St John’s in Peterborough’s city centre announced that it was taking the step on social media and in its newsletter.
Peterborough was one of the first areas in the country to be placed in Tier 4 of Covid restrictions and Canon Ian Black said in the church’s newsletter that following a sharp rise in hospital admissions in the city the decision had been taken to suspend services.
The church plans to live stream some services instead.
Under Tier 4 restrictions churches can hold services if they believe them to be safe but in the church newsletter Canon Black said: “The future ahead is looking brighter as the vaccines are rolling out and we have the prospects of these being more widespread by the time we reach Easter and the spring. We just need to stay safe in the meantime.
“The news over the last few days has increased in intensity about the risks which the new strain of the virus brings. It seems to be far more infectious than before and various health professionals are advising that we stay at home and only go out if absolutely necessary.
“One of those I follow particularly keenly is Professor Devi Sridhar, professor of public health at Edinburgh University.
“Her view is that this is a dangerously uncertain moment and it would be wisest to press pause until the situation is clearer. Peterborough Telegraph reported on January 1 that there has been a sharp increase in Covid-19 admissions to the hospital.
“In view of this, the churchwardens and I have taken the decision, reluctantly, that we need to suspend public worship in the church for the time being. The intention is for the PCC to review this when it meets via Zoom on Wednesday 20th January. This will give time for us to assess the effect of this new strain of the virus and also the roll out of the vaccine. It will give us the chance to see the trajectory of infection rates.
“Under Tier 4, we are still permitted to hold services in the church if we deem it safe. We are pressing pause at the moment because we cannot be confident that it is, not least with the risk of asymptomatic infection.
“With my prayers and good wishes for 2021. I look forward to us all being able to be together soon.”