Faith leaders ‘excited’ to welcome back worshippers to services as restrictions ease

Mother Carol Barrett Ford with Imam Bodrul outside of St Martin's Church, Gospel Oak. Picture: Mother Carol Barrett Ford

Mother Carol Barrett Ford with Imam Bodrul outside of St Martin's Church, Gospel Oak. Picture: Mother Carol Barrett Ford - Credit: Archant

Religious leaders in north London are looking forward to the end of the national lockdown – and hoping to find innovative ways of celebrating this year’s festive season.

The Rev’d Timothy Miller of All Saints Church, Highgate, told this newspaper he was encouraged that the reversion to Tier 2 meant carol singing outside might be an option.

And in Gospel Oak, Mother Carol Barrett Ford from St Martin’s Church said she was delighted to be able to welcome worshippers back.

She told this newspaper: “Christians are called to come together, whenever safe and possible, especially on a Sunday to receive Holy Communion. It will be a joy to be together again and to renew our spiritual connection.”

READ MORE: Book tells of divided Jewish family’s journeys through 20th centuryMother Carol added that there had been a “steady stream” of parishioners coming into the church during the hour a day it has been open for solitary prayer.

Rev Miller said: “We are going to pick up in many ways where we left off and go back to a safe, distanced reality. There’s less movement on a Sunday, but the idea is to as much as we can so that as many people as we can feel comfortable at services.”

In Crouch End, Rabbi Sandra Kviat, who leads the local chavurah, said given their lack of a permanent building, the restrictions were still difficult, but she was pleased her she would be able to run some “rambles” outside with small groups to keep a feeling of togetherness.

She said: “One of things we can now do is go for a ramble. We have been able to do many community things online, and that’s been vital.”

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All three leaders felt the chance for communities to carefully meet was a welcome one.

And Mother Carol, who has been working hard to support community initiatives such as the Queen’s Crescent Community Centre’s food poverty work, added: “It’s a reminder that we are here to serve the community in faith, hope and love. We are excited to be working with our community partners to deliver some comfort and joy this Christmas.”

Community work at St Martin’s has also involved local youth charity Sir Hubert von Herkomer – with young people helping to create a mural to decorate hoardings outside of hoardings up during construction at the church.

Looking forward, the trio are looking at whether they will be able to hold adapted versions of festive staples around Christmas and Hanukkah.