Dear Sisters and Brothers,

The situation with the Coronavirus Covid-19 – continues to unfold rapidly.
We attach a letter from our Archbishops with the latest advice.
The Archbishops’ letter should be read and followed immediately.

The key points are:

    • The suspension of the Common Cup which means offering of Communion in one kind only to all communicants. Communicants should be reassured that this is regarded as full communion in the Church.
    • The suspension of all physical contact at the peace but encouragement to go on being creative in how to communicate peace to each other in a non-contact way, for example, BSL, Makaton or India style
    • The suspension of any form of laying-on of hands for blessings or prayer ministry.

In the current situation, we have to act wisely and in a way, which is socially responsible, setting an overall example.

We recognise that many of our regular congregants are in the over 60 age group and therefore officially more at risk. So pastoral care will be important. This will include all Clergy, Readers, APAs, pastoral visitors acting wisely about hygiene to ensure they do not inadvertently pass on infections but currently continuing to visit as planned. In all of this let us continually live in the light of God’s loving mercy and presence and the light of the resurrection. May we all remember and live by the truth that ‘Perfect love casts out fear’.

We also encourage you to think and plan ahead. It may be that we enter a period nationally where large gatherings are temporarily banned. So please consider what online/virtual worship might be possible and how email, phone and social media can be intentionally used to offer pastoral support if visiting becomes impossible. Be creative as we know you can be. Examples might be the use of WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger conversations or videos. Most of all, do look after yourselves and those close to you so that you are best placed to offer help to others.

Do feel free to contact us or our Archdeacons, Rick and Bob, with any questions where matters are uncertain. If you need help with social media or setting up digital conversations, do contact Keith Blundy our Communication Adviser. We anticipate that within the next few days there will be national guidance on funerals, foodbanks and other areas of ministry as well.

The Church of England Website is being updated daily so please use that as the first port of call. https://www.churchofengland.org/coronavirus

Thank you for all you are doing to serve the communities well in such uncertain and challenging times.

Grace and Peace be with you

+Paul and +Sarah

Rt Revd Paul Butler       07939213795
Rt Revd Sarah Clark       07785549800

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