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 11 February 2021

Although Covid infection rates are reducing, they are still a cause for concern, and with the continuing uncertainty regarding when lockdown may end, Bishop Rose has decided to extend her permission to suspend public worship from 14 February until 28 March (Palm Sunday). This will automatically be applied to all of those who have already been granted permission - who don’t have to take any further action. Of course, if your church is currently closed for public worship but will be able to open before that date, it may do so. Please ensure you carry out the latest risk assessment before reopening and it would be helpful to let the Bishop (bishopofdover@bishcant.org) know the date of reopening (if earlier than 28 March).

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

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APCMs

APCMs need to take place by Monday 31 May and there will not be an extension this year. An instrument is being prepared which will allow them to be held in person, online or hybrid. More details to follow shortly.

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