Falkirk area's places of worship to re-open as lockdown restrictions ease

Falkirk district’s places of worship are ready and eager to reopen their doors.

By Jonathon Reilly
Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 4:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 4:56 pm

Churches and mosques can welcome back members of the public from this Friday in gatherings of up to 50.

The latest guidance announced by the Scottish Government will also allow people to travel between Level 4 areas to attend their usual place of worship following sustained progress suppressing the spread of coronavirus.

The news has been gratefully received by faith leaders in the Falkirk area.

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Reverend Raheel Arif, of Denny Old Parish Church. Contributed.

Father Jamie Boyle, of St Francis Xavier’s Catholic Church in Falkirk, said: “We’re delighted we’re able to open again and celebrate the Holy Week and Easter, which is a massively important week for us.

“We have a booking system in place on our website and Facebook page. People can phone too.

“One of the difficulties is there’s no communal singing allowed, which has a big impact. We would have 500 on Easter Friday, so 50 doesn't scrape the surface of that at all but it’s better than nothing.

“We look forward to welcoming everyone back. Hopefully we’ll be able to come together without restrictions at some point not too far away.”

Reverend Raheel Arif, of Denny Old Parish Church, which is linked with Haggs Parish Church, is also keen to reunite with churchgoers in the coming weeks.

Both Denny Old Parish Church and Haggs Parish Church will stay shut until Sunday, April 4, when they’ll open for Easter morning services.

Ref Arif said: “It’ll be a great moment to be back in church and have our Easter services.

“We thank the government. It depended on the infection rate going down so we thank God it did and we’re able to reopen for in-person services.

“There’s a limited number but it’ll be good for the folks to come in and worship God in sanctuary, which the majority of the older folks have missed as they don’t have the technology to get our online services.”

However, not all places of worship are choosing to reopen just yet.

Reverend Robert Allan, of Falkirk Trinity Church, said: “We’ve decided not to reopen our church building.

“We’ve come this far and, looking at the whole picture, we decided it would be best to keep closed.”

The church will reassess its decision on April 6.

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