CORONA VIRUS AND CHRIST CHURCH, SHOOTERS HILL -- UPDATE
I hope you have had a chance to read my previous letter.
The situation has changed since I wrote that. The rate of infection seems to be increasing and more people have died of the disease. Our prayers are with all those who have lost loved ones, those who are ill themselves and those who are having to isolate themselves.
At the time of writing it would appear that there are only two confirmed cases in Greenwich. It is still important to take appropriate measures and try to ensure we all stay as safe as possible.
The Church of England has updated its guidelines. These guidelines include not offering the chalice to the congregation. The priest will consecrate a small amount of wine and consume this, but the chalice won’t be offered to anyone else. Last week, most people chose to receive in one kind only, so I hope that this means that no one will object to receiving in one kind only over the next few weeks. Receiving in one kind (bread only) still means that you will have received communion. It is sufficient to receive in one kind only. Lots of Roman Catholics rarely, if ever, receive the wine. In case any of you are wondering whether we should use individual cups instead, the Archbishops have stressed that the distribution of individual cups I not a lawful practice in the Church of England.
It is also very important that everyone refrains from shaking hands, either when greeting or saying goodbye or when sharing the peace.
The hall will be open on Sunday mornings and there is hot water and soap available there. Please, consider washing your hands there before entering the church building.
There will also be hand sanitiser available inside the building. Please note that this is home-made hand sanitiser. It consists of two ingredients: isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) and aloe vera gel. Please do not use if you are allergic to either or both of those ingredients. Hand sanitisers aren’t suitable for small children. You will be offered the chance to use hand sanitiser as you go up to communion.
We will not be passing round a collection plate anymore. Instead we will ask people to come forward with their donation and put it on the plate, as we do at our All Age Services.
We will also be suspending tea and coffee after the service. Feel free to go into the hall to chat to each other, but we won’t be providing cups of tea and coffee, because cups being handled by more than one person can help spread the virus.
We will be emptying the Holy Water from the font. You could still make the sign of the cross and remember your baptism, but without the use of holy water.
I know that these measures are an inconvenience and the virus probably won’t affect most of us much, but it is important to keep those who are more vulnerable to the virus as safe as we possibly can.
Finally, there may be people near you who are isolating themselves, either because they may have come into contact with the virus and they are trying to keep others safe or because they are afraid for their own health and are trying to keep themselves safe. Please, could I ask you to keep an eye and ear out for people who are isolating themselves and see if you can offer to take food to them (leave it on the doorstep – don’t go inside)? If you know of anyone, but are unable to offer support, do let us know and we will try and find a way to support those people.
Many thanks for your support and cooperation.