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Bulletin no.5 - Friday 3 April

7 months, 4 weeks ago

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

1. Holy Week and Easter

As you are planning your own keeping of Holy Week and Easter we hope the following will be a resource for you and to your community.

Bishop Christopher will be celebrating services from the Chapel at Bishop’s House for the Diocese, coordinating with the Cathedral for the Great Three Days of the Triduum. 
The Chrism Eucharist at which the Bishop leads the clergy in the renewal of their ordination vows and blesses the oils for ministry will take place on Maundy Thursday 9 April at 11am.  It will be broadcast on a number of platforms and links will be sent out in advance of the service.  There will also be a downloadable PDF of the order of service for people to follow and for clergy to use for the renewal of their vows.  Should, however, clergy prefer to sit quietly at that time and renew their vows through their own prayers Bishop Christopher is very happy that this is done.

As soon as restrictions are lifted there will be a service for the Renewal of Ministry and Blessing of the Oils in the Cathedral.  The bishops hope that all clergy and others in ministry will gather on this occasion when we can affirm one another in our callings and give thanks for our life together in the Diocese. (At the service from his Chapel on Maundy Thursday the Bishop will bless a limited quantity of oils and then bless the oils for collection by you all at the service in the Cathedral later in the year.)


On Good Friday there will be the regular Morning Prayer at 9am and Night Prayer at 8pm from the Deanery, which will be streamed on the Cathedral’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/southwarkcathedral along with prayers from the Community of St Francis, Southwark. At noon, the Dean will lead the Stations of the Cross, which will be broadcast across a number of platforms. At 3pm, Bishop Christopher will read the Passion from the chapel in Bishop’s House for the Diocese and then say Prayers before the Cross.

The Easter Liturgy which will be broadcast from the Chapel at Bishop’s House on Easter Day, Sunday 12 April, at 11.00am.  Once again, this will be on a number of platforms and parishes are encouraged to join with the Bishop on this occasion.  In that service he will be blessing the Paschal Candle for use in the Cathedral. 

Holy Week is an important time of journeying for all Christians and this year we shall be making the journey spiritually in our homes: so it will be taking a different form for all of us.  But the path from Palm Sunday to Easter Day remains as important to travel as ever.  We are all encouraged to engage with it in whatever ways we can.  Online resources are already available on the Diocesan website by clicking here: https://southwark.anglican.org/downloads/holy_week_at_home_ely.pdf.

There are services every day from the Deanery at the Cathedral and a full programme can be found here: https://cathedral.southwark.anglican.org/visiting/holy-week-and-easter-from-southwark-cathedral. The Bishop hopes that the focus of all ministers, lay and ordained, can be on pastoral care and spiritual support as we journey through Holy Week and that meetings are kept to a minimum, avoiding the Triduum if at all possible. Bishop Christopher will be modelling this himself and will be holding us all in prayer as we make the Holy Week journey through death to resurrection. He asks that you hold in prayer all those affected by the Coronavirus and especially our chaplains, volunteers and NHS health workers, nursing and medical staff caring for increasing numbers.

There is some liturgical material for Holy Week and Easter on the Church of England website which can be found at

On Palm Sunday, 5 April, Bishop Christopher will be livestreaming a simple Eucharist for the Diocese at 9.30am from the chapel at Bishop’s House and this will be followed at 11am by a Eucharist, with the Reading of the Passion, broadcast from the Cathedral Deanery.

It has also been announced that the Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Revd David Walker, will lead a national 'virtual service of Holy Communion for Palm Sunday. This will be broadcast at 9am on the Church of England’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/thechurchofengland.

2. Clergy Wellbeing

As the novelty of spatial distancing wears off, clergy will be experiencing different emotional and physical responses to the situation in which we find ourselves. Some of you will be enjoying the technical challenges, others finding them overwhelming; some relishing the additional pastoral contact with parishioners, some finding it exhausting. As we look forward and recognise that the current situation is unlikely to change for some weeks, it may be helpful to take stock of your wellbeing and to make some adjustments. You may not be able to work at the same pace in the weeks ahead and might want to think about developing different rhythms. Please take the time to read this blog post from the Tragedy and Congregations Project, which offers some insight into the situation we all face https://tragedyandcongregations.org.uk/category/blog/. Please do also be aware of the helpful guidance provided by the Church of England here: https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2020-03/Guidance%20on%20mental%20health%20and%20wellbeing%20and%20Coronavirus.pdf. Above all, please ensure you take a day off each week, and encourage your colleagues to do the same.

3. Safeguarding Advice

The Diocesan Safeguarding Team have asked us to pass onto you this advice for working online safely with young people which has come from the National Church.   Please pass it on to those in your parishes who are responsible for staying in touch with your young people.  It can be found here: Advice for using video conferencing for youth work

4. Funerals

The CTG is very conscious that many of you have a great many questions about funerals at this time.  They are working with the Archdeacons of the Diocese to produce some materials which will seek to answer these questions and we hope that they will be ready in time for our next bulletin, early next week.

5. Emergency Support Fund for Civil Society Groups.

We thought that it might be helpful to draw your attention to this initiative from the Mayor of London which seeks to offer financial support to groups which provide food and/or essentials to communities affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and social distancing requirements. Requests for funding can be up to £5,000 and you may want to bring this to the attention of those groups in your community whom you know to be struggling. Information about the fund can be found here: www.london.gov.uk/coronavirus-civil-society

6. The Bridge      

In view of the restrictions placed upon us all by the coronavirus pandemic the decision has been made to publish the Bridge online only for the next few months.  The April edition can be found here: https://southwark.anglican.org/thebridge. We have attached a PDF version of the paper in case you wish to forward it to those who are not keen on reading it online, so that they could print it or have easy access to it. If you know of people who have no other access to it, and for whom this might be a lifeline, you could consider printing a copy and posting it to them.  We hope that you would feel able to drop them through their doors when you are out on your daily exercise offering them some contact with the church when they are unable to go out and cannot follow services online.  There are some wonderful stories in the paper of how people are helping their communities at this time and of God at work and we hope that these will be an encouragement to you and to them.  Please do let us know of initiatives that you are taking in your parish to care for others at this time so that we can share them in the Bridge and on our website and blogs.

May we take this opportunity to assure you of our prayers as together we enter Holy Week and Easter.



The Coronavirus Task Group

(Bishop Christopher, the Very Revd Andrew Nunn, the Venerable Alastair Cutting, Ruth Martin and the Revd Canon Wendy Robins)