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January 27, 2020    

Dear friends in Christ,

Recently we have heard news that the Corona virus has now spread into Canada.   Though only two cases are known so far (in Toronto) many of us remember the SARS crisis and the precautions that were needed when it came close to our communities.   

First, our prayers are extended to those who are ill with this virus and those who are caring for them, especially those at the epicentre of this outbreak in China.   

So far there has been no call from public health officials for additional measures in public activities.   However, it is prudent to ensure that we have reviewed our practices in pastoral care and public worship to keep everyone, especially the most vulnerable due to age or infirmity, safe and to allay fears that may arise.   

Here are some areas to consider in your parish: 

  1. Hygiene practices in pastoral care and worship
    • Availability of hand sanitizer in the worship space for parishioners and those serving in the liturgy 
    • Pastoral care workers taking all precautions in personal hygiene before and after pastoral visits in hospital and homes.
    • Reminding parishioners who are ill to stay at home to recover and to request home communion or a pastoral visit as desired.

     2. If concern about the common cup is expressed:

    • Refresh teaching regarding our theology of the fullness of communion in one kind (bread or wine only).   
    • Sharing the national information re Eucharistic Practice and the Risk of Infection:                      https://www.anglican.ca/faith/worship/pir/euc-practice-infection/
    • Alternatives to common cup:
      1. Receive in one kind only (bread)
      2. Touching the base of the cup as it is presented but not consuming 
      3. Intinction – though this must be done properly in a manner that makes contact of the fingers  with the wine impossible – preferably with a proper intinction cup.  Some dioceses  prohibit intinction altogether.
      4. Disposable individual cups – with due attention to hygiene in preparation.  

I pray that our common life in worship and pastoral care will be rooted in the compassion of Christ and      appropriate care for one another in a time of uncertainty.      

With prayers for all,  

The Most Rev. Linda Nicholls

Archbishop and Primate, Anglican Church of Canada    

P.S.   See Diocese of Toronto statement at:                https://www.toronto.anglican.ca/2020/01/27/bishop-issues-statement-on-coronavirus-outbreak/