Thinking Anglicans

Anglicans respond to the crisis in Ukraine

Anglican responses to the Ukrainian crisis include the following.

The archbishops of the Church of England issued a Pastoral letter from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, together with A Prayer for Ukraine, and urged that Churches prepare for National Day of Prayer for Ukraine. Ely Cathedral provided a translation into Ukrainian.
The Archbishop of York also spoke about Ukraine in a debate in the House of Lords.

The Scottish Episcopal Church issued Primus on Ukraine crisis: “Let us pray today for peace”.

The Church in Wales issued Ukraine – A statement from the Archbishop of Wales, Andrew John

The Church of Ireland has published Prayers in a time of war in Ukraine.

The Diocese in Europe has a chaplaincy in Kyiv and several in Russia, and has issued this invitation Prayers Across Europe for Peace in Ukraine (includes Youtube link):

All are invited to join together for
Prayers Across Europe for Peace in Ukraine

Tuesday 1st March
1800gmt / 1900cet / 2000eet (Kyiv) / 2100gmt+3 (Moscow)

Led by: Bishop Robert Innes
With
Rev’d Canon Malcolm Rogers, Chaplain of St Andrew’s, Moscow and Area Dean of Russia and Ukraine and Representatives of Christ Church, Kyiv

Also there is Bishop Robert Prays for Ukraine (for Chaplaincy Service use) which includes a video link.

Earlier, the CofE published ‘Please pray for peace for Ukraine’: the Church of England congregation which meets in Kyiv.

There is much discussion about the religious aspects of the dispute. Commenters include:

Church Times reports:

Church of England ditches shares in Russian firms

‘A repeat of Cain’s sin’: Orthodox leaders condemn Russian attack on Ukraine

Ukraine invasion is ‘a call to action’, Cottrell tells Lords

Ukraine invasion: Church leaders and charities react with horror and dismay

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Assistant Bishop of Bangor announced

News from the Church in Wales

Assistant Bishop of Bangor announced

One of the first women to become a priest in the Church in Wales will be consecrated as a bishop next month.

Mary Stallard, who has served as Archdeacon of Bangor for the past four years, has been nominated as Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Bangor. She will share the leadership of the diocese while the Bishop of Bangor, Andrew John, serves as Archbishop of Wales.

Mary will be consecrated as a bishop at Bangor Cathedral on February 26. The new Bishop of Swansea and Brecon, John Lomas, will also be consecrated at that service…

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Monmouth Enquiry and Review Report

Update There are reports in the Church Times: Monmouth review: Archbishop of Wales apologises and Review lists catalogue of errors in Monmouth and the Church in Wales.

The Church in Wales has published the Monmouth Enquiry and Review report today in a news item which is copied below.

The full (but redacted) report is here, and there is an overview here. There is also a statement from the current Bishop of Monmouth.

Monmouth Enquiry and Review Report

Provincial news Posted: 13 December 2021

In May 2020 the Bench of Bishops and the Representative Body of the Church in Wales established an Enquiry and Review into the events surrounding the retirement of the Rt Revd Richard Pain as Bishop of Monmouth in April 2019, and to review the procedures followed and decisions made by all those involved.

The Enquiry and Review Panel was chaired by the Rt Revd Graham James and the other members were Lucinda Herklots and Patricia Russell.

The Panel’s report has now been published, together with an overview of it written on behalf of the commissioners by the then Senior Bishop, now Archbishop, the Most Revd Andrew John, and the former chair of the Representative Body, James Turner. The overview explains that the report has been partially redacted in order to protect the anonymity of some of those involved.

The Commissioners commit to implementing the report’s recommendations quickly and comprehensibly. They also apologise profoundly for the Church’s failures highlighted in the report and, in particular, to those whose reputations, ministries and working life were damaged as these events unfolded.

In December 2018, the Church in Wales issued a statement which was included in an article in the Western Mail on 22 December and subsequently reused in a number of media reports. This statement had not been agreed with the members of the Diocese of Monmouth senior team and caused them considerable distress. It was misleading. The Church in Wales formally withdraws the statement and unreservedly apologizes for the hurt and distress it caused.

