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Archbishop celebrates as churches reopen for public worship

Archbishop Michael Jackson celebrated Holy Communion in Christ Church Taney yesterday (Monday 29 June 2020) to mark the first day that churches could reopen for public worship after lockdown. For the first time in 15 weeks the Rector, Canon Robert Warren, and the Curate, the Revd Nigel Pierpoint, welcomed a congregation into the church.

Canon Robert Warren, Archbishop Michael Jackson and the Revd Nigel Pierpoint in Christ Church Taney on St Peter's Day 2020.
Canon Robert Warren, Archbishop Michael Jackson and the Revd Nigel Pierpoint in Christ Church Taney on St Peter's Day 2020.

The congregation included members of the vestry along with representatives of the diocesan office among others. With hand sanitiser, contact tracing and assigned seating in place, the congregation got a flavour of how services would take place for the foreseeable future. During the service there were prayers for Irish society as it emerges from lockdown and for the newly formed Government as well as for churches and parishes as they prepare to welcome back worshipers.

In his sermon, on St Peter’s Day, the Archbishop looked at questions of identity drawing on the reading from St Matthew 16. 13: ‘When Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’

He asked: “So, what of our identity today on St Peter’s Day 2020? I say first of all that we may be among the first people in The Church of Ireland to make as full use as we can of the State provision for opening of church buildings for public worship”.

“I say secondly that we have come together to honour the Messiah, the Son of the living God in the way in which St Peter grasped it. It is for such honouring and such worshipping that we are so pleased that our church buildings may be open again for their true and their primary purpose. It is for all of us to use this opportunity. It is for all of us to build once more the practice and the habit of worship. It is our duty and our delight not to let the required restrictions of social distancing, of hand washing and of hygiene impede our worship insofar as we can manage this but to use them well as restrictions are lifting. But, at the same time, we need to be thoroughly responsible. I repeat what I have said to the people of this diocese from the outset of this pandemic: our Christian discipleship and our civic duty come together in this time,” Archbishop Jackson said.

The service can be played back in the video below