For the first time since March 2020, physical distancing ends although face masks remain.“This is a time to celebrate, as we worship God together”, the Evangelical Alliance says.
Churches in Scotland have been able to hold worship services with unlimited numbers of people for a week now.
For the first time since March 2020, they are no longer required by law to observe physical distancing measures at worship services, but for now, face coverings and the collection of contact details for Test and Protect will remain.
The high uptake of the COVID-19 vaccination in Scotland (93% of the population aged over 40 have now had both doses) and the continuing fall in case numbers and test positivity rates, have led to this big change.
Unlike England, only those leading congregational singing are not required to wear masks. Congregational singing, behind face coverings, has been allowed in church services across Scotland since 19 July.
According to the Evangelical Alliance Scotland, “a significant degree of normality” has returned “for the first time in 17 months”.
“The changes will allow churches the freedom to decide how to welcome back full congregations for worship services and gather together fully as a community of worshippers”, they add.
The Alliance “recognises that with the easing of restrictions comes both challenges and opportunities as churches move forward. Each church knows better than anyone else its congregation, building and where the ongoing risks might be”.
They urge believers to “show our church leadership teams grace as they navigate these new freedoms and what they will mean for their various ministries. [...] As church members, we can focus on what we can do to love our leaders and one another well in the sacrifices we continue to make”.
“This is absolutely a time to celebrate. We have longed for the day when we can be back together as one church congregation. Even behind face coverings, our Sundays will become ever-more joyful as we worship God together, not as individual households, but as one body”.