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Coronavirus: Guidance for Parishes

This page was last updated Friday 27th March 2020.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for parishes

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have written to all clergy confirming the complete closure of church buildings.

Prayers can be said by clergy and ministers on behalf of everyone and churches should consider ways of sharing this with the wider community. See more below on digital resources that are under development and currently available.

Read more in this press release from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, published on Tuesday 24 March 2020.

The Dean of Southwark has written the following prayers which you may wish to use:

A prayer in lockdown

The doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked. (John 20.19)

Ever present God,
be with us in our isolation,
be close to us in our distancing,
be healing in our sickness,
be joy in our sadness,
be light in our darkness,
be wisdom in our confusion,
be all that is familiar when all is unfamiliar,
that when the doors reopen
we may with the zeal of Pentecost
inhabit our communities
and speak of your goodness
to an emerging world.
For Jesus’ sake.

Please pray for all who are involved in the response to this crisis worldwide.

Loving God,
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.


Worshipping at home during the Coronavirus episode

Individuals and families unable to join public worship may find some of these resources helpful. 

Guidance and resources for taking your church online, as well as a list of churches currently using live-streaming or YouTube, is available at southwark.anglican.org/churchonline.

Daily prayer resources from the Church of England, and links to worship apps can be found here:


The National Children and Youth department have assembled some resources here:

http://www.going4growth.com/growth_in_faith_and_worship/faith-in-the-home, with a Worship at Home sheet available to download.  


We continue to pray for those who have been deeply affected by Coronavirus, in this country and around the world, and for all those involved in treating people and preventing the spread of infection, and those who are feeling anxious at this time.


The advice to follow good hygiene practices continues, including: 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. This is particularly important after taking public transport. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • If you feel unwell, stay at home, do not attend work or school.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home and work environment.

Further information about the virus and advice to people who have the symptoms is available through, https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Information from CofE website: https://www.churchofengland.org/coronavirus

Parishes should check this link regularly for updated guidance.