Message from the Archbishop of Dublin Following New Government Guidelines on Coronavirus
The United Dioceses of Dublin & Glendalough have been preparing for a time when vulnerable parishioners may, rightly, feel they cannot attend church services or when services may be cancelled in response to the coronavirus Covid–19. Today, the Government has stated that indoor gatherings of over 100 people should be cancelled and the dioceses ask that parishes follow this guidance and act accordingly.
On Friday afternoon, we will put resources for Sunday services on the diocesan website – www.dublin.anglican.org – for those who feel attending church is a risk or where church services in their parishes are cancelled. These resources have been prepared by the Revd Ken Rue. We will also provide information for those who wish to watch services online. We hope to expand on these resources over time.
The Church of Ireland is also preparing guidelines and when these are available we will share them.
I am aware that many people are now frightened at the prospect of Covid–19 taking a grip in their communities. I am also aware that this fear is amplified by the volume of news coverage of the virus and the amount of, often unfounded, rhetoric to be found online. In a time when we are always tuned in to news and information, the dominance of information about Covid–19 may seem overwhelming to many. I would urge everyone to pay attention to official guidance first and foremost and take advice from trusted sources.
I would also urge everyone to exercise Christian compassion and to think of their neighbours. Are there people whom you know are alone or elderly people who may be isolated? A reassuring phonecall could make all the difference to these people. Parishes may choose to think of parishioners who are vulnerable and ensure that they receive regular phonecalls. The Church of Ireland has issued guidelines in relation to clergy visiting at this time and I ask that all clergy follow these guidelines. The guidelines are available here.
While the dioceses will provide online resources, I am aware that not everyone has access to the internet. If it is safe to do so, you may be able to enable someone to watch a church service online or print the Sunday service resources and put it through their letter box. Our diocesan cathedral has closed for visitors but hopes that the Cathedral Eucharist will go ahead on Sunday morning at 11am. This service is livestreamed on: https://christchurchcathedral.ie/worship/video-stream-1/
All of us have a personal responsibility to assess what is wise and safe for us to do and to act in the interest of our communities and society in general. That includes not hoarding food and supplies, unless you are self isolating, which will see others left without enough. We must follow the guidelines on hand and respiratory hygiene provided and if we feel unwell we must not go out.
It is important that worship still takes place in each parish. How this happens may be worked out locally but must comply with the Government guidelines which state that indoor gatherings of more than 100 people should be cancelled. All people, lay and clerical alike, must take reasonable care. While church services in some parishes may not continue, we, the people of God, must continue to be church. This is an opportunity for Christians to live the Gospel – to see where need lies within our communities and to act, always in a manner which ensures the safety of ourselves and others.
St Matthew 25: 35–36
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.
Dublin & Glendalough