Coronavirus


Click here to access the latest Coronavirus Guidance from the Church of England

Keep well, keep praying, keep connected

We know there many issues that arise from national and government guidance, and that things are changing frequently in the UK  – be assured that we’re working on this and we’ll stay in touch with you. In all of this, we have three key aims: 

  • Keeping people well 
  • keeping people praying 
  • Keeping people connected

To avoid confusion - and because things are changing so frequently - we have removed most of our Coronavirus guidance from this website (with a few exceptions). Please make sure that you keep an eye on the Church of England website for all the latest guidance for churches and parishes relating to Coronavirus - and if you have specific queries you need help with, or you're in need of support, please speak with your Archdeacon in the first instance.

If you'd like to receive the latest updates from the Diocese on this issue, there's a special mailing list you can sign up to here (but, of course, we'll continue to highlight any key information in the weekly Briefing mailing). 

Update 19 July 2021

The Church of England has updated its Coronavirus guidance to reflect the fact that we are now in Stage 4 of the Government's recovery plan. You can find all the latest national guidance online here.

Please remember that, while we will are now permitted to do more, there is no requirement or expectation that all the good practice that we have been following for the past 18 months should be instantly discarded.

Coronavirus still presents a very real threat - especially to people who are clinically more vulnerable or who have not yet been vaccinated. It is therefore perfectly reasonable that we take some time and care in working out what the next phase of our worshipping life might look like - and that in doing so we are particularly attentive to the concerns of those who are worried about the easing of restrictions. 

Update 2 April 2021

On 12 March, Bishop Rose signed an instrument to allow for meetings of parishioners and APCMs to be held electronically or with some attendance electronically, although the date by which meetings need to be held remained at 31 May. That was in the hope that meetings in person could take place after 12 April. However, we have now received legal advice that the earliest that meetings can happen in person is 17 May with Step 3 of the Government’s Roadmap. This would leave too short a time for many parishes to hold their meetings.

Bishop Rose has now, therefore, signed a further instrument which extends the final date for meetings of parishioners and APCMs to 30 June. This instrument supersedes the earlier one but repeats the same provisions in exactly the same form except for the extended final date for meetings of parishioners and APCMs and the addition of a new paragraph at the end about the date for admission of wardens chosen at this year’s meeting and the term of office of wardens chosen at last year’s meeting.
 
The change of date means that the Visitation services at the Cathedral have been rearranged to 7 and 15 September, both at 7:30pm. Please ensure that the results of the elections of churchwardens are submitted promptly so that invitations can be arranged. Those who are stepping down as churchwardens remain in office and on the PCC until their successors are admitted. Those who are elected as churchwardens join the PCC from the election but do not become churchwardens until they are admitted at the Visitation Service. If a churchwarden-elect (new or continuing) cannot make the Visitation Service, they will need to let their archdeacon know so that other arrangements can be made for their admission to office.

We would like to thank everyone for your continuing efforts to help your local community engage with worship, whether online, through email networking, or in person in church. It has been wonderful to see so much creativity that has helped so many encounter God and be upheld through this long and difficult time.

All the latest guidance from the Church of England can be found online here - for other areas of guidance, please click the heading or questions below to jump straight to what you need:  

APCMs

Do we have to open our churches for public worship in lockdown?

Can we hold services of Holy Communion?

Should we hold live acts of worship on 27 December?

NHS Track & Trace QR Codes

Diocesan staff & parish support

I'm worried and stressed - where can I get support? 

Prayer for those affected by the Coronavirus outbreak

COVID-19 - early outbreak management: Places of worship

________

APCMs

On 12 March, Bishop Rose signed an instrument to allow for meetings of parishioners and APCMs to be held electronically or with some attendance electronically, although the date by which meetings need to be held remained at 31 May. That was in the hope that meetings in person could take place after 12 April. However, we have now received legal advice that the earliest that meetings can happen in person is 17 May with Step 3 of the Government’s Roadmap. This would leave too short a time for many parishes to hold their meetings.

