vulnerable elderly! And we are all adult, can choose to wait if in that category. Meeting, speaking and worshipping together -even if not touching - could literally save some lives.
  • Posted by randomchaos May 07, 2020 at 15:11

    Surely, there is no greater risk of infection going to a church service than there is going to the shops? When we go to Tesco or Asda, we're handling products that several others have touched, and we're in close proximity to many people. I would argue that church would be much safer than this. Church attendance is vital to the spiritual well-being of Scotland. I realise it's not for everyone, but there are many people of faith who would welcome the return of traditional services.
  • Posted by fjbathgate97 May 07, 2020 at 15:42

    As much as I want to return as church as soon as possible, I don't know this is the time to lift restrictions. I think we should wait a little while longer (2-3 weeks) and then start thinking about opening churches. For this we could keep the elderly, the sick and the vulnerable at home and provide a live-stream or those who can't make it. The churches could be filled with a third capacity with hands being washed when entering the building. Every second or third row can be cordoned off and at least 2 metres gap between each seat per row. Bibles, communion and hymn books would not be allowed to be shared unfortunately as this risks spread. I think this could work but I think we should wait a few weeks and see if the daily death toll decreases in that time.
  • Posted by KRMR May 07, 2020 at 15:49

    Church is more than a hobby for Christians- it is a key part to our belief which shapes our lives. Social distancing would be possibly in many church buildings- obviously with reduced occupancy. Quite a few churches offer morning and evening services, this could maybe be used to allow more people to get along to church, with less people being in the building at once. As many churches as doing, services could continue to be recorded to allow those individuals at risk to watch from home. Obviously it would not be the normal church we are all used to, but the church community is key to our faith so I think different, possibly limited, church is far better than only virtual.
  • Posted by WilfredLawrieNicholasJohnson May 07, 2020 at 16:35

    The majority of church attendees would fall withing the high risk category due to their age. A virus could spread very quickly in this environment. Does not seem like a good idea.
  • Posted by JKmin May 07, 2020 at 17:33

    I don't think this is the time to lift the restrictions on church gatherings. It may sound straightforward to adopt social distancing and sanitising, but in practice it would prove to be very difficult. People are generally not good at remembering to socially distance in social settings, and it would be particularly challenging for children who are used to playing with, and speaking to friends at church. The policing of arrivals and departures would be particularly difficult and would pose significant risk of infection. While we might consider beginning small services again, say in July, for a limited number to facilitate social distancing, it would not be safe or appropriate for the over 70s, or those who are shielding, to take part in these services until a vaccine is found or the pandemic runs its course. However, many elderly churchgoers consider it a duty to attend worship, and would feel pressure to come to church, even if they were advised not too.
  • Posted by ChristianBeliever May 07, 2020 at 17:38

    Our church has no one over the age of 65. We can practice social distancing, if necessary going to two services. We can restrict singing, collections, etc. We are at more risk going to the shops for food than we would be in the church.
  • Posted by Dnl49 May 07, 2020 at 18:47

    This is a good suggestion which can be safely implemented with appropriate measures being taken to ensure compliance with the requirement for social distancing.
  • Posted by sarah_s May 08, 2020 at 01:00

    This is a good response to the gradual lifting of restrictions, where it's practicable in a church building.
  • Posted by dblair May 08, 2020 at 11:09

    As in Germany, unfortunately singing would need to be prohibited as it projects water droplets into the air and is a specific pathway for coronavirus transmission
  • Posted by Msmith May 09, 2020 at 20:33

    The topic of reopening places of worship needs to be added to the next version and all future versions of the Coronavirus Framework for Decision Making. We now have two 27-page documents with no mention of religion, faith or worship whatsoever. Places of worship should be reopened for services where the congregation can be physically distanced. The comments here and in other ideas about reopening churches have shown that those who manage congregations are more than capable of responsibly implementing physical distancing. It would be very much appreciated if the government put places of worship on its agenda after its direction that they should be closed at the start of the lockdown, just as it has with other aspects of life.
  • Posted by kpm321 May 10, 2020 at 17:01

