Church has rightly responded strictly to coronavirus, says the Archbishop of York
The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell
Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell has defended the Church of England's response to the first national lockdown last year and the order to close churches.
When the country was first locked in March 2020, Canterbury Archbishop Justin Welby and Cottrell's predecessor John Sentamu wrote to parishes ordering churches to close.
The instructions from above not only prohibited the public from entering churches, but also clergymen from going into their buildings to pray alone.
"We have to take a leadership role to show our communities how to act to slow the spread of the coronavirus," the letter said at the time.
"It is also imperative that we, as the Church of Jesus Christ, called to offer hope and light in the darkness of the evils of this world, maintain a prayerful presence for our fellowship, even though we do so from our hearts and homes from now on got to .
"Our church buildings are closed, but the church must continue to support and encourage our congregations to use phones and other technology to keep in touch with people and ensure pastoral care is maintained. As Shepherds of Christ's flock, we are committed to this this is happening. "
Cottrell told The Telegraph that there has been some disappointment among Anglicans, but that he questioned the suggestion "that many people were disappointed".
"'I'm not pretending we didn't get some things wrong, but I think the mitigating circumstances of the shock faltering – a lot of organizations really didn't know what to do," he said.
The Archbishop also denied that priests had been fired, saying that dioceses were being "reorganized" and defended a chief executive posted in his former diocese, the Diocese of Chelmsford, who was offering a salary between £ 80,000 and £ 90,000 a year at the time the CofE faces financial challenges.
"The national church is working very hard right now to renew our vision of what the church is for and see how we can do our best to ensure that money is not being spent in the so-called center that does not exist. " It is absolutely necessary so that we can put all of our resources at the forefront of service, "he said.
"Every big church needs organization or it would collapse. If you have clergy, you have to pay them and house them – so you have to have a housing department and a finance department.
"And because of our lack of security, we absolutely have to have a security department. And because we need new clergy, we have to have a training department. And because of the world we live in, we need a human resources department."
Cottrell said the church is looking at ways to "be more effective" and "make sure every penny goes to the front lines".
"Right now there are all sorts of groups that have not yet decided how best to do it, but are making the very kind of savings that others say we should be making – and I agree with them," he said.
Elsewhere in the interview, Cottrell said the Church is doing "amazing" work in many congregations having problems.
"I want to make a big plea for the Church of England to ease up a bit. It is incredible what we are doing," he said.
"We still have offices in 16,000 locations. We really beat our weight – and we are the Church for all.
"There is such diversity in the Church of England, and while many of our congregations are struggling and small, what they are achieving in and for their local fellowship is absolutely amazing."