A return to even small gatherings for worship will require close observance of social distancing and hygiene requirements, as laid down by the public health authorities.
“Many will be struck by the contradiction, that at a time we are all taking such drastic measures to preserve life, legislation is introduced to take it” - Presbyterian Moderator.
"It is important to give very strong consideration to the closure of all schools in the very near future. We need to fight this virus together," said Archbishop Eamon Martin.
Today provides an opportunity for a new start for Northern Ireland’s political institutions and one that can also offer fresh hope, say the leaders of Ireland’s four main Churches.
In a statement issued on Tuesday 17 December 2019 the bishops state that all Christians and people of good will are obliged in conscience not to cooperate formally in abortion services, “even if permitted by civil legislation”.
“I or indeed any priest or religious in this area would be willing to mediate between the different factions if that would assist to bring the feud to a halt.”
"More than 20,000 people, from every tradition, attended the March because people are outraged that Westminster has hijacked our democratic process and has sought to impose abortion on Northern Ireland."
“Decision-making should take place as close to the people as possible. This proposal is an imposition enacted by a parliament which is overwhelmingly not from Northern Ireland.”
“For the sake of the most vulnerable in our society, for the sake of the victims of our past, for the sake of children in our schools and for the sake of people who need improved health and social care services, now is the time to find a resolution to the political impasse.”
“I would ask this question: we are only seven or eight weeks from the proposed date of exit. I wonder are we really thinking enough about the impact on people on the ground?”
Archbishop Eamon Martin warns “There can be no going back to the days of violence and death on our streets” as he appeals to politicians to “reject divisive language and actions” during 2019.
A resolution has been made more difficult because of disagreement over the Northern Ireland Language Act, which would give legal status and protections to the use of the Irish language in Northern Ireland.
I would like to see DUP supporters and other people beginning to find some affinity with the Irish language and not see it as a threat.
The death of Martin McGuinness had “lifted the lid” on the past and revealed “how raw, how hurt, and how traumatised many people remain”. Archbishop Eamon Martin said that there is still a lot to be done in the peace process.
“I thank all those involved. We want to build a future that is respectful, inclusive and vibrant. Northern Ireland can have a very bright future built on respect and celebration of diversity.”