Latest update 10.00 am Friday 20 March
The Church Times has reports on how the Coronavirus situation is playing out in the Church of England:
17 March: C of E suspends all services, though churches to stay open but this was followed on 18 March by
Church closures subject to postcode lottery which headline was later changed to C of E medical adviser gets tough with differing dioceses
THE Medical Adviser to the Church of England emphasised on Wednesday that the suspension of public worship must be implemented “without exception”, after advice from individual bishops appeared to contradict it, prompting confusion among the clergy…
…Within hours, different interpretations of the advice were circulating online. A central question was whether clergy would be joined by worshippers at the daily Offices or say them alone, and whether the laity could still receive communion. Clergy also questioned how public worship could be avoided if churches were to be kept open throughout the day. Some expressed frustration at the variation in episcopal advice and concern that people were seeking out loopholes in the Archbishops’ guidance…
On Thursday, the Archbishops issued a clarifying Ad Clerum, which acknowledged that “not receiving holy communion is a serious loss for the people we serve”.
The Ad Clerum mentioned immediately above can be found in the next article. At the time of publication here (11.30 pm Thursday), it had apparently not yet appeared on other websites, but had evidently been issued by email on Thursday afternoon. It isn’t mentioned in the official CofE Daily Media Digest for Friday, either.
(interesting to note that “The Diocese of Oxford’s Emergency Planning Team wrote to incumbents and wardens on 9 March requesting that each parish and/or benefice puts in place a continuity plan in preparedness for the developing Coronavirus situation.”)