The Presbyterian Church in Ireland has responded to the latest announcement by the Stormont Executive of tougher pandemic restrictions, expressing concern, regret and disappointment, while recognising the need for clear steps to prevent the continued spread of Covid-19.

Presbyterian Moderator, Rt Rev Dr David Bruce.
Presbyterian Moderator, Rt Rev Dr David Bruce.

Speaking on behalf of the denomination, the Moderator, Rt Rev Dr David Bruce, said, “As we come to terms with the implications of these new regulations, we are acutely mindful of the wide-ranging impact on retail, hospitality, leisure, sports and most other areas of community life, and how this materially affects the livelihoods and well-being of many in our community, including our church members. This is a major pastoral concern for us and our congregations. The suspension of public worship in churches for two weeks, introduced as part of this package of measures, is a cause of significant regret and concern to us.”

Dr Bruce spoke of the need to balance our essential liberty to worship, with the need for protection of the community and people’s livelihoods, from the devastating effects of this serious pandemic. The Moderator said "We have made the point that face-to face-gatherings for worship are essential for the spiritual well-being of people everywhere, and for the good of society."

The Moderator concluded by saying, “For the time being, while public worship may be suspended for these two weeks, the church is not closed. We will worship together using online and other media. We will pray for our people, our governments and our communities during these uncertain times. Our presence as salt and light in our communities will continue as we share the love of Christ and care for those around us.

“The Advent promise that Christ is coming to live among is unchanged, even if our customary celebrations may be curtailed in some measure this year.”

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