Bishop Rose has now, therefore, signed a further instrument which extends the final date for meetings of parishioners and APCMs to 30 June. This instrument supersedes the earlier one but repeats the same provisions in exactly the same form except for the extended final date for meetings of parishioners and APCMs and the addition of a new paragraph at the end about the date for admission of wardens chosen at this year’s meeting and the term of office of wardens chosen at last year’s meeting.
 
The change of date means that the Visitation services at the Cathedral have been rearranged to 7 and 15 September, both at 7:30pm. Please ensure that the results of the elections of churchwardens are submitted promptly so that invitations can be arranged. Those who are stepping down as churchwardens remain in office and on the PCC until their successors are admitted. Those who are elected as churchwardens join the PCC from the election but do not become churchwardens until they are admitted at the Visitation Service. If a churchwarden-elect (new or continuing) cannot make the Visitation Service, they will need to let their archdeacon know so that other arrangements can be made for their admission to office.

Do we have to open our churches for public worship in lockdown?

While many will be thrilled to get back to worshipping in a church building, others will understandably be more reluctant, especially where infection rates are high or rising rapidly. The latter may, of course, include those who would normally lead worship - both lay and ordained - and who have good reason to think carefully about the risks.

Our Archbishops have made it clear that no-one should feel under pressure to restart public worship if they don’t feel that it is sensible to do so. If it is not possible to ensure that the Eucharist is offered in at least one church in a benefice, you will of course need to inform the Bishop's Office. In such cases, please send a copy of your PCC's resolution, copying in your archdeacon. Bishpo Rose will be ocntentto grant permission, as appropriate. 

Can we hold services of Holy Communion?

Many churches will be able to open and will be holding services of Holy Communion as part of their pattern of worship. The latest guidance for worship can always be accessed through the Church of England’s website. The National Recovery Group has also written this paper which suggests a Covid-secure way to administer both bread and wine. However, we do not recommend this as the best way forward - and this practice should only be adopted with the agreement of your PCC. We would still strongly advise that, while the pandemic continues, the safest way to receive communion is in one kind only, which fully conforms with Anglican teaching on the Eucharist. 

NHS Test and Trace App QR Codes

You may have heard that businesses are being urged to display unique QR codes that will enable visitors to their premises to log that visit using the new NHS Test and Trace app rather than filling in their details in the visitors log.

These QR code posters are available for churches from the gov.uk website at www.gov.uk/create-coronavirus-qr-poster

As producing the poster with a unique QR code is a comparatively simple way to support the NHS app and protect people, churches are strongly encouraged to download and display their poster in time for the app launch on 24 September.

(Please note that as not everyone has a smartphone to scan the code, written records of contact details will still need to be maintained for those who cannot use the NHS Test and Trace app.)

Diocesan Staff & Parish Support

In accordance with Government guidelines, our diocesan offices - Diocesan House and the Bishop's Office - will be closed to both staff and visitors. The Diocesan staff team remains committed to supporting you as you our frontline workers during this national crisis - and (as long as they remain well) will continue to be available to you by phone and email, whether they do it from an office or their kitchen table. If you have any queries, please don't hesitate to call Diocesan House on 01227 459401 - we will continue to run a switchboard service from this number. You can contact the Bishop's Office on 01227 459382 or via email.

I'm worried and stressed - where can I get support? 

The Living Well, Canterbury Diocese Centre for Healing & Wholeness closes for Christmas on the 23rd December. The team will be able to offer listening and prayer and individual retreats as soon as we re-open in the New Year, booking is essential - please email contact@the-living-well.org.uk

You can also email requests to their weekly prayer support team: 
prayer@the-living.well.org.uk

Prayer for those affected by Coronavirus

Keep us, good Lord,
under the shadow of your mercy.
Sustain and support the anxious,
be with those who care for the sick,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may find comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us from your love
in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Amen

Find more prayer and worship resources here