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Greater Manchester Faith Community Leaders Announcement

First published on: 27th November 2020

The right to pray together in a crisis

Places of worship are essential. Acts of communal worship should be allowed in them in any future Lockdown or tiered system of restrictions.

We recognise that the current national measures are a matter of public health. They are to promote the flourishing, well-being and protection of the population.

We believe that Places of Worship play a positive and fundamental role in this strategy. We provide food-banks and communal support for people who are clinically vulnerable, socially isolated or in any form of need. But we also observe regular acts of worship, according to current guidelines for physical distancing and hygiene. These contribute positively to the mental, spiritual and emotional health of those who take part, whilst not endangering their physical health in any way that can be measured.

Acts of communal worship, especially for people within our communities, are an essential part of our identity. The Freedom and Practice of Religion is recognised, in the UK and across the globe, as a core Human Right. It says so in our Equalities legislation. It cannot simply be put alongside any “right” to shop, to eat out, or to attend a leisure facility, healthy though these are. Places and acts of worship should not be reckoned alongside non-essential shops, gyms or other indoor meeting-places. They are altogether different – and provide people with the energy, hope and inspiration they need to keep going, especially in these dark and challenging times.

The nation’s health is enhanced, not threatened, by acts of religious worship. As the Government plans ahead, we look forward to seeing them included and promoted, not suspended and forbidden. Please respect what they mean and what they are for those who take part in them.


Christian (Presidents of Greater Manchester Churches Together who live within Greater Manchester)
From the Church of England:
Rt Revd Dr David Walker (Bishop of Manchester)
Rt Revd Mark Ashcroft (Bishop of Bolton)
Rt Revd Mark Davies (Bishop of Middleton)
Very Revd Rogers Govender (Dean of Manchester)

From the Catholic Church of England and Wales:
Bishop John Arnold (Bishop of Salford)
From the Salvation Army
Major David Taylor (Divisional Leader, Central North)

From the Apostolic Pastoral Congress
Archbishop Dr Doyé Teido Agama, Presiding Prelate and Executive Director, Apostolic Pastoral Congress, and Senior Pastor, Christian Way of Life Churches
Bishop Dr. Theophilus Akano, Bishop of North Manchester, Apostolic Pastoral Congress; Principal of Rhema Theological College UK and Presiding Bishop Christhouse Bible Church UK
Bishop Clive Whittle, Bishop of South Manchester, Apostolic Pastoral Congress, President of Compassion Prison Ministry UK

Mr Jacky Buchsbaum (Chair of Jewish Representative Council of Greater Manchester & Region)
Mr Russell Conn (President of Jewish Representative Council of Greater Manchester & Region)
Mr Jay Charara, (CoChair, HinduJewish Association Manchester)
Rabbi Jonathan Guttentag

Mr Qadir Ahmad Chohan (Chair, Manchester Council of Mosques)
Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar (Welfare Officer - Manchester Council of Mosques (MCOM))
Mr Amer Salam (UK Islamic Mission)

Mr. Jagtar Singh Ajimal (General Secretary, Indian Association Manchester)

Faith Network 4 Manchester
Revd Charles Kwaku-Odoi, Co-chair

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