MONMOUTH ENQUIRY AND REVIEW REPORT AND COMMISSIONERS’ OVERVIEW

The Review Panel

Graham James was Bishop of Norwich from 1999 to 2019. He chaired the independent Paterson Inquiry which reported to Her Majesty’s Government in February this year.

Lucinda Herklots was Diocesan Secretary of the Diocese of Salisbury for nearly 15 years until November 2018. She is currently a Chapter member of Salisbury Cathedral and a governor of the local NHS hospital trust.

Patricia Russell is an ecclesiastical lawyer specialising in human resources and safeguarding matters. She was deputy registrar to the Dioceses of Winchester and Salisbury from 2014 to 2019.

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Archbishop of Wales elected

The electoral college of the Church in Wales met today in Llandrindod Wells and elected Andy John, Bishop of Bangor, as the 14th Archbishop of Wales by a two-thirds majority.

Andy John has been Bishop of Bangor for 13 years and is currently the longest-serving bishop on the Welsh bench.

More details on the Church in Wales website, and a recording of the announcement of the election is here.

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First Same-Sex Blessing in Church in Wales

The BBC reports that following recent approval by the Governing Body of the Church in Wales, the civil partnership of a priest in Llangollen and his partner was today blessed in a service led by the Bishop of St Asaph. It is believed to be the first such service in the Church in Wales. The Scottish Episcopal Church became the first Anglican church in the UK to allow same-sex marriages in 2017.

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next Bishop of Swansea and Brecon

News from the Church in Wales

Former Navy aircraft engineer appointed Bishop

An aircraft engineer, who served in the Royal Navy during the Falklands War, will be the next Bishop of Swansea and Brecon.

The Archdeacon of Wrexham, John Lomas, has been chosen as the 10th Bishop of Swansea and Brecon, a diocese which stretches south to the coast of the Gower and north into much of mid-Wales…

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News and comment on Church in Wales vote to bless same-sex marriages

News

Church Times Welsh agree to same-sex blessings in church

BBC Church in Wales to give blessings for same-sex marriages

The Telegraph The Church in Wales to bless gay marriages

The Guardian Church in Wales votes to bless same-sex marriages

Comment

Equal The Church in Wales will bless same-sex marriages and civil partnerships

Charlie Bell Equal A fly on the wall

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Church in Wales approves blessing service for same-sex partnerships

Update – news and comment on this are being link in a separate article.

Press release from the Church in Wales

Church approves blessing service for same-sex partnerships
Provincial news Posted: 6 September 2021

Same-sex couples will be able to have their civil partnership or marriage blessed in Church in Wales churches for the first time after new legislation was passed today (September 6).

A Bill to authorise a service of blessing was approved by members of the Church’s Governing Body at its meeting. It was passed by the necessary two-thirds majority in each order of the three orders – Bishops, clergy and laity.

The service will be used experimentally for five years and it will be up to individual clergy to decide whether or not they wish to lead it.

The service is for a blessing only as same-sex couples are unable to marry in church.

The Bill was introduced by the Bishops, following an indication from Governing Body members that it was “pastorally unsustainable” for the Church to make no formal provision for those in committed same-sex relationships.

Responding to the vote, the Bishop of St Asaph, Gregory Cameron, who introduced the Bill, said, “I come out of this debate with no sense of triumph but believing that the Church in Wales has done the right thing under God for the LGBTQIA+ community. The Church has spoken decisively today in favour of blessings.

There is a journey still to be taken but I hope that we can do it together with all the wings of the Church.”
The Bishops passed the Bill unanimously, the clergy by 28 to 12 with two abstentions and the laity by 49 to 10 with one abstention.

The discussion and vote was held on the first day of the Governing Body meeting at the International Convention Centre Wales in Newport. The second day of the meeting will take place online only, via Zoom, on Wednesday, September 8 and will also be live-streamed.

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Church in Wales to consider same-sex blessings

Press Release from Church in Wales

Governing Body meeting – September 6 and 8

Same-sex couples will be able to have their civil partnership or marriage blessed in Church in Wales churches for the first time if new legislation is passed next month (September).

