Church Commissioners Written Answer: Churches and VE Day

On 6th May 2020 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP, answered a written question from Chris Loder MP, on VE Day anniversary commemorations:

Chris Loder (West Dorset): 43168 To ask the Right Hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England is taking to fly Union Flags on its churches for the 75th Anniversary of VE Day.

Andrew Selous: The House of Bishops revised their guidance on access to churches on the 5th May 2020.

The new guidance can be read here: https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/news/house-bishops-backs-phased-approach-revising-access-church-buildings

Government guidance states that ‘a minister of religion or worship leader may leave their home to travel to their place of worship’. In most cases, they will do so in order to pray or to stream a service of worship.

If clergy wish to mark VE Day by ringing a church bell or flying a flag from their church buildings, that is within government guidance. This advice does not extend to bell-ringers, sextons or other church officers or volunteers.

The parish church would usually be central to local commemorations of events such as Victory in Europe Day, but for this anniversary they will be honouring the sacrifice of all those who were involved in World War Two in a new way. Archbishops, Bishops and clergy will be participating in local and national virtual services to mark VE Day. The Church of England has released national resources for worship and prayer which can be used by local communities: https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/worship-texts-and-resources/worship-resources-ve-day-2020

Additional resources have been released by Westminster Abbey to help churches shape their services over the anniversary weekend which can be found here: Service of Thanksgiving to mark the 70th Anniversary of VE Day.