Scottish churches hold first Sunday services since March

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Numbers are limited to 50 people for communal services and singing and chanting will be restricted

Sunday church services are taking place in Scotland for the first time since the lockdown began in March.

Places of worship were allowed to open for communal prayer and services on Wednesday as the Scottish government eased more lockdown restrictions.

However, numbers will be limited to 50, singing and chanting will be restricted and those attending will be asked for their contact details.

Separate rules are still in place for marriage ceremonies and funerals.

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Many places of worship have been live streaming services for the last few months.

The Scottish government said its new guidance was not an “instruction” to reopen places of worship, adding: “Each place of worship should make its own decision about when it is ready to do this and should only reopen if this can be done safely.”

The Church of Scotland said it would be “some time” before all its buildings were open for worship. The church is also encouraging all congregation members to wear face masks.

The President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, Bishop Hugh Gilbert said Catholic parishes would be resuming the celebration of Mass with “infection control protocols” in place.

“Over the past month, our parishes have been preparing for the safe resumption of communal prayer and the celebration of Mass, which is at the centre of the life of the church,” he said.

“To have been unable to attend Mass for many months has been a source of real sadness for Scotland’s Catholics and I am sure there will be great joy at the prospect of returning.”

The Scottish Episcopal Church has also been opening its buildings for communal worship after the restrictions were eased.

In a video address to worshipers, the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Right Reverend Mark Strange, said he wanted to address the concerns and anxieties of those coming to church.

“Some things will be different but ultimately we’re there for the same reason we always have been – to give worship and praise to God,” he said.

BBC News