Ad Clerum from Rt Revd Richard Jackson on coronavirus (COVID-19)
To all licenced clergy and clergy with Permission to Officiate
I regret that the first of my ad clerums to you has to refer to Coronavirus (COVID-19).I recognise that this is placing a new and increasing challenge on your workload, and this will be an area of concern for you, your teams and your congregations.
I would like to reassure you that we are continually refining our plans for this outbreak, working with our key partners, and drawing on advice from the Church of England national team listening to feedback received on emerging COVID-19 issues.
It is important that we exercise all due diligence to prevent the spread of this virus in our communities, supporting the work of other civic and statutory agencies including the NHS.I am sending this to all licensed clergy and clergy with Permission to Officiate in the Diocese. I would ask each incumbent to ensure that any clergy who do not have internet access are kept informed of the latest advice.
It is vitally important that you make daily reference to the Church of England website for the latest advice to parishes on the conduct of public worship, especially as it relates to the administration of Holy Communion.Please use the following link to the Church of England website:
This includes information about:
I am advising all clergy to make announcement about the changes to the pattern of the service before the worship begins, and assure each congregation that you are acting on the advice given to the bishops nationally and as a matter of necessity.
The latest information on symptoms of coronavirus infection and areas where recent travel may have resulted in a high risk of exposure can be found on: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19...
As part of our preparedness plans, we will help you to manage increased pressure on yourself and other colleagues who may feel the need to withdraw from leading public worship to protect themselves against infection. If you or one of your clergy team need to do this please notify your Rural Dean and your Archdeacon.
Changing service patterns is a local matter of discretion for incumbents and Rural Deans and does not require my permission. If you find yourself short of priestly cover, I encourage you to have one celebration of Holy Communion in the benefice to which all are invited. In these difficult circumstances I will allow Holy Communion by extension. Authorised ministers leading such services should be present at a celebration led by a priest and take the bread from there directly to the place of the service.The liturgy for the Holy Communion by extension is available on the Church of England website.Please follow this link:
These changes should remain in place until we are advised that the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) has subsided. All advice is intended to ensure confidence in the continued access to the sacrament of Holy Communion.
We will continue to share updates on how to respond to coronavirus on the Diocesan website and on our various social media channels. Please don’t hesitate to contact my office if you need further clarification.The usual office hours are from 9.00am to 5.00pm – Monday to Friday.
In the meantime, we hold in our prayers those who have contracted the virus, and their families and friends, as well as those in the medical profession who are urgently seeking a vaccine and caring for those already affected.
With thanks for your witness to the gospel in this time for our nation.
The Rt. Revd Richard Jackson
Bishop of Hereford