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Bishops: Communion services and camps can resume in June

The bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland issued instructions to parishes on 5 May on how to operate once the national restrictions are gradually lifted.

Starting 1 June, parishes can hold communion services with a maximum of fifty people present. Confirmation camps and other parish summer camps can also start in June, as long as the number of people remains below the fifty-person limit and the safety of the participants is ensured. The bishops recommend that camps with overnight stays not start until after Midsummer (20 June) to leave parishes enough time to prepare for the special arrangements required.

All church services and other parish events must follow the fifty-person limit. The bishops point out that if an event is held at a small venue, the number of people attending may have to be limited to fewer than fifty. The bishops’ instructions also stress that the safety of the participants must be ensured by people maintaining a safe distance from each other and the parish providing guidance on hand washing and other hygiene measures. The dioceses are working together with the authorities so they can provide their parishes with more detailed instructions soon.

The bishops encourage parishes to organise activities for children, young people and families, but in such a way that no more than fifty people are present at any given time.

“Parishes carry out the spiritual mission of the Church by preaching the Word of God, administering the sacraments, spreading the Christian message and living out the love for one’s neighbour. This is particularly important under these exceptional circumstances. It also plays a significant role in people’s mental wellbeing and their ability to cope,” say the bishops.