A Bill to authorise a service of blessing will be considered by members of the Church’s Governing Body at its meeting on September 6.

It proposes that the service be used experimentally for five years and that it will be up to individual clergy to decide whether or not they wish to lead it.

The service is for a blessing only as same-sex couples are unable to marry in church.

The Bill is being introduced by the Bishops, following an indication from Governing Body members that it was now “pastorally unsustainable” for the Church to make no formal provision for those in committed same-sex relationships.

In the Explanatory Memorandum they say, “Approval of this rite would be stating that the Church in Wales accepts that the loving and faithful commitment of two persons of the same sex, aspiring to life-long fidelity and mutual comfort, and who have made a commitment in civil partnership or marriage, is worthy of acceptance by the Church by asking God’s blessing upon their commitment.”

While recognising that the Bill is controversial, they describe it as a “step on the way towards repentance of a history in the Church which has demonised and persecuted gay and lesbian people, forcing them into fear, dishonesty and sometimes even hypocrisy, and which has precluded them from living publicly and honestly lives of committed partnership.”

The bishops are urging Governing Body members to debate the Bill in a respectful and dignified way, acknowledging that it will raise difficult issues of faith and belief. They have issued a set of ‘Pastoral Principles’ intended to guide people towards thoughtful and considerate discussions.

Introducing them they say, “There can be no room for seeking to undermine sincerely held views. Neither should we seek to walk away from each other. Our union in Christ is at the heart of our life and the bonds and character of our baptism hold us together; sharing a commitment to each other as together we seek the Kingdom of God. We hope these materials will stimulate this quality of engagement.”

The Bill will be discussed on the first day of the Governing Body meeting which takes place on September 6 at the International Convention Centre Wales in Newport and will be live-streamed via a link on the Church in Wales website and Youtube channel. The second day of the meeting will take place online only, via Zoom, on Wednesday, September 8 and will also be live-streamed.

The full agenda and all reports are online at: https://www.churchinwales.org.uk/en/about-us/governing-body/meetings/

The meeting will be live-streamed via a link on the Church in Wales website at www.churchinwales.org.uk and YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/churchinwales

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Paul Overend: CofE never had CDM jurisdiction

Readers will recall the case of Canon Paul Overend, Chancellor of Lincoln Cathedral which we reported on 14 June, Safeguarding process finally concluded for Lincoln Canon. As we noted then, he had been acquitted of any criminal charge by a Cardiff jury in December last year. But it now transpires that there was no legal basis for any subsequent action under the Clergy Discipline Measure which took over five months to conclude.

The situation is fully explained in this CDM Overend Note from the Deputy President of Tribunals, dated 6 July.

Update

The Church Times has a full report here: Lincoln CDM was out of order, judge admits concluding as follows:

…Canon Overend was suspended for more than two years, and spoke in June about how he and his wife had contemplated suicide (News, 14 June). Bishop Lowson was suspended for 20 months, finally being allowed back to work in February after an apology (News, 1 February). Archbishop Welby said then: “We have both agreed that there are many lessons we and the Church need to learn from this very difficult season.” It is understood that a formal investigation of the whole Lincoln saga has been initiated.

Canon Overend said on Monday: “I am unable to comment at present, as an independent investigation has now begun into the handling of events at Lincoln, following the complaints submitted by my wife and others. This investigation is likely to take some months.”

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Archbishop of Wales to retire in May

News today from the Church in Wales

Archbishop of Wales to retire in May

The Archbishop of Wales, John Davies, is to retire in May after four years as leader of the Church in Wales.

Archbishop John, who will shortly celebrate his 68th birthday, has also served as Bishop of Swansea and Brecon for the past 13 years. The 13th Archbishop of Wales, he was also the first Bishop of Swansea and Brecon to be elected as Archbishop. He will retire from both roles on May 2…

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Church in Wales proposals for blessings after same-sex marriages

The Governing Body of the Church in Wales has published on this page its proposals for: A Bill to authorise experimental use of proposed revisions of the Book of Common Prayer (service of Blessing following a Civil Partnership or Marriage between two people of the same sex).

