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Public worship to resume inside Durham Cathedral from 19 July

13 July 2020

Daily congregational worship is to resume inside Durham Cathedral for the first time in nearly four months on 19 July at 9.30am, subject to social distancing and other safety measures. 

Since Durham Cathedral’s temporary closure in March owing to the outbreak of Covid-19, public worship has not taken place inside the church. Instead, members of Durham cathedral clergy have been livestreaming the daily offices of Morning and Evening Prayer, as well as Holy Communion and a pre-recorded Evensong service on Sundays.  Saints days and other celebratory services have also been marked by digital celebration. The Cathedral opened for private prayer and personal reflection on 22 June, with over 1,000 people taking this opportunity each week.

The Very Reverend, Andrew Tremlett, Dean of Durham said: “We are absolutely delighted that from 19th July we will once again able to share our mission of worshipping God and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with members of our community in person, as well as continuing to do so digitally. Worshipping God and sharing our rich Christian heritage remains at the heart of cathedral life and we are passionate about welcoming members of the congregation back to the church to share in this passion, in a safe and controlled way.”

As of the 19th July, the cathedral’s worship schedule will be as follows:

•    8.30am        Morning Prayer (not open to the public, live-streamed only)
•    9.30am        Holy Communion (open to the public-prior booking required. Also live-streamed)
•    11.30am     Holy Communion (open to the public- prior booking required)
•    3.30pm        Choral Evensong (not open to the public, pre-recorded and broadcast online)

Monday- Saturday
•    8.30am     Morning Prayer (Open to the public and also live-streamed)
•    5.15pm     Evening Prayer (Open to the public and also live-streamed) 

Booking is required for both of the Sunday Holy Communion services to ensure the cathedral is able to manage the amount of people inside the church and for track and trace purposes. Details of how to book can be found at If for whatever reason you aren’t able to book online, staff at the cathedral will make every effort to accommodate you (please bear in mind that your details will be taken at the door). 

On the 19 July, the Bishop and the Dean of Durham will take turns presiding over and preaching at the two Eucharist services. The Bishop will preside over the 9.30am Eucharist and preach at the 11.30am and vice versa with the Dean of Durham. 

Some practical changes have been made to the delivery of Holy Communion in light of Covid-19. Communion will be a said service and, while the Peace will not be shared physically, clergy will warmly welcome and acknowledge members of the congregation verbally. Communion will be distributed in one kind only, i.e. the consecrated bread by clergy wearing face coverings. At this stage, there will be no choral music or hymn singing, but parts of the service will be accompanied by organ music, providing some musical familiarity. As more direction is given from the Government and the Church of England about choirs and hymn singing it will be posted on the cathedral’s website. 

Alongside opening up the church for public worship, the cathedral is passionate about continuing its digital ministry, particularly for those who for reasons of geography or other, cannot make it to the church in person. This is why the majority of services will continue to be live-streamed or pre-recorded and broadcast online to the cathedral’s Facebook and Youtube channels. 

As well as enhanced safety measures for Holy Communion, the procedures outlined last month for the cathedral’s reopening remain in place to protect and reassure those onsite. These include:
•    regular cleaning of the cathedral
•    social distancing and pews widely separated
•    a one-way system around the cathedral’s nave (with entry via the Galilee Chapel and exit via the North Door)
•    hand sanitiser for staff and members of the public
•    specially trained staff on duty
•    protective screen at the visitor desk 
•    additional signage
•    limited number of people allowed in the building

Members of the public who would rather offer their prayers privately or simply come to the cathedral for quiet reflection will still have the opportunity to do so. The cathedral will be open from Monday to Saturday 10am-12pm and 1pm– 3pm and Sundays 1pm– 4pm.

At this stage, the cathedral’s toilet facilities, Open Treasure museum, Central Tower, Cathedral Library, restaurant and shop, as well as the Cloister remain closed.  

You can find more information about what to expect when you arrive at the cathedral for public worship or private prayer at