An Update from Bishop Cherry – 23rd March

Our prayer and worship

The people of God continued to gather to pray and to worship together over the weekend, but in a different form. Many churches found ways of live-streaming services or gathering via Zoom to remain connected both with God and with one another. That has been heartening to see. Thank you for all that you are doing to sustain the life of the church in these difficult times. The situation we face is likely to go on for months and so resilience and creativity is going to be required for the long haul. Let us not forget to pray for one another.

Provincial One-Stop Shop

So that the wealth of material that is being provided can be shared and be available to the wider public, there is to be a one-stop source of what’s available digitally and on line on the Provincial website. The page is

https://www.churchinwales.org.uk/en/clergy-and-members/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance/digital-resources/live-streamed-and-recorded-services/

If you think this could be a useful resource, please e-mail the webmaster at  mikewakeman@churchinwales.org.uk  with service details as follows:

– Church/Parish/Mission or Ministry name

– Clergy name

– Service times

– Link to their live feed. If on Facebook then a link to your Facebook page would be perfect; if YouTube then link to your YouTube channel. There may be other media streams you use and a direct link in each case would be great.

Our Church Buildings

Many of you will have seen or heard that the churches in the Diocese of London are now closed. At the moment, there is no decision to do that here, though the Bishops in the Church in Wales will be discussing this on Wednesday when we have a Skype conference. Personally, I feel strongly that we should keep our buildings open so that people can enter to pray, reflect and just be in a sacred space. But I am aware that in other parts of Wales where the tourists gathered over the weekend, there was a lot of visiting to churches and personal space and distancing was compromised. I will let you know the outcome of any discussions as soon as we come to a common mind as to the best way forward in the circumstances.

Occasional Offices

Weddings can continue for the moment, but only with 5 people present: the priest, the couple and two witnesses.

The bishops’ guidance on funerals remains, but I am very aware that large numbers continue to gather in crematoria where the required physical distancing is just not possible.

Whilst recognising that clergy will be feeling a very strong sense of duty and wanting to be available to serve their communities in this way, no-one should feel under pressure to take services that they feel uncomfortable taking for health reasons. Those over 70 are at a higher risk and have already been advised to self-isolate. I would therefore strongly discourage all clergy over 70 not to take funerals. We not only have ourselves to look after and protect, but others too. We are only just realising how easy it is to pass on the virus unwittingly and without knowing that we are carrying it. Please do follow the government’s advice and guidance to the letter.

Meetings and gatherings

We are advising that there are no further meetings or gatherings, even of two or three, except on line. One to one meetings may go ahead, but we need to remember that any meeting, even between two people, is a risk. Please consider contacting one another by phone or e mail or other such means.

With my prayers for you and all those you love and care for.

+Cherry