Coronavirus ("COVID-19")

As the Coronavirus is spreading in the UK, the Church of England has issued guidance to parish churches about appropriate action to take.  The guidance can be found here. On 7th March 2020 it advised:

In the event of increased community transmission of coronavirus, priests should take a view whether it is necessary to withdraw the Common Cup. If so they should:

    • Suspend the administration of the chalice and offer Communion in one kind only i.e. the consecrated bread/wafer/host, with the priest alone taking the wine.
    • Consider suspending handshaking or other direct physical contact during the sharing of the peace.
    • Consider suspending direct physical contact as part of a blessing or ‘laying on of hands’.

Where the priest has not suspended the administration of the chalice, communicants may nevertheless decide to receive in one kind only at their own discretion.

This guidance was updated on 11th March to read:

It is our view, in light of the continued increase of Covid-19 cases in the United Kingdom, that it is now necessary to suspend the administration of the chalice as well as physical contact during the sharing of the peace, blessing or "laying on of hands". We therefore advise 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’.

It was updated again on 17th March to read:

In light of the Government guidance around non-essential contact, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have issued advice that public worship is suspended until further notice. Churches should be open where possible but with no public worship services taking place. Prayers can be said by clergy and ministers on behalf of everyone and churches should consider ways of sharing this with the wider community.

It was updated again on 23rd March to read:

The Archbishops and Bishops of the Church of England have urged everyone to follow the instructions given by the Prime Minister to stay in their homes in a national effort to limit the transmission of the coronavirus (COVID-19).  But they called on the Church to “continue to pray, to love, to care for the vulnerable”.  It follows the announcement by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson of sweeping restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the virus.

It means all Church of England churches will close with immediate effect in line with the Government’s instructions. There will also be no Church weddings or baptisms.  Funerals at the graveside or in crematoriums can still take place, but only in line with the Prime minister’s Statement.

In a joint statement the bishops said: “In the light of the Government’s measures, announced by the Prime Minister this evening, we urge everyone to follow the instructions given. We will give a fuller statement of advice as soon as possible. Let us continue to pray, to love, to care for the vulnerable, and build our communities, even while separated.”

Until we get further advice, services are suspended until further notice, and the church building at St Luke's Eccleshill will not be open for public worship or private prayer.  It is unclear to us whether this means that we can produce video services from inside the church building, or whether these are also banned.

This web page was last updated on Tuesday 24th March 2020.