Following today’s announcement (29 January 2021) of the easing of all restrictions from Monday, 1 February, we may now open churches and parish halls for all purposes from that same date.
As already indicated, Sunday worship may take place as normal from 7 February, with no restrictions on singing, receiving communion in both kinds, or any other aspect of worship, and with no requirement for physical distancing or wearing masks (although of course there may be individual personal preferences to be respected). If before Sunday you have a weekday service, on any day on or after 1 February, that too may take place. This means, for example, that we can keep Candlemas on Tuesday 2 February if that is our custom. Funerals and other occasional services may also go ahead as normal from Monday, 1 February.
‘The Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple’ says the prophet Malachi, and these words are repeated in the Responsorial Psalm for Candlemas (also known as the Presentation, and, in the Book of Common Prayer, as the Purification), the festival on 02 February which, exactly 40 days after Christmas, marks the end of the greater season of Christmas and Epiphany and turns our attention towards Lent and Holy Week and Easter. Let us give thanks to the Lord who calls us back into the holy place that is His Temple to meet with Him again in the life of prayer and worship and sacrament.