N.I Suspension of In-Person Services & Activities Extended

In light of the clear, unequivocal and continuing public health advice that people should stay at home and the Northern Ireland Executive’s unanimous decision to extend the Covid-19 restrictions, the Methodist Church in Ireland has made the decision that the current suspension of all in church gatherings should continue.

Yesterday afternoon the Northern Ireland Executive took the unanimous decision to extend the current Covid-19 restrictions until Friday 5th March 2021. This decision was based on the strong recommendation of the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Scientific Advisor, as a result of the continued extremely high level of transmission of the Covid-19 virus throughout the community, along with the increasing numbers in hospital and intensive care. 

In the light of this decision, and on the basis of the clear and unequivocal public health advice that people should continue to stay at home, the Methodist Church in Ireland has directed that all in person Sunday gatherings for worship, along with all other in person church gatherings, will remain suspended in all Methodist congregations in Northern Ireland until  Friday 5th March 2021 – with the exception of weddings, funerals, arrangements for recording and/or live-streaming, drive-in services and private prayer (as permitted by regulations).  We welcome the fact that this same step is also being taken today by the Church of Ireland, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland and the Roman Catholic Church.

While we acknowledge that there is both cost and disappointment in this for many, we see this decision as part of our response to the command of Jesus to love our neighbours. We continue to encourage as many people as possible to stay at home for the sake of health, life and the Common Good.

The Secretary of Conference, Rev Dr Heather Morris noted “Despite being unable to gather, the life of the church continues through online worship, prayer and Bible Study and through the support which the churches continue to offer to those most deeply affected by this crisis.”

Ultimately, as followers of Jesus, we are people of hope. As we journey through these dark and difficult days, we live in that hope, looking to the light that we find in Jesus.

Rev Dr Heather Morris
Secretary of the Conference