CORONA VIRUS AND CHRIST CHURCH, SHOOTERS HILL
At Christ Church we are passionate about people’s well-being. This concerns their physical well-being as well as their spiritual well-being.
The government, the Church of England and Southwark Diocese have issued guidelines to help contain the spread of COVID 19. The warden asked people, last Sunday, to come and talk to her about these guidelines, but no one made use of that opportunity.
I have now met with the warden and the deputy warden and together we have agreed on what these guidelines mean for us at Christ Church. There may be those who feel that the measures we have agreed to adopt are unnecessary and an overreaction, but I hope that you will understand our need to try to keep people as safe as possible. There are certain ‘risk’ moments during church services and we want to try and manage those as best we can.
The measures we have agreed on are:
We ask people to refrain from physical contact. Please, do not shake hands with people or hug them. This way, no one will feel that it would be rude not to shake hands. Instead of shaking hands you could wave at someone or sign ‘hello’ or ‘peace be with you.’ This applies at all times: before the service, after the service and during the peace.
We ask people not to intinct the host. There are more germs on our fingers than on our lips, because once we are 18 months or over we tend to touch more things with our hands than with our lips. Any host will have two sets of bacteria on it: yours and mine. When dipped in the wine, those bacteria are transferred to the wine. The Church of England strongly discourages intincting, not just during this coronavirus outbreak, but at any time. If you do not want to drink the wine, perhaps you could consider receiving in one kind, i.e. receiving just the bread and not the wine.
We are re-introducing alcoholic communion wine. We decided some years ago that it would be more inclusive to have non-alcoholic communion wine because this makes it easier for children, pregnant women and those struggling with alcohol dependency issues to receive communion in both kinds. However, certainly during the COVID 19 outbreak, we feel it is better to offer alcoholic wine, as the alcohol makes drinking from the chalice more hygienic. If you are uncomfortable with you (or your child) drinking alcoholic wine, do please consider receiving in one kind. We will review this new policy at a later date and decide whether to return to non-alcoholic wine. Do let us know what you think.
We would encourage all of you, for the time-being, to receive communion in one kind only. So, please, receive just the host and not the wine. Receiving in one kind is sufficient. Most Roman Catholics only ever receive in one kind. We will continue to offer the chalice, because we would like you to have a choice, but we would urge you to receive only the host.
We have tried to buy hand sanitiser, but have been unsuccessful. Instead, we have bought the ingredients to make our own. This sanitiser will contain isopropyl alcohol and pure aloe vera gel. We will make this sanitiser available in church. You are welcome to use it, but I must stress that you do so at your own risk. If you are allergic to either ingredient, please, do not use the sanitiser.
Many thanks for your understanding and co-operation.
Let’s pray for all those who are affected, in whatever way, by this virus.