At the time of writing, we are all in a state of anxiety and uncertainty over the coronavirus. What was news footage emanating from China, and then more recently in Iran and Italy, is now beginning to come very close to home. The Church of England has advised churches only to distribute the wafer at communion, and not the chalice, as well as refraining from physical contact at the Peace. After service coffee is also being suspended for the time being.
Some events have been cancelled, and others are being thought about. I would urge you to please refer to our website, which has coronavirus information on the front page, for further and up to date details.
Of course, this is very worrying, and we do feel for those who are affected by the virus, especially for the most vulnerable in our communities, as well as those taking decisions concerning restricting, as far as possible, the spread of the virus. It all seems very surreal: presiding at the holy communion today, I was very conscious of the strangeness of not offering the chalice. It felt like something was missing. But one of our congregation said that it was like taking the sacrifice into our service, as if this clear and obvious restriction was acting as a liturgical reminder of the other things we are having to face at the moment: restricted movements, cancelled events, and so on. I found that very helpful, even though it didn’t ease the strangeness of it.
Oftentimes we face crises as individuals, where we are negotiating a particularly difficult period while life around us carries on as normal. This is different because we are all affected, and whilst this may give us a sense of powerlessness in the face of an invisible threat, there is also a sense that we are all in it together. That, I hope and pray, will give us a sense of mutual regard and care as we enter what is probably the biggest health-scare in a generation.
Please be assured of the prayers at everyone at the cathedral.
source of healing and comfort,
fill us with your grace,
that the sick may be made whole,
that those who care for us may be strengthened,
that the anxious may be calmed,
and those most vulnerable be protected
in the power of Spirit
in the faith of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Visit the cathedral Coronavirus Guidance page