The Archbishop of Canterbury has announced that public worship is “suspended until further notice”, but a Church of England spokesman said weddings and funerals could still go ahead.
In a joint letter, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, Justin Welby and John Sentamu respectively, said it was “necessary to put public services on hold”.
They added church buildings may remain open for prayer “where practical” and as long as worshippers observe social distancing recommendations.
They wrote: “This is a defining moment for the Church of England. Are we truly a church for all, or just the church for ourselves?
“We urge you sisters and brothers to become a different sort of church in these coming months: hopeful and rooted in the offering of prayer and praise and overflowing in service to the world.”