Dozens of Christian leaders sue Government over closure of churches during lockdown by Staff writer for Christian Today
Some 25 church leaders are suing the Government over the forced closure of churches during lockdown.
The Government announced last week that churches could re-open for services on 4 July, having already been allowed to open for private prayer for several weeks.
However, a coalition of church leaders says the announcement does not go far enough and that churches should never have been closed in the first place.
The group, who said the blanket closure of churches was unnecessary, is asking the High Court to protect the ancient liberties of the Church as guaranteed in Magna Carta.
Matthew Ashimolowo, Senior Pastor of Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC), one of the biggest churches in the UK, accused the Government of a “total lack of understanding” with regards to how churches function and their place in local communities.
“The ongoing approach to the church is not helping our communities who see the church not just as a place to go for personal prayers, but where their whole life revolves around,” he said.
“The church is led by responsible people who are well able to put all the necessary preventive measures in place to avoid the spread of the virus like all other organisations.
“We have already invested a lot in fogging machines, sanitisation tunnels and temperature detectors. We should not have been relegated to the back of the queue for reopening.”
John Quintanilla, the pastor of Hebron Christian Faith Church in Coventry, said: “For the first time in centuries, the government made it a criminal offence to go to church on a Sunday. We cannot let this go unchallenged. We need assurances this will not happen again.”
Other church leaders joining in the legal action include Christian Concern co-founder Rev Ade Omooba MBE, President of Eurovision Mission to Europe Dr David Hathaway, former Chaplain to the Queen Dr Gavin Ashenden, and President of Oxford Centre for Training, Research, Advocacy and Dialogue, Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali.