Coronavirus (Covid-19) Guidance Update – 18th March
The Government has called for non-essential travel to stop and for social venues to be avoided. In Parliament it was made clear that this includes public worship. The Church of England has given advice and it is important all our churches follow this.
The voice of prayer is never silent nor dies the strain of praise away, and we should more than ever now be diligent in the disciplines of prayer. The provision of squints and “leper’ windows” in many of our ancient churches are at once testament to the fact that ours is a corporate religion in which all, sick and healthy, gather to pray together, and that “social distancing” to facilitate that is nothing new.
Public worship has been suspended for this season. However clergy are encouraged to be creative in offering opportunities to worship and pray.
- Parishes can consider offering lots of opportunities for prayer ensuring that physical distancing is maintained.
- Run a service with a few participants participants and live stream it. For a list of live-streamed services please see here, for how to do your own see here.
- Those with a weekday mass tradition may wish to preserve some vestige of this, provided that there are few attenders and they preserve physical distancing (two metres apart is the current advice) in a well-aerated building (communion in one kind only)
- Pray the Daily Office in church as normal (if others join you, preserve physical distancing)
- Go into church at midday, toll the bell if you have one, light a candle and pray midday prayers, including the prayers from the Church of England.
- Encourage parishioners to join in with the National Day of Prayer on 22nd March.
- For those with a midweek home group or bible study tradition, think about how you might do this online
- Church Buildings should remain open as much as possible for private prayer and pastors are encouraged to make themselves available with appropriate social distancing to speak to people, pray with them and give advice.
Now is the time for our communities to step up – working safely and following Government advice – making sure that contact is maintained with the vulnerable, that the sick have provisions and know they are cared for, and that voluntary activities which serve the needs of our communities are continued as much as possible.