MP calls for churches to open doors on Easter Sunday

Jack Lopresti, MP for Filton and Bradley Stoke, has asked for churches to be open for prayer on Easter Sunday Credit: PA

An MP has questioned why churches will be forced to keep their doors closed on Easter Sunday while off-licences will be allowed to open.

Jack Lopresti, the Conservative representative for Filton and Bradley Stoke, wrote to the Government to ask them to reconsider allowing to open “for private prayer”.

However, his open letter to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has led to criticism, and one bishop said “God always does a door-to-door service”.

Mr Lopresti, first elected in 2010, wrote to Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick calling for a temporary relaxing of restrictions “allowing for people to attend church to engage in private prayer while observing social distancing”.

He wrote: “If the Government allows for me to go to an off-licence, a takeaway, or a local shop on Easter Sunday, providing I observe social distancing or take other necessary precautions, why can I not go to Church and say a prayer, providing I do the same?”

Many churches have adapted to the restrictions placed upon them by coronavirus by opting to go online, with the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby set to deliver his usual Easter sermon by video.

Replying to Mr Lopresti’s tweet, the Bishop of Chelmsford Stephen Cottrell said: “The thing is this: in order to buy food I have to go to the supermarket (unless I am fortunate enough to be able to get it delivered) but God always does a door-to-door service – from God’s heart straight to my heart, wherever I am.”