The documents are all in MS Word format:

The covering letter is copied in full below the fold.
A PDF version of the Explanatory Memorandum (in English only) is available here: Explanatory_Memorandum.

(more…)

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Primates unite to sign letter opposing UK internal market bill

This letter to the editor of the Financial Times has been signed by:

The Archbishop of Armagh
The Archbishop of Canterbury
The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church
The Archbishop of Wales
The Archbishop of York

As the Anglican primates of the four nations of the United Kingdom and Ireland, we wish to highlight the grave responsibility of peers in the House of Lords today as they debate the UK internal market bill (Report, October 15).

We are taking the rare step of writing together because the decisions implemented in this bill will profoundly affect the future of our countries and the relationships between them.

The bill represents a profound shift in how trading relationships within the UK will be regulated and governed. This will not be a return to a trade regime that existed before UK joined the EU; it will be an entirely novel system, replacing one that evolved slowly and by careful negotiation over decades.

The Scottish Parliament and Welsh Senedd have made clear that the bill’s weakening of both the principles and the effect of devolved policymaking is of constitutional significance. Moreover, if the bill is made law without consent from devolved legislatures (as will happen if it is not amended to address their concerns), this will further undermine trust and goodwill among those who govern the different parts of the UK.

The bill is, of course, not just concerned with domestic law. It currently asks the country’s highest lawmaking body to equip a government minister to break international law. This has enormous moral, as well as political and legal, consequences.

We believe this would create a disastrous precedent. It is particularly disturbing for all of us who feel a sense of duty and responsibility to the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement — that international treaty on which peace and stability within and between the UK and Ireland depends.

The UK negotiated the Northern Ireland Protocol with the EU to “protect the 1998 Agreement in all its dimensions”.

One year on, in this bill, the UK government is not only preparing to break the protocol, but also to breach a fundamental tenet of the agreement: namely by limiting the incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights in Northern Ireland law.

If carefully negotiated terms are not honoured and laws can be “legally” broken, on what foundations does our democracy stand?

We urge lawmakers to consider this bill in the light of values and principles we would wish to characterise relationships across these islands long after the transition period.

The Most Reverend John McDowell, Archbishop of Armagh
The Most Reverend Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
The Most Reverend Mark Strange, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church
The Most Reverend John Davies, Archbishop of Wales
The Most Reverend Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York

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More about the IICSA report

Updated

See also Wednesday’s Opinion roundup.

Church Times Julie Conalty Comment: the IICSA report sheds light on darkness in the Church.

Religion Media Centre: Church of England concerned for its reputation rather than dealing with child sex abusers and the video recording of the media briefing (chaired by Andrew Brown) is here: Damning report says Church of England more concerned for reputation than dealing with sex abusers. (40 minutes, but well worth the time to watch).

Giles Fraser UnHerd Can the Church solve its paedophile problem?

Open letter regarding IICSA to the parish of St Margaret’s Rainham: Also in a PDF here.

Updates Friday

The Church Times today has a great deal more material related to the IICSA report:

Religion Media Centre also has Fact Sheet Abuse and the Church of England – timeline.

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IICSA publishes report on Anglican Church

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has published its long-awaited report on the Church of England and the Church in Wales. The report totals 154 pages.

Here is a link to the Recommendations section of the report. And here is a link to the Executive Summary.

Press releases:

Initial media coverage:

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Churches launch Safe Spaces project

Church of England press release: Safe Spaces launches to offer support to survivors

A new service providing vital support for survivors of church-related abuse has become operational today.

Safe Spaces, commissioned by the Anglican and Catholic Churches in England and Wales, will be run by Victim Support, a national charity with a track record of providing survivor support.

Safe Spaces is a free and independent support service, providing a confidential, personal and safe space for anyone who has been abused through their relationship with either the Church of England, Church in Wales or the Catholic Church of England and Wales.

Safe Spaces comprises a team of trained support advocates, who have undergone specialist training in supporting survivors of sexual violence and who have received additional specific training in how the churches respond to abuse cases, the way in which faith and church-related settings have been used to carry out abuse, and the particular issues affecting people who have had or still have, a relationship with the church.

