‘We are praying at this challenging time’ - Norwich cathedral closes for coronavirus lockdown

Norwich cathedral. Picture: Karl Keeley

Norwich cathedral. Picture: Karl Keeley - Credit: Karl Keeley

Norwich Cathedral has closed after the prime minister ordered people to stay in their homes in the fight against coronavirus.

The Rt Rev Graham Usher, the Bishop of Norwich, with the Dean of Norwich, the Very Rev Jane Hedges,

The Rt Rev Graham Usher, the Bishop of Norwich, with the Dean of Norwich, the Very Rev Jane Hedges, after his enthronement service in 2019. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019

But despite the historic landmark not being open for worship or reflection, along with all other religious buildings across the country, people are being encouraged to send in their prayers to the cathedral through email.

A notice put up outside the building said: “We regret that the cathedral is closed until further notice. Although the cathedral is closed and public worship is suspended, the dean and chapter will, in safe ways, continue their rhythm of daily prayer.

“Please know that we at the cathedral are praying for this city, our country and our world at this challenging time.

“If you have particular concerns you would like us to remember in our prayers please send them to prayers@catherdal.org.uk. To speak to a member of the cathedral clergy call 01603 218300. Stay safe, be kind and hold onto hope.”

MORE: Churches using social media to carry on worship during coronavirus outbreakThe Very Rev Jane Hedges, Dean of Norwich, said: “We hoped to keep the cathedral open but we have to be on board with government advice. We must discourage people from coming to the cathedral.

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“The overriding message is we are here praying for you. We are still safely going into the cathedral two of us at a time to say prayers in the morning and evening. To say prayers can be a comfort to people. We will keep doing that for as long as we are allowed to.”

She added that the cathedral team were sending out religious resources to cathedral worshippers and said anyone could send in a prayer through email, whether they are religious or not.

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The dean said: “We are doing everything we can to support the government initiative in caring for people who are vulnerable including dropping off shopping.”

After the prime minister’s historic announcement on March 23 telling people across Britain to stay in lockdown, the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham Usher, said on Twitter: “I request that our church buildings in the Diocese of Norwich are not opened in the morning. Please be assured of my prayers.”

He also endorsed the Archbishop of Canterbury’s message on behalf of Church of England Bishops urging people to follow Boris Johnson’s instructions.

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