COVID-19 UPDATE No. 12
ARCHBISHOPS LETTER 24th MARCH 2020
 
Dear Sisters & Brothers,

Please read carefully the attached letter from the Archbishops. In the light of last night’s announcement by the Prime Minister, we are clear that church buildings must now all be closed. Please do not ask for or look for exceptions to this, excepting the point about Foodbanks if they run from Church Buildings. Even here the advice must be strictly adhered to. Closed means closed.

Please continue to be as creative and adaptive as you can be through leading prayers from home. You might want to create a specific small space from which you Livestream Morning, Evening and Night Prayer. Keep encouraging your people to join with you in their own homes. We will have different views about celebrating the eucharist through these days. The Anglican position has always been that the eucharist should not be celebrated alone. Some will decide that it would be valuable for your congregation to see you preside at home on their behalf. Others will decide that if the people cannot receive communion then neither should the priest, so will choose a Eucharistic fast for the coming weeks. This will mean providing services of the Word rather than the Eucharistic liturgy that would normally take place. In this unprecedented time, we are content for you to operate by your own conscience in this matter. We are clear though that if you conduct a eucharist then it is not appropriate to suggest people take bread and wine at home; this would be theologically very confusing indeed.

These are very tough times. Funeral ministry at Crematoria will be very different. Many crematoriums around the country have now said no attendees, others will follow our guideline of only the spouse, and children; no ‘extended families’. Many hospitals are now not allowing any visitors, including clergy and asking the Hospital Chaplains only to conduct matters within the Hospital. This will put great pressures on them so please uphold them in your prayers.

We remain immensely proud of how clergy, lay leaders and congregations have risen to the current challenge. We are in for a long haul so let us keep looking to our Lord who is faithful, and let us keep encouraging one another.

Please read the Archbishops’ Letter; share its contents widely and please
Stay at Home.

+Paul and +Sarah

Archbishops’ Letter of 24 March 2020: https://bit.ly/ABLETTER-24-3-20
Church Closure Door Notice Template: https://bit.ly/ChurchClosedTemplate
CofE Website COVID-19 Page: http://bit.ly/cofecovid19
Diocesan Website COVID-19 Page: https://durhamdiocese.org/covid-19/