The service is for those who may have experienced any form abuse, including sexual abuse, physical abuse, financial abuse, psychological abuse (including spiritual abuse), domestic abuse, coercive and controlling behaviour.

The Bishop of Southampton, Debbie Sellin, Deputy Lead Safeguarding Bishop for the Church of England, said: “I’m delighted that this service will shortly be available to offer support and advice to survivors of abuse.

“I want to express my thanks to all those who have helped to bring the project together, particularly the survivors who have given of their time and energy.

“In Victim Support, we have an excellent operational lead, and we look forward to continuing a constructive partnership with then as well as the other denominations involved.

“I commend the service for use and hope colleagues will do all they can to promote it locally.”

The service will run for an initial two years, with a view to extending this. It has been paid for by the Catholic and Anglican churches involved, supported by a grant from Allchurches Trust.

CBCEW press release: Launch of ‘Safe Spaces’ includes a link to this Briefing Paper.

Victim Support press release: Victim Support launches Safe Spaces for survivors of church-related abuse

Victim Support (VS) has today (29 September) launched its new service, Safe Spaces, a joint Anglican and Catholic Church in England and Wales (CCEW) project to provide a vital support service for survivors of church-related abuse.

Safe Spaces is a free and independent support service, providing a confidential, personal and safe space for anyone who has been abused through their relationship with either the Church of England, the Catholic Church of England and Wales or the Church in Wales.

The service comprises a team of trained support advocates, who have undergone specialist training in supporting survivors of sexual violence. They have received specific training in how the churches respond to abuse cases, the way in which faith and church-related settings have been used to carry out abuse, and the particular issues affecting people who have had or still have, a relationship with the church…

Safe Spaces website

Safe Spaces is a free and independent support service, providing a confidential, personal and safe space for anyone who has been abused through their relationship with either the Church of England, the Catholic Church of England and Wales or the Church in Wales.

Victim Support have been commissioned to run this national service, providing remote support through our helpline, live chat serviceand website. Remote support is provided for as long as the survivor needs.  This can be advocating for the survivor, giving them support, providing information (including information on church and police procedures), understanding individual needs and jointly working on individual support plans.  If face-to-face support is also required, contact and referrals will be made with appropriate local organisations depending on need…

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Law Commission consults on wedding law

The Law Commission has issued a public consultation paper on reforming the law in England and Wales relating to the conduct of weddings. The press release is here.

The consultation paper is here:
Getting Married: A Consultation Paper on Weddings Law.
The consultation questionnaire is linked from this page.
Links to Welsh versions and other related documents are here.

The consultation document is very long indeed, but there is a helpful precis of what it is about here:
Law & Religion UK Reforming wedding law in England & Wales.

There are some media reports here:
Church Times Law Commission suggests sweeping marriage reforms
Religion Media Centre Wedding reform proposals allow humanist legally binding ceremonies

And there is some theological comment on the topic by Nicholas Henshall at Via Media Worldly Weddings – To Bless or Not to Bless?

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Churches deal with the Covid-19 lockdown

Updated 6 pm Thursday

With reference to the stories below about hospital chaplaincy, the bishops who signed the previous document, linked below, have published A letter regarding hospital chaplaincy. The content of this new letter is copied here below the fold.

————

The Church Times today has a comprehensive report:  Churches co-ordinate their CV-19 response as figures go on rising.

The Telegraph reports:(£) Archbishop of Canterbury says Jesus is ‘quite up to date’ with technology and urges churches to stay closed. The video mentioned was published here yesterday.

The bishops of the Church in Wales have published this guidance on the matter of livestreaming from church buildings:

…All church buildings remain closed until further notice. This means churches must not be open for public worship or solitary prayer.

Worship has been recorded and broadcast both commendably and effectively from parsonages over recent days. Whilst the Welsh Government Regulations now permit a cleric to record or broadcast a service (without a congregation) from church buildings, the desirability and advisability of doing so will vary between different contexts. Individual Bishops will advise further on this matter within their respective dioceses and any such events should be held only in strict accordance with those diocesan guidelines, or with the explicit permission of the diocesan Bishop.

