Masked worshippers watch on as Archbishop of Canterbury leads service
Masked worshippers watch on as the Archbishop of Canterbury leads Christmas Day service to a socially-distanced congregation before he talks of ‘year of anxiety’ in festive message
- Justin Welby is expected to refer to a ‘year of anxiety’ in his Christmas message
- The Archbishop of Canterbury arrived at Canterbury Cathedral for a service
- He wore a black and polka dot face mask as he headed into the cathedral
- Will speak about coronavirus turning a cough into a ‘genuine threat’ this year
Masked worshippers watched on today as the Archbishop of Canterbury lead the Christmas Day service in front of a socially-distanced congregation.
Justin Welby is expected to refer to a ‘year of anxiety’ in his Christmas message, after coronavirus turned a cough into a ‘genuine threat’.
It comes after Cardinal Vincent Nichols talked of a ‘quiet heroism’ at Midnight Mass at Westminster Cathedral.
The Archbishop of Canterbury arrived at the festive service this morning at Canterbury Cathedral in a black and polka dot face covering.
Justin Welby (pictured) is expected to refer to a ‘year of anxiety’ in his Christmas message, after coronavirus turned a cough into a ‘genuine threat’
A masked and socially-distanced congregation watched on as the Archbishop of Canterbury led the Christmas Day service this morning
During his Christmas message he will ask Christians to resist the temptation to view the virus as a kind of ‘before and after’ in their lives.
Communal acts of worship are allowed in the UK, despite much of the country going into Tier 4 this week.
Last night midnight mass was held online-only at Westminster Cathedral. In his sermon, Cardinal Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, said: ‘In the darkness of this pandemic so many of our comfortable assumptions are being shaken.
‘Here we are, celebrating Christmas, yet deprived of the greetings, hugs, kisses and handshakes that normally fill this day.’
He said acts of kindness had ‘penetrated the darkness’ and praised ‘random kindness, quiet heroism’ and ‘remarkable community efforts’.
During his Christmas message he will ask Christians to resist the temptation to view the virus as a kind of ‘before and after’ in their lives. Pictured wearing protective gloves before communion
On Sunday, Mr Welby urged the elderly to be ‘sensible’ and not to feel there is a ‘compulsion’ to attend church services.
He said people should instead try to ‘get out, get some fresh air’ and to ‘look at something on the television’, focusing on what they can do, rather than on what they cannot.
Mr Welby was asked on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show what his advice would be to an 80-year-old who wants to go to church on Christmas Day.
He replied: ‘I would say that you know much better than I do what you should do.
‘Don’t feel under compulsion, do what is sensible.
The Dean of Canterbury Cathedral, the very Revd Robert Willis, distributes communion to worshippers during the Christmas Day service
The Archbishop of Canterbury arrived at the festive service this morning at Canterbury Cathedral in a black and polka dot face covering
Mr Welby wore a blue surgical face mask as he distributed incense during the service
‘My mother who is in her nineties will not go to church, I am sure, because it is too dangerous.
‘There are clergy who have underlying health conditions who will not go to church.
‘I will be in church, God willing, and for your 80-year-old I would say get out, get some fresh air if you can, if you are fit enough to walk.
‘But talk to people, look at something on the television. Ring up the hope line, you can find out the number for that, which is services and prayers and carols especially and talks for Christmas.
‘Do what you can, not what you can’t.’
When it was suggested to Mr Welby that if people do go to church they should stay away from the choir, he said: ‘The choir always make me keep away from them because my voice is so bad.
‘But yes, keep away from the choir and above all, to quote the Dean of Canterbury, don’t mingle after the service, wave happily to people and go.’
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