In light of the Covid lockdown roadmap, will churches in York be able to hold services for Easter?
The answer has already come from York Minster – a resounding yes. It is planning to reopen for worship from 14 March, albeit with restrictions.
With the roadmap set out by the prime minister, there is hope that more church services will be held in time for Easter.
But other places of worship don’t have the same space for social distancing as the Minster.
So there are discussions underway among church leaders and congregations on how and when in-person worship will return.
York Evangelical Church are planning to have a service on Easter Sunday (4 April) at Millthorpe School.
The service is planned to be a blend of the church congregation attending in-person in accordance with strict Covid-safe rules, and others joining via Zoom.
Church pastor Ed Hambleton said: “One of the things this lockdown has taught us is that gathering together, and meeting people is so beneficial for many reasons, not least in supporting positive mental health.
“Easter morning is a great time to reflect on that, but the message of Easter goes beyond just our mental health, it speaks to our physical and spiritual health too.”
A handful of churches in York are holding blended services (in-person and virtually), such as Trinity Church York and York Baptist Church.
However, most churches in the city hold their services virtually over Zoom, often live-streamed on Facebook or YouTube.
Ed Hambleton said: “Since the start of the pandemic we have held services via Zoom every Sunday morning and evening.
“On a few occasions, between lockdowns, we have held blended services in order to include those people who are shielding or not able to meet with us for any other reason.
“As the lockdown eases, we are excited to return to the normality of physical gatherings and hope that within a few months we will be able all meet together in one space as soon as it is safe to do so.”
Find out more on the York Evangelical Church website.