Guidance for parishes on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Church of England’s Mission and Public Affairs division has published advice to parishes.

The Rt Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Bishop of Dover, has written to all parishes to share the latest guidance on Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The message reads as follows:

Dear brothers and sisters,

We have been receiving a number of queries from our parishes about what precautions should be taken to reduce the risk of infection from Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Church of England’s Mission and Public Affairs division has now published this advice to parishes, which offers practical steps that we an all take. The guidance is written by Dr Brendan McCarthy, the Church of England’s Adviser on health issues, drawing on the latest Government advice. It recommends incorporating simple precautions into worship services, particularly during the celebration of the Eucharist.

The situation will be kept under close review and updated advice will be made available on the Church of England’s dedicated webpage as necessary.

Some of the practical measures that we can all take include:

• Maintaining good hygiene including, for example, priests and servers washing their hands and using alcohol-based hand-sanitiser before Holy Communion
• Parishioners with coughs and sneezes should be encouraged to receive Communion in one kind only, and to refrain from handshaking during the Peace
• Avoid the practice of ‘intinction’ – when the consecrated bread is dipped into the wine – as this could represents an infection transmission route

May I join the Bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Revd James Newcome, (the Church of England’s lead bishop on health issues), in urging you all to pray for all those affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19) here and around the world, particularly in China, for all those caring for them and for health professionals worldwide as they seek to tackle this outbreak.

With my thanks for all you do to serve our parishes and communities,

Bishop Rose