Helston's parish church has taken the decision to close until lockdown restrictions ease.

Although places of worship are legally allowed to remain open under the rules of this third lockdown, the clergy at St Michael's Church have decided to close its doors to the public for the coming weeks to all services except funerals.

Announcing the decision in an email to members of the congregation, Canon David Miller and Rev Christine Schmaus wrote: "Many of you will have realised after Monday evening's government announcement of a new national lockdown, that places of worship are not legally obliged to close this time.

"There have, however, been many questions raised whether continuing to meet as a group is a safe and responsible thing to do in the face of a new, more transmissible strain of the virus – not least by some of the volunteers who currently carry a great load of responsibility for our health and safety measures, many of whom are classified as vulnerable themselves."


They said that the Wendron church congregation had already asked for their church to close for public worship for the time being at their service last Sunday, and after consultation between the churchwardens, the clergy team and the archdeacon, the churches in the West Kerrier benefice have made the same decision, as had virtually all other churches across the deanery.

They said that almost every parochial church council member at Helston had now responded to the same question, including those members not online. "The clergy team propose that we suspend worship – apart from funerals – at St Michael's Church with immediate effect and continue to review this decision over the coming weeks. An overwhelming majority of those who have replied are in agreement with this proposal," the added.

Summing up the feelings of the whole clergy team at St Michael's, Rev Kirsten Richards wrote: "I agree the Church should be a beacon of hope in a crisis – but does that mean the ‘building’ per se or is it more about us as people being the body and light of Christ in our communities in which we live and serve?

"This is not by any means forever and we will keep reviewing it – I would just like everyone to get to Easter safely!"

The clergy said they also wanted to take into account that many of those helping maintain the Sunday services with in a higher risk category.

The church will continue to offer full weekly online services as it has been for the last nine months, and the clergy will prioritise telephoning those who don’t have online access.