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Sunday, March 15, 2020

COVID-19: Anglican Church stops communion from same cup and handshake during service

The Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, has stopped the use of one cup for the sharing of wine during Holy Communion services as one of the safety measures to prevent the spread of the dreaded coronavirus.

The church has also suspended handshakes and hugs which are hitherto being used for the “exchange of peace” during communion service.

The church’s General Secretary, Gershinen Dajur, disclosed this in a letter addressed to all archbishops and bishops of the church on Friday, on behalf of the Primate of the church, Most Rev Nicholas Okoh.

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Okoh directed that in place of one big cup for Holy Communion wine, churches should start using smaller communion cups for individuals.

The letter partly reads, “His Grace, the Most Rev Nicholas Okoh has directed that certain steps be taken as guides against contacting and communicating the virus among our people.

“Also, handshakes and hugs during the exchange of peace should be substituted with non-contagious gestures such as hand-waving, mutual bowing or making the sign of the cross etc.

“Priests and church members who observe they have symptoms similar to that of COVID-19 should call the hospital immediately for examination. Let everyone be encouraged to observe a good personal hygiene through proper washing of hands with soap or hand sanitiser; covering of mouth with handkerchief when sneezing or coughing etc.

“Water and soap for washing of hands as well as hand sanitisers should be made available during services or events.

“Let the church be encouraged to trust God who is well able to help us in our times of trouble (Psalms 46:1). This is the time to trust and obey God than to be anxious and panic (Phil 4:6-7).”

Describing the coronavirus disease as a pandemic that needs to be handled with all seriousness, Okoh said the measures should be taken while the church continues praying to God for help on the issue.

The cleric asked parishioners to read, study and implement important safety tips from the World Health Organisation’s website or the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control on how to handle oneself in a time like this. Punch

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