Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has thanked Christian and other faith communities for all they have done to support the Covid-19 effort after a challenging year.
He paid a visit to St Paul’s Cathedral on Maundy Thursday to see first-hand how churches were preparing to hold Covid-secure Easter services.
Under current restrictions, churches are allowed to hold in-person services attended by as many people as space permits with social distancing in place.
St Paul’s is open for private prayer and services over Easter, with some services being livestreamed and others pre-recorded to watch from home.
Mr Jenrick was shown around St Paul’s by the Bishop of London, Dame Sarah Mullally, cathedral Dean the Very Reverend Dr David Ison, Precentor of St Paul’s the Reverend Canon James Milne, and Director of Visitor Engagement Sandra Lynes.
Commenting on his visit, Mr Jenrick said: “Places of worship provide so many of us with huge solace and comfort, especially during difficult times.
“That’s why we set up the Places of Worship Taskforce to work closely with faith leaders to re-open them safely and as soon as we could.
“I would like to pay tribute to these leaders, including the Bishop of London, Dame Sarah Mullally and the thousands of volunteers who supported them. Thanks to their efforts people have been able to come together to worship safely and mark important moments as well as supporting the bereaved, lonely and homeless throughout this past year.
“I’m pleased to have seen first-hand how congregations will be able to worship together safely here at St Paul’s this Easter.
“Ahead of the weekend, I am extending the warmest of wishes to those celebrating across the UK. I hope you have very happy, hopeful and safe Easter celebrations.”