Earlier this week The College of Bishops for the Diocese of London, released a statement and clarifications on the current situation regarding the coronavirus epidemic. This can be read here. In addition, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have released a Joint Letter today (Thursday 19 March) to all Clergy. This can be downloaded here. There are practical steps we can all take to protect ourselves and one another. Please read the below guidelines regarding praying in church at this time. These guidelines are continuously under review and are subject to change. Prayer in Church During the current epidemic, some churches will remain open for private prayer. This must not become an opportunity for groups to gather for informal times of communal prayer or to conduct public worship in any form. To make private prayer as safe as possible, the following guidance (Thursday 19 March) should be observed.
- Make sure those bits of the church that are touched often (door knobs, light switches etc) have been cleaned.
- If you have toilets or washing facilities, make sure you are using disposable paper towels, and that there is plenty of soap. Put up notices on hand hygiene.
- Have notices on the entrance doors reminding people of the Government advice on hygiene as well as asking them not to come into the church building if they have symptoms of COVID-19.
- Emphasise the importance of social distancing. Those who don’t already live together should sit at least 6 feet (2 metres) apart
- Remove holy water from stoups
- Discourage people from using shared pens/pencils/pads of paper etc if leaving prayer request notes. Wash hands before and after handling any such notes.
- Do not have hymn books, prayer books, notice sheets or bibles available for common use.
- If clergy are present, do not shake hands with people as they come in, leave, or at any other time