• on March 3rd, 2020

UPDATED: Coronavirus Advice for the Parish of St Wilfrid Harrogate

Initial advice regarding the Coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) was issued on Thursday 5th March 2020 and can be downloaded:
Coronavirus Advice 1 MarchWk12020

And update to this initial advice was issued on Wendesday 11th March 2020 and can be downloaded:

Coronavirus Advice 2 MarchWk22020

 

The text of both sets of advice are reproduced below:

Update issued Wednesday 11th March 2020

Important Update: CoronaVirus: 11th March 2020

Further to my letter of last week, new advice has been issued this week by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York.

The following sensible simple general precautions we should take at this stage still apply.

  • If you start feel unwell or have ‘flu like symptoms you should stay at home and consult either NHS111 or your GP.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. This is particularly important after taking public transport. (Alcohol sanitisers will work against viruses, anti-bacterial sanitisers will not).
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • If you cough or sneeze, use a tissue and bin it.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home and work environment.

Especially important is that if you start to feel unwell and have recently returned from a part of the world where there has been an outbreak of coronavirus, or you know you have been in contact with a person who is suspected of having coronavirus, you should follow the guidance available nationally on self-isolation. This is important, even if you do not have any obvious symptoms – you may be still be infected and potentially contagious.

Holy Communion

The national and local advice regarding the distribution of Holy Communion is now that Holy Communion should be distributed in one kind only. Therefore, with immediate effect general communion from the chalice is suspended until further notice.

It is perfectly correct, theologically, pastorally and liturgically to receive in one kind only – to receive just the host. Whilst the symbolism of receiving in both kinds is fuller, the efficacy of receiving communion is as complete in receiving just the host (or from just the chalice). This is called the doctrine of concomitance: Christ is fully present in both the bread and the wine.

Provision for this is made in the Sacrament Act 1547, which still remains part of statute law in England.

In addition, the Archbishops advise that at the Peace, the sign of peace is not shared by the shaking of hands etc. Nor will priests lay hands (s) onn your head when imparting blessings.

Ways you can help

Please be assiduous in regard to the general advice above, especially about hand washing.

I am immensely grateful to the very sensible way in which everyone has taken advice to date on board. In all honesty, it is likely that these measures are going to be with us for some time – and that may well mean months rather than weeks.

Please might I also re-stress the importance of prayer at this time: for the sick and their families; for those who are anxious of struggling; for those in public office who must make difficult decisions and especially for those who work throughout our brilliant NHS.

It is also incredibly important that we resist the temptation to fall into despair. This might especially be the case where routine appointments and operations are cancelled to provide the capacity to deal with this situation. Can I encourage everyone to be attentive to their general medical needs now – rather than to hope they can swiftly access care if the pandemic grows worse.

I hope it goes without saying that those in society who have decided to hoard medicine, hand sanitiser, food and even toilet rolls (!) place a burden on others and increase the risk to themselves, rather than diminish it by their selfishness. Those who seek to profit from such practice should rightly be condemned for their greed.

You will all be aware from other places in Europe, that there may yet be significant restrictions imposed in an attempt to slow the transmission of this virus so as to prevent health care systems being overwhelmed.

As ever, any urgent updates will also be available via the parish website, social media and any other channels available to us.

With my thanks and prayers,

Fr Gary Waddington, Team Rector

 

Initial Advice – Thursday 5th March 2020 (An update to this advice appears below)

You will all be aware of the media coverage surrounding the spread of the COVID-19 viral infection, commonly referred to as “coronavirus”. This is a ‘’flu-like’ virus – initial symptoms are similar – which can go on to progress in some patients into a more serious ‘pneumonia-like’ stage. The situation is being closely monitored – and whilst the language used and science can sound alarming – we should be concerned at this point, but not alarmed.

However, there are sensible simple general precautions we should take at this stage.

• If you start feel unwell or have ‘flu-like symptoms you should stay at home and consult either NHS111 or your GP.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. This is particularly important after taking public transport. (Alcohol sanitisers will work against viruses, anti-bacterial sanitisers will not).
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• If you cough or sneeze, use a tissue and bin it.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home and work environment.

Especially important is that if you start to feel unwell and have recently returned from a part of the world where there has been an outbreak of coronavirus, or you know you have been in contact with a person who is suspected of having coronavirus, you should follow the guidance available nationally on self-isolation. This is important, even if you do not have any obvious symptoms – you may still be infected and potentially contagious.

Holy Communion
The national and local advice regarding the distribution of Holy Communion is, at this stage, that it is safe to continue the present practise: i.e. to distribute and receive Holy Communion in both kinds (the consecrated host (bread become the body of Christ) and wine (become the Precious Blood of Jesus)).

However, the advice is also clear that the practice of intinction (dipping the host in the chalice and then receiving both host and precious blood together) should cease immediately. This is a way of receiving communion that the Church has not encouraged in decades. It is the only way of receiving communion for which there is some evidence that it can cause the transmission of infection and disease.

Communion assistants are, therefore, from today, being instructed that they should not allow intinction. Please do not embarrass them, or yourself by attempting to intinct your host.

It is perfectly correct, theologically, pastorally and liturgically to receive in one kind only – to receive just the host. Whilst the symbolism of receiving in both kinds is fuller, the efficacy of receiving communion is as complete in receiving just the host (or from just the chalice). This is called the doctrine of concomitance: Christ is fully present in both the bread and the wine.

If therefore you would prefer, at this time, not to receive from the chalice, you are perfectly free to make that choice yourself.

If the transmission of coronavirus and the number of confirmed cases in this country does rise significantly, the advice will change to ‘receive in one kind only’ – at which point there will not be a reception from the chalice, except for the principal celebrant at mass.

Ways you can help

Please be attentive to the general advice above, especially about hand washing.

Please be attentive to the fact that how you view this emerging situation might not be the same as how your neighbour in church, or family might view it. So be aware that if you think ‘its all something and nothing’ your neighbour might not share your view; if you think ‘the end of the world is nigh’, your neighbour might not share your view either.

For some, therefore, even shaking hands might be an action to be avoided. There is no immediate reason medically not to, but people will have different views: some informed, some less well so. If someone doesn’t want at the moment to shake hands or exchange the peace, please do not take offence.

Please also, as should be normal at this time of year, be particularly careful if you are visiting someone who is vulnerable because of age, illness or pre-existing condition. If you are not well, please do not make them unwell by visiting. By all means, maintain contact and help where you can: but do not expose them, or yourself to unnecessary risk or infection.

At this time, if any of the clergy are unwell, especially if they suspect they may have coronavirus, they will not be in church, celebrate mass, or be available to visit you. Alas, the clerical collar does not transmit viral immunity! We’ll do our best – but please try to understand if plans have to change at very short notice.

The parish office will operate as normally as possible. Obviously, if staff are unwell, they will not be in the office. Again, your patience and understanding are asked if this means it takes longer than possible to answer any enquiry, process payments or produce pewsheets etc.

At this stage, only mild precautions are necessary and there is no need to be overly concerned. If the situation changes, information will be provided via the parish website, and through social media. Printed versions of any updates will be made available on the tables by the doors.

With my thanks and prayers,

Fr Gary Waddington, Team Rector