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Church News

Coronavirus: Church of England issues stricter guidance on communion and touching

by Tola Mbakwe

Churchgoers taking part in communion in an Anglican Church can no longer drink wine from the common cup. 

The new move is part of an update to the Church of England's coronavirus guidance for churches announces on Wednesday evening. 

In a letter written to clergy the Archbishops of Canterbury and York advised that all priests should: 

  • Offer Communion in one kind only to all communicants i.e. the consecrated bread/wafer/host, with the priest alone taking the wine;
  • Suspend handshaking or other direct physical contact during the sharing of the peace;
  • Suspend direct physical contact as part of a blessing or 'laying on of hands'.

This advice follows earlier directions for churches to have hand-sanitisers available for parishioners to use.

In addition, priests presiding at the Eucharist, communion administrators and servers have been told to wash their hands, preferably with an alcohol-based hand-sanitiser.

Meanwhile, ministers are expected to sign off on moving the UK into the "delay" phase of combating coronavirus after the global outbreak was declared a pandemic.

Boris Johnson will chair a Cobra meeting at lunchtime on Thursday where ministers are due to assess whether Government action should shift out of the containment stage.

Moving to delay would mean social distancing measures could be brought in, such as restricting public gatherings, and more widespread advice to stay at home.

It comes after eight people with Covid-19 were confirmed to have died in the UK, while the total number of positive cases rose to 460.

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