Suspension of In-Person Worship as the City of Glasgow moves to COVID-19 Level 4
The First Minister has now indicated that the City of Glasgow is to move into Level 4 in the COVID-19 Strategic Framework on Friday 20 November. This development affects every person and every organisation in the city and will last until at least 11 December.
Earlier this year, the Leadership Group of St Mary’s Cathedral (the Provost, the Vice Provost and the Church Wardens) asked a group of medical professionals from within the congregation to be prepared to be consulted about questions relating to how we deal with the COVID-19 Pandemic at St Mary’s. Before the First Minister made her decision about Level 4, the Leadership Group consulted this medical panel about steps St Mary’s should take if this should happen. The advice received from the panel was a clear recommendation that the only responsible response to this current local public health emergency was to suspend the in-person worship at St Mary’s during the time that the city is in Level 4 restrictions.
The reasons for this are:
- Removing the risk of virus transmission during services.
- Preventing those who might be tempted to attend even though they are outside the Glasgow City Council area.
- The total number who would be able to attend is 20. After subtracting those required to deliver the service (clergy, musicians, stewards, etc.), there would only be 10-12 places left.
- The considerable pressure on human resources of a situation where people cannot travel across a local authority boundary to volunteer to assist with worship.
For these reasons, regular in-person worship at St Mary’s is suspended for the time that the Level 4 regulations apply.
This announcement will no doubt be disappointing to many. However, we have learned how to close down, we have learned how to offer worship and many other church activities online, and we have learned how to open up again. Once the restrictions are lifted, the cathedral will re-open.
This is a time to encourage one another to keep within the COVID-19 regulations and not to try to find ways around them.
It is part of our vocation at St Mary’s to pray for the city in which we worship. At this time, we pray for the wellbeing of the city by practising our faith in different ways and, in particular, by worshipping at home rather than in our building.
St Mary’s Leadership Group
The Very Rev Kelvin Holdsworth, Provost
The Rev Canon Oliver Brewer-Lennon, Vice Provost
Franny Mawditt, People’s Warden
Prof Jim McKillop, Provost’s Warden