Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We hope you are keeping well. With Advent soon upon us, we thought it was timely to send a Bulletin. Updated guidance can be found on the Church of England website here https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2021-11/COVID%2019%20Guidance%20from%20the%2019th%20July%202021%20v2.1.pdf
The House of Bishops is allowing Communion to be restored in both kinds. Please read from page 6 on the link above for more detailed information. It states: “The common cup may now be shared, but the Bishops wish to make clear that, given continued potential risks to health, it remains permissible for the president to be the only person who receives Holy Communion in the form of wine.” Bishop Christopher understands fully the good reasons why many parishes will wish to administer in one kind for the time being in the context of the pandemic and gives his permission for this practice to continue until further notice. For those parishes offering Communion in both kinds he encourages thought to be given to ways in which it can be made clear that communicants wishing to receive in one kind have a choice to receive the host only if they wish.
As we approach the festive season, and increased numbers start coming to our churches, please be mindful of: numbers in church, how you manage events/services, distancing, masks and collections at Christmas. Please carry out risk assessments, when necessary, ensuring they are up to date.
The Bishop’s Advisor on Health, The Revd Andy Dovey, who is also hospital Chaplain Lead in Croydon, spoke to the Bishop’s Senior staff meeting recently about his serious concerns that many people are not vaccinated. This is particularly in the UKME community. He plans to meet with chaplains across the Diocese as well as stress that all volunteers within chaplaincies must be double vaccinated. Wherever possible, please continue to encourage people in your communities to have both vaccines and where applicable, booster jabs.
Legal Preliminaries for Postponed Weddings
Lockdowns and Covid restrictions have meant that a number of weddings were postponed and so, when you come to celebrate the rescheduled wedding, please do bear in mind that all the usual legal preliminaries need to be observed in order to ensure that the marriage is valid. In particular, if it is a marriage by banns, the rescheduled ceremony must take place within three months of the last time the banns were published. If it is more than three months since the banns were published, then they will either need to be published again over the course of three Sundays prior to the wedding or you would need to obtain a licence if possible.
Every Sunday during Advent Bishops Jonathan, Richard and Karowei, and Dean Andrew, will be providing Advent prayers in the form of a social media poster. Bishop Christopher will cover Christmas. Please look out for them. They will be shared on our Twitter and Facebook pages and posted to the website. Feel free to download and use them during this season.
We hope that you will find this information useful and wish you a blessed Advent season when it comes.
The Coronavirus Task Group
(Bishop Christopher, the Very Revd Andrew Nunn, the Venerable Alastair Cutting, Ruth Martin and Sophia Jones)