Coronavirus: practical guidance for parishes and statement from Bishop Philip
In light of the continued increase of Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the United Kingdom, the guidance of the Church of England is to suspend the administration of the chalice as well as physical contact during the sharing of the Peace, blessing or ‘laying on of hands’.
Current advice is that all priests should:
- Offer Communion in one kind only to all communicants i.e. the consecrated bread/wafer/host, with the priest alone taking the wine;
- Suspend handshaking or other direct physical contact during the sharing of the Peace;
- Suspend direct physical contact as part of a blessing or ‘laying on of hands’.
The national church has issued a considerable amount of guidance to parishes and to the practical steps they might take to help minimise risk to all parishioners, clergy and lay church leaders.
This guidance is subject to change, and we are updating all clergy, PTOs, readers and Churchwardens as and when this advice is issued.
If you would like to see the full CofE guidance, as well as some helpful Frequently Asked Questions, please click here.
Bishop Philip said: “This is clearly a worrying time for us all, and it is important that we heed the health advice that we are receiving, both from our health advisors with the church and of course from the Government and from the NHS and Public Health England.
“Beyond this, though, our shared faith is central to how we as individuals respond to help those in our families, our congregations, and our communities. There will be people who are feeling extremely vulnerable and potentially isolated right now, and there are people who do not have comfortable homes and access to the hygiene measures and nourishing food that we so often take for granted. Let us call them to mind in our prayers, and consider how we may be of some comfort or practical help to them.
“Let us also pray for those people who are working in the public services, such as our beloved NHS, Social Care and the emergency services and councils, who are planning how they will be best able to respond to the challenges we face.
“But also, let us also not forget that Jesus died so that we may live life in all its fullness: it is right to be sensible and cautious, but not cowed. Let us give thanks for the wonderful abundance of gifts in all facets of our lives, and be sure to make the most of them.”