Opening the churches
Updated: Jun 26
This blog article will be updated as new information comes in.
The last update, 26 June, added further information about churches open for private prayer.
The Government has announced that places of worship may open for private prayer from Monday 15 June. The current permission is for private, individual prayer only.
No collective worship is permitted at this time. Minister of State Lord Greenhalgh has made it clear that collective worship will not be permitted before 4 July at the earliest.
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales has published guidance on re-opening churches for private prayer. It is not just a case of unlocking the church door! The coronavirus is still present in the community and we all have a responsibility to do everything we can to avoid transmitting the virus.
Fr Alistair has made this statement about the two churches of our parishes:
You will, doubtless, be aware of the announcement by H.M. Government that following a change to the “Lock-down” regulations, ‘places of worship may, as from Monday 15 June, open for individual prayer in line with social distancing guidelines’.
I asked the members of the Parish Pastoral Team to consider and discuss whether or not we should open our two church buildings, St Theresa of Lisieux in Southwick and St George in West Blatchington / Hangleton, in the light of this change to the regulations. To consider the matter, the members of the Pastoral Team divided into two groups according to where each individual usually attends Mass.
Both groups have now “met” and given me their conclusions; both decisions were unanimous.
Neither of our two church buildings will be re-opening at this time.
The Government’s guidance makes it clear that ‘[p]laces of worship … have discretion over when they consider it safe to open and may decide to remain closed or reopen at a slower pace if they wish’. I am grateful to the members of the Pastoral Team for being prepared to exercise that discretion as it applies to our combined parishes.
Underlying the decision that has been reached are the words of Cardinal Nichols himself, ‘… we have to be patient and we have to cooperate with public authorities on these public health issues. That’s a grave responsibility that we have’. On your behalf, I would like to express my gratitude to the members of the Pastoral Team for taking on this particular responsibility, and also to thank them for their on-going support to me as your Parish Priest.
Some of you, perhaps, may be disappointed with our decision. There will be church buildings, both Catholic and of other denominations, in our immediate vicinities that will choose to open for personal, private prayer. We will publicise the relevant information for both our Deanery and our localities. There is also an opportunity for ecumenical engagement at a local level. While many of you may prefer to pray in the presence of the reserved Sacrament in the tabernacle; others of you may be pleased for the opportunity to pray privately in a church of another denomination which may perhaps be closer to where you live.
With this decision made, the Pastoral Team continues to work towards, and plan for the time when our church buildings re-open for all of us to come together once more as the gathered Body of Christ to celebrate Mass.
Please know that you all remain in my prayers and, I’m sure, in the prayers of the Pastoral Team. I would invite you to keep the members of the Pastoral Team in your own prayers as they may well be called upon to make other difficult decisions in the future as we being to discern what exactly the “new normal” will look like for our parish communities.
Churches known to be opening for private prayer
St Peter’s RC Church (Portland Road, Hove): two periods each day: from noon – 2pm and from 6 - 7pm.
Sacred Heart RC Church (Norton Road, Hove): Monday and Tuesday 11am - noon, Thursday 10 am - 11 am, subject to sufficient stewards. Enter via the rear door from Hova Villas. More information in their newsletter.
St Peter's West Blatchington (Anglican Church, corner of Hangleton Road/Court Farm Road/Holmes Avenue): Sundays 4pm - 5pm; Wednesdays 10am - 11am.
Bishop Hannington Church (Anglican church, corner of Nevill Avenue and Holmes Avenue) Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 11am and 12 noon. Please note that the church asks you to book a half-hour slot via their website.
St Helen's Church (Anglican Church, St Helen's Green, Hangleton): from 22 June between 8:30am and 5pm daily. Please see their guidelines about visiting the church.
St Nicolas Church (Anglican Church, South Street, Portslade) between 10am and 4pm each Tuesday and Saturday.
The Church of the Good Shepherd (Anglican Church, Stanley Avenue, Mile Oak) from 10am until 4pm each Monday and Thursday.
St Michael and All Angels Church (Anglican Church, Church Lane, Southwick): daily between 10 am and 4pm from 15 - 28 June (then closed to allow work to take place). Please see their guidelines about visiting the church for private prayer.
St Peter's RC Church (West Street, Shoreham) Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays 11am - 12 noon; Thursdays 7pm-8pm; Sundays 12 noon - 1pm.
The Church of the Good Shepherd (Anglican Church, Shoreham Beach) between 9am and 6pm, Tuesday to Sunday.