Following the success of the vaccine role out, it’s time for churches to open up the doors and let the music play, says Sam Hailes, Editor of Premier Christianity magazine:
At the start of the pandemic I was asked whether I thought churches would comply with the restrictions being placed on them. “Yes, they will,” I said, “but not indefinitely.”
Most leaders have been willing to close their doors temporarily (when case numbers have surged), and require their congregants to wear face masks when attending services. Desperate times have indeed called for desperate measures. But as the pandemic peters out, the ongoing ban on Christians singing is provoking consternation from across the denominations. John Stevens from the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches has said its “disappointing to see government asserting restrictions are still necessary” while Dame Sarah Mullaly, the Bishop of London, has promised to challenge the government and “press for ongoing appraisal of choral and congregational singing”.
We recently considered the controversial question of whether Christians in the UK are persecuted. Personally I think ‘persecution’ is the wrong word. But I have some sympathy with those who consider the indefinite restriction on congregational singing a breach of our religious freedom. How else can you explain the fact that I could walk into a pub right now and sing my heart out, but I can’t do the same in my local church? Why can fans return to football stadiums and chant “Inger-Land, Inger-Land, Inger-Land”, but Christians cannot sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs?