Instructions received from Bishop Martin – Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Posted on by Tania Birtwistle


Care for those who are most vulnerable, and to ensure practices, as best as possible, that will not contribute to infection.

  1. Look out for those who do not have good support networks to ensure they receive the help and care they need.
  2. The tendency evidenced from behaviours like panic buying is for some people to think just of themselves – we are called to behave differently.
  3. These are basic practices I would now strongly advise we should all be adopting,  in relation to worship. 
  4. We should all be more attentive to our normal hygiene routine of washing our hands thoroughly and often with soap and water or hand sanitiser (60% alcohol).
  5. At communion the priest and those who assist should wash with hand sanitiser before and after distribution.
  6. Communion should be only in one kind (bread). I realise this is not yet the national guidance, but I would rather us take this step now and become used to it than regret that we did not take it sooner.
  7. The practice of intinction, dipping the bread into the wine, is not an option. It is an unhealthy practice in any event and should not happen.
  8. No receiving the host on the tongue since there is a greater danger of passing on infection by this means.
  9. The peace should be passed without contact.
  10. Holy water stoups should be emptied and remain so for the time being.

The Church of England’s team for Health and Social Policy is responsible for updates on the Coronavirus. They are working collaboratively with the Government and Public Health officials. The situation will be kept under close review and both the Diocesan office and my office are being updated regularly. There is a dedicated page on the Church of England’s website which contains up to date advice. The news page on the diocesan website is the place to go for up to date advice Since information is changing rapidly please do check the dedicated website page for regular updates. We continue to pray for all those people caught up in the coronavirus situation, for those who are sick and for those who care for them, and for those responsible for planning for our care.