- The Rectory
- The Street, Barham
- CT4 6PA
24th March 2020 -
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.”
23rd March 2020 -
Please follow the below link for updates and also check tabs re Wedding and baptism advice.
17th Mar 2020 - Suspension of Mothering Sunday Service and subsequent worship services until further notice
In line with government and Church of England advice we are having to suspend public worship until we are advised otherwise. Nevertheless the majority of our wonderful church buildings in our benefice will remain open.
Starting from Sunday evening (22nd) a bell of St John's will be tolled twice a day at 12pm and 7pm as prayers are continued to be said by the parish priest and assistants during the time of the restrictions.
As Archbishop Justin Welby only commented today, that we will have to do church differently and in doing so will continue to offer pastoral and practical support where ever we can.
Rev Stefan Thomas (RevT)
Message from Bishop Rose
Dear brothers and sisters,
Church isn't closing - it's changing
Many of you will be aware that today our Archbishops have issued guidance that Church of England churches should suspend all acts of public worship, with immediate effect. You can read about their guidance here. However, far from “shutting up shop”, this means that we must face this challenge by becoming a radically different kind of church as we seek to continue to be rooted in prayer and serve others.
Keeping our churches open for prayer
To that end, we ask that - as far as possible - churches should remain open as places of prayer for the community, while observing physical distancing recommendations. Some of the practicalities of this are as follows:
- all clergy have a commitment to saying the Daily Office and this can be said in church, as a witness to the prayer being offered for the community
- if your church has a bell, you may wish to ring it before prayer to signify to the wider community that you are praying for them
- please encourage anyone who may be in church and wishes to pray with you to observe physical distancing measures (2 metres between people) and good hygiene practices
- please do not provide prayer books or sheets for people to use - if passed around, these can be vehicles for transmission of infection - prayer 'signs' posted appropriately on walls or pillars in the building may be helpful
- Weddings and funerals may go ahead - but should have as few people as possible in attendance and should observe physical distancing guidance
- We would advise that baptisms and confirmations should be postponed - except where there is a very strong case for going ahead, and where every possible step is taken to observe health guidance in doing so
Sunday 22 March
Our Archbishops have called for a day of prayer and action this coming Sunday - Mothering Sunday (22 March). Mothering Sunday has always been both a day of celebration for many and a sensitive and emotional day for some. Wherever you are this Sunday please do join in this day of prayer and action and remember especially those who are sick or anxious, and all involved in our Health Service. As one action, they are calling on everyone to (safely) place a lighted candle in their window at 7pm as a sign of solidarity and hope in the light of Christ that can never be extinguished.
What should churches do now? Church of England Guidance
16th Mar 2020
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- As a church we will 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;
3. suspend direct physical contact as part of a blessing or "laying on of hands"
- Churches are encouraged to complete a Coronavirus Parish Continuity Plan to ensure, as far as possible, their continued mission and ministry.
- Intinction is not recommended as an alternative to the Common Chalice/Cup. It is a route for transmission from the individual through handling the wafer/bread/host, and tiny fragments could affect people with allergies to gluten etc.
- Please note that the distribution of individual cups for use by communicants is not a lawful practice in the Church of England.
- Ask those attending services to wash their hands as they come into church.
- Ensure ministers of the Eucharist wash their hands before and after distributing communion.
- Suspend catering (teas, coffees etc.) where multiple people touch mugs, utensils and foodstuffs.
- No pastoral visits should be undertaken to people who are self-isolating until isolation ends. However we offer phone support.
- When visiting parishioners at home, we wash hands before and after giving the sacraments.
- Refrain from passing collection plates around.
- Suspend the use of holy water stoups.
- Wash vestments (surplices, cassocks) on the hottest cycle you can without damaging them. Chasubles etc. which could become contaminated, may not be able to be washed. Instead, they should be securely stored away from people, ideally in a well ventilated and brightly sunlit area, for at least 48 hours before re-use,
- Visits to people in care homes or Hospitals should follow advice from the staff on infection control.
- Ensure good regular cleaning of surfaces people touch regularly, including such things as door handles, light switches etc.
More importantly that as disciples of Christ we do not neglect those who will in time be struck by this coronavirus, especially those who are elderly and/or have compromised immune systems. It is important that when the rich man asked Jesus "and who is my neighbour?" (Luke 10:29) that although we may love God with all our being we must ensure that our love for Christ continually flows to those in need.
neighbours around us, and those further afield in the parish who we
know to be lonely, vulnerable and isolated must be pastorally assisted.
If we know of parishioners that have had to self-isolate having
contracted this virus then we should ensure that food can be left for
them at the door and that regular contact by phone is a must throughout
the infected period. Even after the illness encouargement of looking
after our neighbour should always be a natural deed as with our own
I expect the church guidelines to be updated regularly and the following link should be bookmarked:
are a praying and prayerful community so please keep your prayers 24/7
as we ask the Holy Spirit to guide us and those in national and local
leadership positions, for our medical communities and for the upkeep of
the common good.