Clergy are being advised not to share the chalice and to encourage worshippers not to shake hands during the ‘Sign of the Peace’ in services, as part of updated guidance on coronavirus issued by the Church of England.

A letter from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York advises priests to suspend the use of the shared chalice – known as the ‘common cup’ – as well as physical contact during the sharing of the peace when traditionally worshippers turn to each other during a service and shake hands.

The Archbishops are also advising that priests should suspend direct physical contact as part of a blessing or ‘laying on of hands’.

The Archbishops say that from today when they preside at Communion services in their official residences – Lambeth Palace in London and Bishopthorpe in York – they will give communion in one kind only – bread – and they will not share the peace or lay on hands for blessings.

In their letter, they call for prayers and pay tribute to the ‘dedication, expertise and hard work’ of health service staff and those in leadership roles in the face of the continued increase in the number of Covid-19 cases.

They urge communities to pay particular attention to the needs of the elderly, the vulnerable and the isolated.  They tell clergy in the letter:

“We want to assure you all of our prayers and thoughts as across the country, communities consider what steps they can take to care and support one another.”

“We are certain that plans are being made around the country to care in particular for the elderly, vulnerable and the isolated; it is crucial that we give attention to those most at risk.”

The Archbishops’ letter adds to advice already issued by the Church of England to parishes on coronavirus. Churches have been encouraged to download and display the NHS poster ‘Catch it, Bin, it Kill it’ on coughs and sneezes and to follow Public Health England advice on washing hands.

Parishes have been advised to place hand sanitisers in church entrances for congregations to use before the start of services and ensure ministers of the Eucharist (Communion) sanitise their hands before and after distributing communion.

Married to the amazing Sarah and raising Jakey, Daniel, Amelia, Josh & Jonah in our blended family. Passionate for Jesus, social work & sport.

0 thoughts on “Cape Town 2010: What about suburbia?”

  1. Great and painful truth……. “the UK suburbia is full of apathy and confusion.” Hoping like you, there’s some thinking, solutions and ministry energy given to suburbia in the months and years to come…..

  2. I so agree. I live in suburbia and feel the same tension. My family did better on the mission field in suburban France than we do in the United States. Perhaps it should simply be a clarion call back to the true ministry of hospitality.

  3. JD – Thanks – certainly it’s a key issue for the UK

    Mary – I think hospitality would be a contributing help, but I think there’s something bigger about the church working out how community is done in the 21st century, and then leading Christians in that.

  4. great question chris. i live in suburbia too and the students i work with are all of course suburban. i think we’ve got a ton of potential in the suburbs. for our context specifically, it deals very affluent families, very well educated people, and a high degree of achievement. just with those three ideas – we are sitting on a ton of potential with students to make an impact. that’s part of why i’m motivated to catalyze students here.

    i know two other guys that have done some good thinking with regard to a theology of the suburbs:
    todd hiestand has done some writing on this

    steve mckoy :

    great question.

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