15th March 2020
Coronavirus notice from Revd Canon Alison Myers – Lordsbridge Team Rector
In what are challenging and ever-changing times, I wanted to make known the Lordsbridge Team response to the coronavirus. Please be assured that the church (both nationally and our group of smaller church communities) will continue to seek to offer love and care in these anxious times. This means changing various things we do when we gather for worship, as well as thinking through how we support one another and the wider community day to day. What we change, and how we best support the community, will of course change over time. There will also be differences in the way each church can respond to the ongoing advice e.g. some churches with more advanced facilities are better placed to enable handwashing onsite whereas others, where those facilities are not in place will not be able to provide this and would require congregation members to be mindful of this and wash hands before coming to church.
We have compiled the following advice for the churches across the team.
When we gather for worship
- Please wash hands before coming to, and upon arrival at, church (if the church facilities allow). We are currently trying to source antibacterial hand gel to be available at all churches, although this is currently proving difficult.
- Please refrain from skin-skin touch, including when you say ‘hello’, when you pick up a hymn book and when we share the peace. Some churches may use alternative greetings such as an elbow bump or sign language.
- Standing (rather than kneeling) at the altar rail to avoid many different hands touching the rail itself is encouraged
- Communion will be ‘in one kind’ only. The common cup has been suspended. Please be assured that theologically and spiritually receiving the bread or wafer only is as valid as receiving both bread and wine.
- The collection plate should not be passed round, and will be put in an appropriate place for people to put their offerings in. It can be brought up as usual at ‘the offertory’.
- Some churches within the team have suspended catering. The suspension of catering will apply to churches where there is no hot running water to allow for the proper cleaning and sterilisation of crockery, cutlery and implements. Where churches are still offering catering, please expect (and abide by) additional measures that have been put in place to safeguard everyone’s health and wellbeing.
If you are unwell or self-isolating
If you are unwell and/or meet the government defined threshold for self-isolation, please do not come to church, even if you have a job assigned in the service. And please let your vicar (lead minister) know that you have to, or are choosing to, stay at home so that they can be in touch.
Supporting one another and the wider community day to day
These are anxious times, and the church is called to witness to the hope that is within us and the presence of that Love that holds us through the storms of life.
As a collection of church communities, we need to be particularly aware of those amongst us and around us who are more vulnerable and may choose to withdraw or may feel isolated. We need to be good friends and neighbours to one another.
As a minimum we would do well to ensure we have telephone numbers for each other, and to stay in touch with those who are not in church. As time goes on, we may want to offer to do online grocery orders for those at home who are not au fait with such things.
The church can also be a beacon in the wider community. I would encourage us all to keep the most vulnerable in our communities at the forefront of our thinking as we make our way through the next few weeks and months.
As a Team we will seek to respond to what unfolds in ways that can best support our communities and offer that non-anxious love of God to all.
Yours in Christ
A prayer from the Church of England in response to the Coronavirus outbreak
Keep us, good Lord,
under the shadow of your mercy
in this time of uncertainty and distress.
Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may rejoice in your comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us from your love
in Christ Jesus our Lord.
For more prayers regarding the Coronavirus outbreak, including for those in isolation and those at the frontline of the medical fight against the virus, please click here
We are following the advice of Public Health England and The Church of England, both links to regularly updated websites can be found below:
Church of England – click here
Public Health England – click here