What should churches do now?

Please note that ‘Washing hands’ always refers to washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using a hand-sanitiser with minimum 60% alcohol content. See NHS guidance and download a poster version to display.

  1. Ensure everyone maintains good hygiene (we should be doing this already as part of normal good practice) at all gatherings, whether services or other occasions. This includes those handing out books etc or having other direct physical contact with numbers of people, as well as those administering the Eucharist (see below for more guidance):
    • Provide hand gel at entrances and ensure there is a good supply of soap or hand gel in cloakrooms and kitchens and any other appropriate areas.
  2. The best way of protecting us from the spread is for everyone to use universal good hygiene, – this means everyone, all the time, which will effectively disrupt the spread of the virus. Display the public information poster attached, which states:
    • Catch it – sneeze into a tissue.
    • Bin it – bin the tissue.
    • Kill it – wash your hands.
    • Do not touch your face unless you’ve washed your hands.
  3. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have written to clergy to advise that the Common Chalice/Cup now be suspended until further notice. We 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” (see FAQs below for more information on this)

Revd Dr Brendan McCarthy