Churches in England to Decide Whether to Wear Face Masks or Not


Churches in England will be given the opportunity to decide if they would continue wearing face masks in their buildings. This was a result of the intention of the government to lift the COVID-19 restrictions on July 19th.

Hence, wearing of face masks will not be a legal necessity but a self-imposed order. However, this matter is causing a divide in churches across England as some Christians said that the mask is "a hindrance to fellowship." Meanwhile, others stated that it is too early to stop wearing them.

In response to questions from Premier, Graham Nicholls, the CEO of Affinity - the fellowship of churches, said churches and people should be free to decide whether or not they want to use face masks. It depends on the situation they find themselves. Consequently, he said that he does not agree with the statement that wearing or not wearing masks determine the level of Christianity of a person.

"What I don't think is that we should oblige people to wear masks when they're no longer mandatory. And particularly in a church setting where it's a hindrance to fellowship, we do a lot of non-verbal communication.

"And, for those fully sighted people, seeing other people is part of the joy of fellowship. So, I think to restrict that when there's not an obligation on us legally, to do that, and to play some kind of moral conscience issue to say, basically, 'you're not very loving if you don't wear a mask'. I think that is wrong," Nicholls said.

Besides, Nicholls is the lead pastor of Christ Church Haywards Heath. He has decided that from 25th July, he would not implement the use of face coverings in his church.

"We are going to give people freedom from Sunday week, to not wear masks, to be able to sing. But because it is obviously a nervous time, we're going to maintain some of the social distancing options, maintain the hygiene, maintain the really good ventilation. And so, we will work out a way towards being more 'huddled', as it were, in a slow way," he said.

In addition, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced that in all public transport in London, the use of masks will be obligatory. However, measures of social distancing will be lifted from on Monday.

The National Director of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches, John Stevens, said that there has been an existence in the divisions among Christians concerning COVID-19 laws. Hence, he admonished church leaders to concentrate on uniting the church. 

In conclusion, Stevens reminded church members of their responsibility to assist leaders as they make decisions that are quite challenging in this period. 

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