Presbytery opts to keep churches closed for the time being

The Duncansburgh MacIntosh Church in Fort William.

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Church buildings in Lochaber will remain closed during phase 2 of the Scottish Government’s easing of lockdown plan.

From Monday June 22, individuals or household groups across Scotland have been permitted to enter a place of worship to pray or take part in religious or spiritual contemplation on their own.

Praying as part of a wider group, taking part in scheduled communal acts of worship or prayer or attending pre-arranged gatherings within a place of worship is not yet allowed.

However, stringent guidelines laid out by the Church of Scotland have led many churches to take the decision to remain closed.

A statement from the Business Committee of Lochaber Presbytery last weekend said: ‘In our tradition prayer is not connected to particular places.

‘It can happen anywhere and at any time. No special places, objects or people are required.

‘We have therefore concluded that for the time being our buildings may remain closed, but the ears of heaven are open, so the life of the church, which is not restricted to buildings, continues as strongly as ever.’

Current CoS guidelines include ensuring those who enter buildings are required to wash or sanitise their hands, make use of face coverings, are reminded of the guidelines for those shielding or with underlying health issues, and directed to a seat at safe distance from others.

It also involves a rigorous and frequent cleaning to a high standard of any surface or object which may have been touched.

Details will be updated constantly on the Presbytery website; www.lochaber.presbytery.org.uk where you will also find details of opportunities for worship and other church activities.