A pastor in Wales has emphasised the importance of allowing church buildings to remain open for public worship as restrictions are lifted.
Dave Gobbett, who leads Highfields Church in Cardiff, co-wrote a letter to the Prime Minister challenging the recent decisions to close church buildings for public worship during the coronavirus pandemic.
The letter was signed by more than 1,700 church leaders who share Gobbett’s belief that it is wrong to ban Christians from meeting together to worship.
‘Hope, support and life’
Speaking to BBC Wales, Gobbett said: “The letter was a call to the Government to remember the spiritual aspect to life.
“If we believe that garden centres and pubs and off-licences, supermarkets, hospitals are essential services, then local churches are surely essential services.
“The risk of COVID isn’t the only threat that we face in our lives. The opportunity to gather publicly weekly and offer hope, support and life is the most important thing we can do.”
In the letter, Gobbett and others said: “Since restarting in July, church has been a vital lifeline to many who have been struggling with loneliness and other negative effects of lockdown.”
They added that there seems to be “a failure to understand that Christian worship is an essential public service.
“It is essential for the mental and spiritual health of millions of Christians. It is essential for providing the nation with the hope that Jesus Christ offers. And it is essential for the glory of God.”