News from the Diocese

CORONAVIRUS

17-03-20-Joint-letter-from-the-Archbishops-of-Canterbury-and-York-re-coronavirus-4

To view pages 2-3 please click on the above PDF document on the lower left corner.

Letter from Bishops Robert and David, 6 March 2020

to the Clergy of the Diocese

Dear Sisters and Brothers 

We wrote to you at the beginning of February regarding good practice concerning coronavirus and control of infectious diseases in general. We want now to update our advice in the light of changing circumstances over the past month. 

The Church of England publishes guidance to all clergy and congregations here:

https://www.churchofengland.org/coronavirus

We have decided to go somewhat beyond this advice in certain respects because of the mobile and international nature of our congregations and in the light of medical advice we have received. We preface this advice by re-iterating that coronavirus appears to present a particular risk to elderly people and those with reduced immunity or a pre-existing health condition. Our advice is given out of a mutual concern for the wellbeing of all members of our chaplaincies.  

  1. We encourage individuals and congregations to follow good hygiene practices, including:
    1. Carrying tissues and using them to catch coughs and sneezes, and binning the tissue
    2. Washing hands with soap and water (for 20 seconds) or using sanitiser to kill germs. 
  2. If possible provide hand gel at entrances and ensure there is a good supply of soap or hand gel in cloakrooms and kitchens. In addition, priests presiding at the Eucharist, communion administrators and servers should wash their hands, preferably with an alcohol-based sanitiser. Sidespeople/welcomers and those serving refreshments should take similar precautions. 
  3. Try to clean hard surfaces such as door handles and communion rails regularly. 
  4. The exchange of a gesture of peace prior to sharing Communion is for many, a much-loved moment in the service. However, we recommend that, for the time being, this gesture is restricted to a smile and words of peace to those in closest proximity rather than physical contact (kiss or handshake) with everyone in the church. 
  5.  We recommend that communion is distributed in the form of bread/wafer only. Both elements will be consecrated but the wine should not be distributed. Congregations can be reassured that this does not diminish the nature of the Eucharist. It is a clear principle of Anglican theology that the sacrament of Holy Communion is present and complete in either of the consecrated elements. (We are aware that distribution of the elements in one kind only has already been adopted by some chaplaincies.)
  6. We recommend that the use of holy water stoups is discontinued for the time being. 
  7. a) In some regions, most notably parts of Italy, the authorities have disallowed religious gatherings. These rulings have to be obeyed. However, in these circumstances we encourage congregations to stay in touch with each other, to look out for older and vulnerable parishioners and to find imaginative ways of sustaining worship. (See, for example, the ‘Virtual Eucharist in Genoa’ https://europe.anglican.org/main/latest-news/post/1548-virtual-eucharist-in-genoa.)

b) The Swiss authorities have introduced a regulation requiring members of congregations to ‘sign in’, so that possible spread of the disease can be traced. It is possible that other countries may follow suit, and these regulations must be respected.

Infectious diseases seem to cause higher levels of public anxiety than other threats, perhaps because we can’t see them or sense them. And although social media can satisfy our desire for information they have the capacity to fuel anxiety. Avoiding panic is a key part of responding to coronavirus for all of us in positions of leadership. 

This guidance is intended as a prudent response to an unusual challenge. It represents a set of sensible precautions to promote health and wellbeing in the conditions of our diocese.

We will keep in touch with you as the situation develops and plan to write again in the next couple of weeks. If you have any questions do contact us or your Archdeacon or our Chief Operating Officer.  We will continue to monitor the situation and guidance closely.  At the same time, our Diocesan website will continue to carry the latest updates from official sources – national governments, WHO and EU – so please keep an eye on this also. 

Meanwhile, we pray that our chaplaincies and congregations can be oases of peace, loving fellowship and hope in times of anxiety. We continue to pray for those infected by the coronavirus, for those who care for them, and for health specialists and authorities who are combatting the spread of infection.

Yours in Christ 

The Bishop in Europe: The Right Reverend Dr. Robert Innes   The Suffragan Bishop in EuropeThe Right Reverend David Hamid 

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SACEP MEETING on Saturday 9th May (9.30-4.00) at St Ursula’s Church in Berne on the subject of Christians persecuted and tortured throughout the world. 

The speaker will be Paul Jones, UK Operations manager of Release International, www.releaseinternational.org.

After welcoming participants over coffee at 9.30, the film ” Tortured for Christ ” about the Christian pastor Richard Wurmbrand, imprisoned for 14 years in Romania, will be shown, followed by discussion and questions – what is persecution today and what does Release do in response to it? After lunch there will be bible study and a talk assisted with Powerpoint, by Paul Jones on the Release church partnership scheme.

For full details of the programme, please contact Ann Morel Huber of Neuchâtel English Church who will send you the file.

Registration: please register by Monday 4th May at bemdeo@gmail.com. Cost SFR 20, payable on day. The SACEP meeting is organised by the Swiss Archdeaconry Education programme.

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“Journeying with God”: a guided Holiday Retreat on Lake Como, Italy

 led by Bishop Michael Colclough at the Church of the Ascension, Cadenabbia,

11-16th October, 2020

The Diocese is organising a retreat in Cadenabbio on Lake Como in Italy from 11-16th October. Cost of complete package: 895 Euros/ £805. Possibility to attend as day visitor. Please contact Ann Morel Huber to obtain full details. The retreat is organised independently of Neuchâtel English Church. See website of the hotel: www.grandhotelcadenabbia.it

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Diocesan website: www.europe.anglican.org

Take a look at this very comprehensive website – lots of interesting articles to read!

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SWISS ARCHDEACONRY RETREAT 2020

WHEN? Thurs. 15th Oct. 4pm – Sat. 17th Oct.4pm

WHERE? Crêt Berard, Puidoux in the midst of the vineyards above Lake Geneva

LEADER? Lois Tverberg, author & Bible scholar (see her website www.OurRabbiJesus.com

SUBJECT? Understanding the culture and setting of Jesus’ time; discovering and exploring the Jewish context of His words. How did his first listeners hear what he taught?

REGISTRATION Full board from CHF 288 (double, sharing). Payment by 15th Sept. Register at bemdeo@gmail.com. Taxi service from station. To obtain the full PDF file by email, please contact Ann Morel of Neuchâtel English Church, or else the retreat organiser, Elizabeth Bussmann (email above or telephone 079 286 8616)