Ad Clerum from Rt Revd Richard Jackson on Sunday Morning Worship

Published on: 20th March 2020

Dear Friends

This comes with my continued prayers for all of you as you minister in this difficult time. I have already heard a number of encouraging stories of gospel openings in this new dispensation. Although it is very frustrating for all of us we have faith that God is at work. Shaking peoples’ securities can open them up to the one who is our rock – the one who is the same yesterday today and forever.

The main purpose of this is to clarify the current advice from the Church of England on public worship. I realise that some ambiguity has crept in through what appear to be variant practices in other dioceses. In our well connected world access to the practice of others is easily done. The Bishops have been seeking to ensure consistency across the Church of England.

Our overriding aim is to comply with the government’s social distancing advice. We must work with the whole community to minimise the spread of the virus, and thus hasten a time when these restrictions can be lifted. It is a huge sacrifice to miss out on the sacrament but we must do this for the sake of others.

Can I therefore re-iterate:

  1. There should be no public worship of any kind. Of course say the office and pray for your community, but that must be without others joining you. It tempting to find ways around it by saying others can come and keep a 2 m distance. However, this virus is so contagious, it only takes a contaminated surface and inadvertent face contact for it to spread. The prohibition extends to open air worship within the curtilage of the Church.
  2. The Eucharist can be celebrated on a Sunday and live streamed, if that is possible. For the duration of the crisis it is permissible to celebrate on your own.
  3. Please do not invite people at home to have bread with them as they watch and participate at the moment of your reception. We must be careful our practice doesn’t imply that lay presidency or consecration is taking place.
  4. The reception of the Eucharist spiritually is possible according to the agreed rites of the Church of England. There is a link to the order here (please insert link) By all means encourage your folk to participate in this rite.
  5. Small groups in peoples homes should also be suspended.


I realise that these restrictions are both severe and difficult, but we need to work together for the common good.

This comes with thanks and every blessing



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