“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1
This section contains the latest guidance for churches and church run groups about the coronavirus outbreak.
Updated 27 March 2020 – funeral and bereavement resources available from Church of England
On Monday, 23 March, the Prime Minister has announced that all places of worship must close with immediate effect. This means that our churches can no longer be open for private prayer and no weddings or baptisms can take place. The Archbishops and Bishops issued a statement in response to the announcement and you can download their letter to all clergy below.
Though churches have been closed and services paused temporarily, the Church as the body of Christ is still there to minister and serve, to offer practical support and prayer, over the phone or online.
The Church of England has updated its the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance for Churches page web page with further resources and FAQ for parishes, including:
- Funeral guidance – added 27 March 2020
- A downloadable document which gives guidance on Spiritual Communion.
- Downloadable guidance on Mental Health and Wellbeing and Coronavirus, aimed at helping ministers and others who are offering pastoral support.
- New guidance covering key workers and whether Church staff are covered.
- A page for prayer and liturgy
- Additional information on digital resources outlining a significant expansion of audio, video, online webinars for churches and other relevant materials in the days ahead
- Parishes are encourage to download and complete a Coronavirus (COVID-19) Parish Continuity Plan template
Watch a video message from Bishop Ruth and download the letter below from Bishop Peter and Bishop Ruth and the Archdeacons, which was sent to all clergy, lay ministers and churchwardens on Tuesday, 24 March 2020 in response to the closure.
Any change to public health advice will be published at www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
Prayers from our bishops
Bishop Peter and Bishop Ruth are asking for prayers to be said during the outbreak of the coronavirus, for all those affected by it in any way. Bishop Peter said:
“This is a time of great anxiety for many. We hope and pray that people’s fears won’t be realised. In prayer, we give our anxieties and our hopes to God, as we think of those affected by the virus and those treating them.”
Lord God, carer of all people, creator, sustainer and healer;
We pray for all who have contracted Covid-19. Be with them and their loved ones and bring healing to their bodies.
We pray for all medical staff and emergency services as they look after the physical health, worries and concerns of their patients, especially the vulnerable and particularly those who have reduced contact with the outside world. Let us be good neighbours, looking out and after each other.
We remember the work of scientists, discovering and testing vaccines for this disease, and we pray for all of us, caught up in our everyday lives with the effects of these outbreaks.
Bless your world Lord, and help us to be blessings to one another, in Jesus name. Amen
Bishop Ruth reflects on our response to the outbreak in a video message: