With the increasing spread of the coronavirus, there is some concern about how this may affect us as church. The Bishop has published the following guidelines: “We should always follow good public health and hygiene habits. For public worship, the Bishop advises:
1. Wash hands, particularly celebrants (I am doing this).
2. Use hand sanitizers. (As soon as we can get some more, we will make more of them available around the church building.)
3. Staying away when feeling unwell. (Some common sense has to be used. If we were to get alarmed at every sniffle and niggly pain, the church would be nearly empty most Sundays. There certainly would be no Sunday school and the pulpit would also be empty many a Sunday. But if you are unwell, it is better to rest at home.)
4. Purificators must be appropriately used when taking from the common cup.
5. It is the advice of the Bishop of Christchurch that intinction is not an acceptable practice for public worship when there is concern about the spread of a contagious disease. A combination of current literature and expert medical advice concludes that sipping from the common cup and sharing a handshake represent minimal risk of transmission of contagion and fall within the parameters of the normal risks of daily living. On the other hand, the practice of intinction is a higher risk activity; fingertips coming in contact with the bread which is then dipped in the wine
or fingertips coming in direct contact with a the wine may contaminate the shared wine with pathogens other than those found in saliva. It is also possible to just take the bread.”
(At St Paul’s many parishioners practice intinction. For the time being, we will continue to have
a separate cup for those wanting to intinct, as it is better than sharing a cup between those intincting and those sipping from the cup.)
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:25