As we now have some cases of Coronavirus confirmed in Somerset, our Bishops have written to all Parish Priests in the Diocese, updating their advice on how best to proceed in order to keep ourselves and our communities safe. We are advised to take the following precautions:
Holy Communion – until further notice we will suspend the common cup. The priest will take communion (both bread and wine) on our behalf, but will offer the bread alone to those who wish to participate. Intinction is not considered to be a safe option and will not be permitted under any circumstances. We will find alternative ways to share the peace that do not involve touch.
Pastoral Care – caring for people who have ‘self-isolated’ should be done via phone, Facebook or Skype if at all possible, so as not to spread the virus. It may be possible that a load of shopping could be dropped at the doorstep to be picked up later to ensure a good supply of food without actual contact.
Material – we need to look after the fabric of our church building, particularly door handles and switches where infection could linger, by cleansing more frequently.
Bishop Ruth adds that people of faith have an enormously important role to play in sustaining community cohesion in times of strain such as this.
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
I am pleased to say that here at St Vigor’s and St John’s we are already prepared for and are calmly undertaking these precautions. The church wardens and I will keep you up to date as much as possible and let you know of any further developments.