Pastoral Statement from the Bishops of The Society in response to the Coronavirus

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Feast of St Joseph 

Our first concern as bishops is to express our concern and promise our prayers for all those who are directly affected by the Coronavirus, particularly those who by age or health condition are especially vulnerable. 

Alongside the priests of The Society, we shall continue to support those most in need through the on-going witness of our parishes.

The key sources of information on Coronavirus remain:

www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response

www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-churches

These official statements, and the recent letter from our Archbishops, should be read alongside this pastoral statement.     

As a necessary step, and in keeping with the Archbishops’ advice to suspend public worship, we are cancelling the Chrism Masses due to be celebrated by the Bishops of The Society.

This does not mean that the spiritual benefits that flow from the great liturgies of Holy Week cannot be obtained through other means.

We are aware that many cathedrals, parish churches and other religious buildings will remain open for prayer – noting the need for the safe practicing of not less than two metres physical distancing – and that some will also be seeking to place devotional material on-line during this period, or even live-stream liturgies conducted in private.

For our own part, we shall look to issue four short devotional videos during this period: one for each of Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter. We hope that these videos will provide a focus for our common prayers at this testing time. Other appropriate devotional resources will be made available here.

We are acutely aware of the pain and anxiety many are experiencing, made all the more testing by the suspension of public worship at this the high point of the Church’s year. We urge all parishes in our care—and indeed, all Christians—to continue in these, and other, ways to continue to participate in the Church’s prayer and witness in the testing months which lie ahead for everyone.

+ TONY WAKEFIELD               The Rt Revd Tony Robinson, Bishop of Wakefield, Chairman

+ GLYN BEVERLEY                 The Rt Revd Glyn Webster, Bishop of Beverley

+ PHILIP BURNLEY                 The Rt Revd Philip North, Bishop of Burnley

+ MARTIN CICESTR:               The Rt Revd Martin Warner, Bishop of Chichester

+ JONATHAN EBBSFLEET      The Rt Revd Jonathan Goodall, Bishop of Ebbsfleet

+ JONATHAN FULHAM            The Rt Revd Jonathan Baker, Bishop of Fulham

+ NORMAN RICHBOROUGH   The Rt Revd Norman Banks, Bishop of Richborough