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Updated coronavirus guidance 12th March 2020

Coronavirus (Covid-19) Guidance for the Shaftesbury
Team Ministry - updated 12/03/2020

Since I sent out a first round of guidance, the Church of England’s advice to churches has changed as the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus has been monitored.

If you want to keep up to date with the latest guidance as it is released, it is here: www.churchofengland.org/coronavirus

It is now time for some further changes to how we do things, to help slow down the spread of coronavirus. The key changes you need to be aware of are as follows:

  • When you arrive at church, please wash your hands using soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds, or using alcohol gel containing at least 60% alcohol. All our churches are trying to buy alcohol gel, but this is currently partly dependent on whether someone happens to be at a shop as a delivery arrives. If your church doesn’t have any yet and you have your own, please use it and consider sharing it with those around you.
  • Clergy presiding at services of Holy Communion should also wash their hands or use alcohol gel at the offertory and after the distribution.
  • At a communion service, only the priest who is presiding will receive the wine as well as the bread, everyone else will receive the bread only.
  • We should not shake hands or make any other physical contact during the Peace, when people are entering or leaving church, or at other times in services.
  • We will not serve tea, coffee or other refreshments after services. Any Church coffee mornings and meals should be suspended for the time being.
  • There should be no physical contact during prayer ministry or when giving a blessing or laying on of hands.
  • Collection plates and bags should not be passed from person to person - churchwardens should arrange for a plate to be available as people arrive at church. In small churches it may be possible for the sidesperson to walk around with the plate at the offertory without it needing to be passed from person to person.
  • We should receive communion standing up if possible and avoid touching the communion rail.
  • Church cleaning teams should pay attention to good regular cleaning of surfaces people touch regularly, such as door handles and light switches.
  • Pastoral visitors should follow the guidance of nursing homes and hospitals about visiting and should wash their hands before and after giving the sacrament. Reusable service sheets should not be used for home communions for the time being.

At the moment, there is no need to cancel any services, although nursing home services should only happen if the management of the homes would like them to. All of these precautions are being taken to protect those in our communities who are most vulnerable to an illness like Covid 19 coronavirus. These are the changes we are advised we should make now, but this may change in the days and weeks ahead and we will let you know if and when that happens.

With my thanks and prayers,

The Revd Helen Dawes, Team Rector

12th March 2020