Diocese of Portsmouth

    Cathedral to re-open for private prayer

    12 June 2020

    OUR cathedral will open its doors for private prayer for the first time in nearly three months on Tuesday.

    Visitors will be welcome to visit the cathedral to pray, reflect and light a candle as our communities and nation begin to come to terms with our shared experience of Covid-19. It will be open daily between 11am and 2pm from Tuesday 16 June, and chaplains will be on duty whenever the cathedral is open to talk and offer support.

    The news comes after the government relaxed the restrictions that saw all church buildings closed in March to help keep people safe from the pandemic. The government announced last weekend (June 7) that churches could re-open for individuals to pray privately, as ministers recognised the importance of spiritual reflection in helping people to deal with the current crisis.

    The cathedral is taking a number of steps, in line with national guidance, to place safety at the heart of its plans. This includes social distancing for prayer inside the cathedral, thorough cleaning every day, and a team of staff and volunteers to welcome and ensure everyone’s safety. Staff will continually review the set up and make adjustments as needed.

    The Very Rev Dr Anthony Cane, Dean of Portsmouth, said: “I am absolutely delighted that we are now able to reopen the cathedral for private prayer. We are just beginning to emerge from what has been a really tough time for many, and this reopening offers the chance to express both grief and loss, as well as hope and thankfulness, in a safe and prayerful space. 

    “Throughout lockdown we have been working hard to support those in need, as well as offering three services a day online. We have also been making plans to reopen in the safest possible way, and with those measures now in place, we are pleased once again to be able to welcome people to our beautiful and peaceful building.”

    Although its doors have been closed, our cathedral staff have been working tirelessly to support local communities, including raising money for the Roberts Centre to help deprived families via VE Day 75 picnics, and hours of pastoral support to those in need. The cathedral has also been broadcasting three services a day, live from the homes of its ministers, to an ever-growing online worshipping community.

    Other churches around our diocese will re-open their doors for individual private prayer from June 15, or as soon as all relevant safety procedures are in place. The guidance gives churches permission to open, but does not require them to be open, especially if the safety of visitors cannot be guaranteed.

    Portsmouth Cathedral

    St Thomas's Street Old Portsmouth, PO1 2HH

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