Ripon Cathedral plans to re-open its doors and welcome people back into the building for private prayer and reflection from Monday with measures being put in place this week to ensure the safety of visitors and staff alike.
The Government announced on Saturday that all places of worship could open for supervised private prayer from June 15 in line with the latest government and public health social distancing guidelines.
It’s the start of the journey towards a full re-opening for the cathedral and will see a limit to the number of people allowed inside at any one time; a one-way system around the building; seating that allows social distancing and hand sanitisers at appropriate points.
Entry will be through the automatic doors at the west end only with welcomers on hand and signage to remind people about the continuing need for social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. A programme of continuous cleaning will also be taking place.
The cathedral will be open from 10am until 4pm Monday to Saturday and from noon until 4pm on Sundays. Printed and downloadable material will be available to help people with their devotions and there will be an opportunity to light a candle at various prayer stations.
Funerals are allowed to take place but other gatherings such as baptisms and weddings are not permitted. Acts of public worship will not be taking place at this stage.
The Dean of Ripon, the Very Rev John Dobson said: “Here at Ripon Cathedral we have been working towards a phased reopening; our primary concern is to give people an opportunity to pray in this ancient church, where prayers have been offered for over 1300 years, while ensuring the safety of everyone – our regular worshippers, visitors, clergy, staff, and volunteers.
“We look forward to welcoming back those who wish to light a candle, say a prayer or reflect on these unprecedented times, whilst at the same time doing our utmost to ensure the safety and well-being of all.”
Ripon Cathedral closed its doors on March 23. Since that time it has responded to the crisis in creative and innovative ways offering a wide range of support to the community – both practical and spiritual – online and off – and has seen a growing number of people seeking prayer and worship in these uncertain times.
It will continue to offer digital services and prayer resources and these can be found at www.riponcathedral.org.uk