    I agree. Our church are all under 60 years of age, and restricting the numbers to a third of capacity for our building would keeps everyone far apart, as is already done in supermarkets.
  • Posted by Dbarbosa May 10, 2020 at 21:23

    I also strongly believe that churches should be open. I don't think it is ok to just simply say that the people that attend church are in the vulnerable group... I attend church and I am 30 years old..... most of our congregation is not at the high risk group ...People who are shielding can continue to do so but churches should be open for all other people to attend. There is plenty of space for us to social distance. I believe that many people are struggling emotionally and mentally and Faith can help them through this time as it provides comfort! Even if it is done by allowing a smaller number of people at a time I believe that we should not be denyed by the government our right to express ourselves and to practice our faith in this time when it is most needed. Please open up churches so people can pray and find comfort in practicing thei faith collectively.
  • Posted by abby17 May 11, 2020 at 16:54

    I think Church is really important and being able to meet physically is a huge part of this. Even if we started with small groups it would be really beneficial.
  • Posted by waxwing May 11, 2020 at 16:56

    Yes, definitely. Social distancing would be easy to maintain in most church buildings.
  • Posted by Bethany18 May 11, 2020 at 17:06

    Really important step forward - in times like these people need the community and unity in places of worship and need to be able to build and replenish their faith
  • Posted by AC May 11, 2020 at 18:02

    Much as I would like to return to meeting together as a church in person, I believe that this proposal from the pastor of Charlotte Chapel is very premature. A member of the Charlotte Chapel congregation was recently in hospital for a lengthy period with Covid-19 so I am not sure why Rev. P Rees thinks this is a good idea at this time. Online services are working well and the church does not need to gather physically in the building to be church during this time of risk. Over the centuries since Jesus Christ walked the earth, there have been many periods when meeting in large groups has been impossible, sometimes through times of war or plague, sometimes due to persecution (even from governments), yet Christians and the Church they are part of, have continued to thrive. In the USA and elsewhere there’re have been examples of what happens when churches carry on meeting despite the Covid risks - church members and indeed pastors have died as a result. Whether we are young or old (churches have a broad demographic), let’s be patient, trust God, and wait for the right time. Let’s also in the meantime be supportive and respectful of Scottish and UK governments, and do everything we can to practically help those in need.
  • Posted by marthamax May 11, 2020 at 19:13

    I am a faithful church goer, but now is not the time. There is an abundance of church services accessible online now, so I am enjoying my own church as well as visiting some faraway churches via youtube, facebook live, and zoom.
  • Posted by Bek2020 May 11, 2020 at 21:08

    Church's returning in a socially distant fashion is definitely workable! It is definitely possibly to have everyone 2m apart and as it is social distancing that keeps people safe, this will make sure that no one is at risk.
  • Posted by IMcK May 11, 2020 at 21:08

    I cannot imagine any gathering on this scale being successful when it comes to maintaining distance between everyone involved, never mind the difficulties of commonly touched surfaces etc. I definitely don't think we should single out religious gatherings.
  • Posted by Hannah May 11, 2020 at 21:19

    Yes, I think this is very important. Church is a place where people can connect and find a refuge, there are people at home alone who don’t have anyone to talk to and need somewhere to feel at peace and safe. Many people are struggling with mental health right now, and church is a place where they would see people and be supported. I’m thirteen years old and I know people who have been struggling with mental health in the past and have found friends and support in church groups. Church is important to many people and it wouldn’t be too difficult to have social distancing in churches and keep safe.
  • Posted by Brett May 11, 2020 at 21:49

    A restriction on numbers entering a place of worship combined with increased hygiene and social distancing should make this something that can happen in the near future. The principle of caring for others and ensuring safe practices should be applied here. Each place of worship has a duty of care for their congregation and the wider community. As long as that is understood and acted upon then there is no reason that gatherings couldn't take place in the near future. Until then celebrating the efforts already made by groups to come together in new ways should be applauded.
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