On Thursday, the Radio Ulster Talkback programme debated the question of whether in this period of social distancing and restrictions churches should be allowed to open in some form; perhaps just for private prayer.
Last week it was cemeteries. Garden centres have also been mentioned.
On Wednesday evening; I had started to think about this; how we live in a kind of ‘open church’; blessed with places of quiet and light where we can pause for thought and prayer.
We shouldn’t need a church; we don’t need a church – not now; not when this deadly virus is about its work.
The more we open, the more the lockdown and social distancing are compromised and weakened and the more we risk the frontlines in our hospitals.
It is not hard to find a quiet place to pray.
For now, the churches should remain closed.
It strikes me that much of this debate is driven by the politics of the last conversation; what MLA is getting grief about closures.
The former Methodist President Harold Good spoke to me on Thursday about the need for consistency.
He mentioned the creative pastoral initiatives the churches have introduced to maintain their relationships with parishioners and also allowing those parishioners to engage with each other.
“The Church doesn’t want to put itself into a place of privilege or controversy,” he said.
Meaning that in this lockdown, the same rules should apply across the board; that for now we all need to live within the restrictions.
So, consistency should be the guide in this – not the politics of that last conversation whether about cemeteries, churches, garden centres or whatever comes next.
The Executive is the leadership team in politics. It needs to begin to work out the next slow steps – what will be possible and when; how to hold to a consistent position – how to manage expectations.
Of course, there will come a point when all of us will have to come out of lockdown and begin to live alongside this virus.
Firstly, we need to know with what it is we are living and this remains learning in progress.
Count the dead; listen to the stories being told from those hospital frontlines and remember that most of us have the easy parts in this fight against Covid 19.
The lockdown restrictions are there for good reason.