The Church of Ireland has published protocols for a return to in-church worship to provide guidance to parishes – in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland – in relation to the reopening of places of worship that have been closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Returning to In-Church Worship Protocols document is now available in the Parish Resources section of the Church of Ireland website.
In a joint introduction, the Archbishop of Armagh, the Most Rev John McDowell, and the Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Rev Dr Michael Jackson, write: “Reopening churches for public worship is only possible if it can be done safely and by minimising the risk of spreading Covid-19. We strongly commend the implementation of these protocols.”
Nine stages for reopening church buildings are set out, starting with communicating with workers and parishioners prior to opening on a specific date. The protocols have been prepared by representatives from the House of Bishops, the Representative Body Executive Committee, and the staff of the Representative Church Body, the Church’s central trustee body.
At all times, churches must comply fully with all relevant current legislation in their respective jurisdiction, and follow the advice of health authorities, particularly in relation to social distancing, hand hygiene, and respiratory hygiene.