The Welsh Government Regulations also permit clergy to visit their churches, and for other church officers and volunteers to visit churches only to undertake a voluntary or charitable duty, where it is not reasonably practicable to undertake that duty from home. It is therefore possible for essential and urgent site inspections to be undertaken by clerics, or by another person nominated by the Incumbent, Ministry/Mission Area Leader, Area Dean or Archdeacon. We ask that such visits are kept to an absolute minimum…

The Times has this report (£):  Coronavirus: Bishop bans clergy from bedsides of the sick and dying

Members of the Church of England clergy who have volunteered their services as hospital chaplains during the crisis have been told that they will not be allowed to minister to any sick or dying patients at the bedside, even when wearing protective equipment, because of the risk of spreading the infection.

In a letter sent to all bishops and those involved in chaplaincy provision, the Right Rev Stephen Cottrell, the Bishop of Chelmsford, under whose authority the new Nightingale Hospital in east London falls, wrote of the need to maintain “extremely strict discipline regarding contact”. He said that volunteer chaplains would be banned from going on wards or near patients, including those not displaying symptoms of Covid-19…

The Church Times also covers this: Volunteers’ help for stretched hospital chaplains to be tightly restricted

CLERICS who have volunteered to become temporary chaplains in emergency field hospitals in London during the coronavirus crisis have been advised not to have any direct contact with patients, even when wearing protective equipment.

The new guidance was issued by the Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, this week in a letter to diocesan and area bishops and others involved in chaplaincy provision. It has been produced in consultation with the Barts Health NHS Trust, which is hosting the recently opened 4000-bed Nightingale Hospital in Newham (News, 9 April)…

Here is the full text of the letter mentioned above: NHS – Nightingale Hospitals – Barts 2020.

The Church Times report continues:

…In an article in The Times on Thursday, the Rector of St Bartholomew the Great, Smithfield, in London, the Revd Marcus Walker, wrote that other denominations had found ways of “safely recruiting and dispatching people to minister to their own faithful — and quite rightly.

“It is only the Established Church which has decided not to allow the upscaling of its presence. The two chaplains, divided (by some miracle) over five different locations, and working all hours of day and night, will have to engage in this desperately important but hugely challenging ministry by themselves.”

Last week, the lead chaplain for chaplaincy and spiritual care with bereavement services at Croydon University Hospital, the Revd Andrew Dovey, said that providing God’s grace in all situations, regardless of the risk, was “the calling that Christ gave [chaplains] and our Christian responsibility” (News, 3 April).

Fr Walker writes that the new advice goes against this calling. “Today we are banned from doing this, not by a hostile government or a suspicious health service but by our own Church.”

The Times opinion article by Marcus Walker quoted above can be found here: (£) Clergy must be free to minister to the sick in this crisis.

(more…)

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Other British Anglicans suspend public worship

The Scottish Episcopal Church published this earlier today (i.e. well before the Church of England announcement): Coronavirus – Cessation of Church Services

The Church in Wales published this at 5.00 pm: Pastoral Declaration of the Bench of Bishops of the Church in Wales – COVID-19. it includes guidance about baptism, weddings, funerals and confirmations.

The Church of Ireland guidance page remains dated 28 February. However it links to the Irish Health Protection Surveillance Centre page dated 5 March, Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for religious services.
But there is also a link to Advice to Clergy (Northern Province) dated 17 March, which says ( my summary, but read the whole page for more detail):

1. Until further notice, all parish organisations and activities should cease.
2. Until further notice, all Sunday and midweek services (gatherings for worship) should be suspended.
3. Until further notice, steps should be taken to ensure that numbers attending funeral services and weddings are kept as low as possible.

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Church of England advice on Coronavirus

The official Church of England website page, which is being updated regularly, is here. It shows the date and time of the most recent update.

It also says:

This page contains guidance, particularly for the Church of England:

Church in Wales advice

Scottish Episcopal Church advice

Church of Ireland advice

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