We welcome the reopening of places of worship in England for individual prayer. It reflects recognition by the government of their importance for the nation’s spiritual well-being, alongside our health and our wealth.

The health and safety of our congregations has always been our priority but it allows people of faith access again to their cherished Churches, Mosques, Synagogues, Temples, Gurdwaras and other places of worship. Since lock down started, we have missed our places of worship, particularly during a busy period of religious festivals.

We understand that the re-opening has to be phased and gradual, as public health is paramount. Individual prayer is much more relevant to some faiths than others, for whom collective prayer is their mode of worship.

Whilst it will take much longer for places of worship to resume their place at the heart of community life, this is a positive first step. For communal prayer, we will need to think creatively about the use of outdoor spaces, but this is not a long-term solution.

As communities of faith, we will continue the work we’ve been doing together since the start of lock down to provide long-term solutions as we adjust to a new norm.