I WRITE with some dismay as my local church still remains closed, nearly 21 months since the start of the pandemic.

Parishioners at St Thomas of Canterbury Roman Catholic Church in Dentons Green have, as far as I'm aware, not been allowed inside there since March 2020.

I saw there was a notice in a newsletter about repair works being undertaken in there. But I’m not sure it has needed to be shut all this time

Churches were first permitted to reopen after the first lockdown in June last year.

From accounts of relatives who attend other churches in St Helens, I understand they are still operating under limited capacity, some with temperature checks and masks being worn like it is still the height of the pandemic.

It seems ridiculous that you can rock up to a nightclub and rub shoulders with countless others but I still can’t go to a mass in my local church, or sit where I want.

I appreciate churches are more likely to be ‘cautious’ over Covid measures, especially with a majority of congregations being from older age groups.

But the vaccination programme was meant to enable us to get out of that paralysis. Social distancing has not been a requirement since July.

The past almost two years have been difficult for everyone for all sorts of reasons. It is times like this, especially, that the church is needed to offer comfort and consolation for people.

It feels like it has been all too happy to just retreat behind its closed doors instead.

Dentons Green resident