The Archbishop of Canterbury is advising the elderly to stay at home this Christmas rather than head out to attend church on Christmas Day.
Archbishop Justin Welby was asked on BBC’s Andrew Marr Show what his advice would be to an 80-year-old who wants to go to church on Christmas Day.
The Archbishop said that while he planned to be at church on Christmas Day, others should not feel any compulsion to go.
“Don’t feel under compulsion; do what is sensible,” he replied, adding that there were clergy with underlying health conditions who would be staying at home this Christmas.
“My mother who’s in her nineties will not go to church, I’m sure, because it’s too dangerous,” he said.
He reminded people that if they do come to church, they need to keep their distance from the choir and from each other.
“The choir always make me keep away from them because my voice is so bad,” he said.
“But yes, keep away from the choir and above all, to quote the Dean of Canterbury, don’t mingle after the service, wave happily to people and go.”
For those unable to go to church, he still recommended getting outdoors on Christmas Day if they were able to.
“I will be in church, God willing, and for your 80-year-old I would say get out, get some fresh air if you can, if you are fit enough to walk,” he said.
He also encouraged people to call the Church of England’s Daily Hope phone line launched after the start of the pandemic to offer hymns, reflections and prayers, especially for those with no internet access.
“Do what you can, not what you can’t,” the Archbishop added.