But they called on the Church to “continue to pray, to love, to care for the vulnerable”.
It follows the announcement by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson of sweeping restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the virus.
It means all Church of England churches will close with immediate effect in line with the Government’s instructions. There will also be no weddings or baptisms.
Funerals can still go ahead but within strict limits with only the closest family in attendance and essential physical distancing measures in place.
In a joint statement the bishops said: “In the light of the Government’s measures, announced by the Prime Minster this evening, we urge everyone to follow the instructions given.
“We will give a fuller statement of advice as soon as possible. Let us continue to pray, to love, to care for the vulnerable, and build our communities, even while separated.”
See the notice displayed in our parish churches here
Update- 15th June
From Monday 15th June, the churches in Brabourne, Monks Horton and Smeeth will be open in the daytime for private prayer, if you need a place for quiet prayer and reflection. Please follow social distancing guidelines and sanitise your hands on entering and exiting the building. Please do not visit the church if you have Covid-19 symptoms.
If you or someone you know would find a parcel of essential food and toiletries useful, please get in touch with the office on 01303 470791 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Di on 013030 813398