In line with the latest guidance on limiting the spread of the Coronavirus COVID-19 the following additional precautions are now in place:

  • The administration of the chalice as well as physical contact during the sharing of the peace, blessing or “laying on of hands” has been suspended. 

        This means:

  • We will now offer Communion in one kind only to all communicants (i.e. the consecrated bread or wafer, with the priest alone taking the wine).
  • Please don’t shake hands or make other direct physical contact during the sharing of the peace.
  • The priest will no longer lay their hand on your head or shoulder as they pray for a blessing.
  • Tea, coffee and biscuits after services have also been suspended.
  • Passing the collection bags has also been suspended. A plate will be made available by the door for your cash or envelope giving. This may be a good opportunity to consider joining the gift direct scheme if you haven’t already done so. More details are available from Malcolm Taylor or the Parish Office. 

The situation is changing rapidly, and these plans will be kept under regular review to ensure that people are kept safe and are well cared for in accordance with Government and Church of England guidance.

Please 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 who prepare or serve food, those handing out books etc or having other direct physical contact with numbers of people, as well as those administering the Eucharist. We will be providing hand gel at entrances and will ensure there is a good supply of soap or hand gel in cloakrooms and kitchens and any other appropriate areas. 

Please also respect those who want to keep a safe physical distance from others.

The best way of protecting us from spread is for everyone to use universal good hygiene, – this means everyone, all the time, which will effectively disrupt spread of the virus. We have displayed the public information poster attached, which states:

                Catch it – sneeze into a tissue

                Bin it – bin the tissue

                Kill it – wash your hands with soap and water

                Do not touch your face unless you’ve washed your hands

If anyone running a group or activity is unsure what this means for you then please contact Jonathan by phone ASAP. (01865 863702)

A word from Bishop Colin about COVID-19

Bishop Colin has written to all clergy, LLMs and church wardens this week:

“Each day, global concern about the COVID-19 virus increases – for good reason. We know that it is very contagious, that it is a new virus which we don’t have inbuilt immunity to, and that it can have very serious consequences for those who are elderly or physically vulnerable. We are sensibly planning for the worst while working for the best”.

While thinking about what we should do (or not do), here are some thoughts from +Olivia about how we should be:

Calm: the opposite will lead us to do things which might impact seriously on others – like panic buying.

Caring: those who self-isolate, (those in high-risk groups, or who have been in contact with the virus) need to know that we care about them. Phone calls, messages, letters, cards, food left on the doorstep are all signs that we care.

Considerate: let’s look out for one another, and act collectively to prevent the spread. It isn’t just about me, it’s about us

And of course, Christ-like: let’s live hopefully, love generously and pray earnestly – and let’s bless each other by the way we behave.

The Diocesan website is regularly updated with information for churches:

Pastoral Care for those who are self-isolating or fall ill in the church or wider community

While many of us are part of groups who care well for each other already, we would urge you to look out for neighbours and friends at this time, and particularly those who are more frail or isolated. As Bishop Olivia writes “Phone calls, messages, letters, cards or food left on the doorstep are all signs that we care.” 

The guidelines mean that we are unable to visit anyone who is self-isolating until their isolation ends so instead, we are offering support by telephone and will do what we can to arrange for practical assistance.

Please contact Jonathan (01865 863702), or Sarah (01865 861541) in the Parish Office by email or telephone if you need to self-isolate so that we can coordinate pastoral support centrally. 

Jonathan Widdess

Vicar of Cumnor