Advent and Christmas 2021: Earlier in the year the Bishops of the diocese reminded us that “Our responsibility as Christians for our neighbour means we must take due care to protect any who may be more vulnerable than we consider ourselves to be.” Bearing this advice in mind, we continue to adhere to guidelines for our church services which include social distancing, wearing of masks, use of hand sanitisers as set out below:
- When you come into the building, please wash your hands or use the hand sanitiser provided.
- Please respect the safety distance (at least 1 metre) at all times.
- Please use a mask that covers your nose and mouth (otherwise you will not be allowed into the building).
Events in Church: If you attend a publicised concert, fair, talk, book launch or similar and you are no longer of school age or below, then you will be asked to show your Green Pass (Rafforzato/Super)/NHS Covid Pass to be allowed inside the church building.
For more information on current guidelines, vaccinations etc in Liguria please consult the Regione Liguria webpage in Italian.
Visitors to this website will probably be aware of the rapidly changing situation in relation to the pandemic, especially the newly identified “Omicron Variant”. Here is the advice which Bishop Robert and Bishop David issued earlier in the autumn. It sets out with helpful clarity the position of congregations in the Diocese in Europe:
Dear Sisters and Brothers
We wrote to you in July with Guidance for the conduct of liturgy and worship during the pandemic, promising to write again in September.
We are now in a position to provide revised Guidance. As you will probably be aware, we are both thankfully now able to travel again more freely across the diocese. Our experiences have provided valuable insights into situations and practices across the countries and locations we have visited since we issued our last Guidance.
It is clear that, with the increasing roll-out of vaccines, some European countries have now significantly liberalised the legal regimes put in place to control Covid-19. At the same time, there remain sub-groups in many societies where vaccine take-up is low, including in our diocese, in Russia, Turkey and Morocco. It is a stark global reality that over 4.5 million people have now died as a result of the Pandemic. And we will also soon be entering the winter season, a time of increased respiratory infections of all kinds, albeit now with populations widely vaccinated covid-19. Ongoing prudence in our worshipping practices will therefore be needed.
Continuing to balance these considerations cautiously and carefully, we are… issuing the new Guidance (see below), which will also be published on the diocesan website. Your particular attention is drawn to these points:
- Where national, regional or local law and guidance are more liberal than Diocesan Guidance, chaplains and chaplaincy councils are free to adopt local rules, if they so decide. Responsibility for these decisions rests with the chaplaincy council.
- As regards the use of the Common Cup, having considered the matter carefully, and taking medical advice, the Bishop’s senior staff have decided that we should amend our Guidance to allow for re-introduction of the common cup in specific and controlled circumstances. These are set out in the Annexe to the Guidance.
Recognising that some amongst us will still feel nervous of resuming in-person worship, we do hope and trust that many of you are now able to enjoy in-person services again, and we do pray for the coming together of church fellowships across the diocese as the new term gets underway.
Yours in Christ
+Robert Gibraltar in Europe
Hygiene practices for individuals attending Church
- Those with symptoms of Covid-19 or other respiratory or flu-like illness, or an elevated temperature, or who are particularly vulnerable to infection should not attend public services, but join worship, as available, online.
- For individuals attending church: carrying of tissues and using them to catch coughs and sneezes, and binning the tissue continues to be important. Some individuals and families will wish to carry a small bottle of hand sanitiser.
- In some countries and some chaplaincies mask wearing in church will continue to be observed. If a national jurisdiction permits worship without masks, then the chaplain and chaplaincy council should decide whether (or not) they wish to request members of the congregation to attend public worship wearing a mask. Those who have a formal part in the liturgy (presiding, preaching, reading, interceding) may continue to remove their face mask when they are actually speaking.
- Disinfectants and hand washing/sanitizing facilities should be provided at the church entrance; door handles and hand railings need to be disinfected on a regular basis.
- Good ventilation is increasingly understood to be an important measure in controlling Covid-19. Where possible, and as the weather allows, entrance and exit doors should be secured in an open position from before the time when people gather for the service until after the last worshipper has left.
Welcoming at Church
- All sidespeople/welcomers should wash their hands with an alcohol-based sanitizer. Handshaking and other physical touch continue to be discouraged. The ministry of welcome remains important and responsible lay people such as churchwardens should be directly involved in it, whilst being careful to observe appropriate physical distance.
- In a small number of jurisdictions contact tracing requires that a register is kept of all attendees at a service.
- We encourage people to remain mindful that some of those around them may wish to continue to observe physical distancing. This may apply to seating (as below) as well as to informal gatherings on the way in or out of church.
Seating in church in accordance with physical distancing requirements
- Seating arrangements in churches should conform with all national or regional official guidance related to physical distance and building capacity.
- The seating areas may need to be marked in a way to aid ‘distancing’.
- Families and individuals who live in the same household can sit together if they are living together.
Music: singing & instruments
- An organist or other musician, a small group of musicians, a cantor or a small choir, safely distanced is possible.
- Congregational singing is now permitted in most jurisdictions. The transmission of droplets is reduced if members of congregations sing softly and behind masks, and the Church of England’s guidance in England is that congregational singing requires the wearing of a mask.
General Liturgical Instructions and guidance
- Do continue to consider streaming services online where this is possible especially for the benefit of those who are afraid or reluctant to enter church buildings.
- Readers, preachers, leaders of intercessions etc., should continue to exercise caution in touching lecterns or pulpits.
- Instead of shaking hands with neighbours at the peace, a sign of reconciliation can be conveyed in a non-physical way with people staying in their places. This greeting should continue at a distance.
- Our continued guidance is that Holy Communion is distributed in the form of bread/wafer only. Both elements will be consecrated. The wine should not be distributed but consumed by the presiding priest only. It is a clear principle of Anglican theology that the sacrament of Holy Communion is present and complete in either of the consecrated elements. Please be aware that Church of England canons do not permit the use of individual communion cups and we as your bishops are not able to give permission for this, and we discourage the practice of intinction. However, your attention is drawn to our note on re-introduction of the Common Cup in Annexe.
- For the time being, it is preferable that only the presiding minister handles the vessels and administers Holy Communion. Given that it will still usually be in one kind for now, and in most places for not more than 50 persons, it is much easier to control hygiene if this is one person’s responsibility.
- There should be no offertory procession with the elements.
- Priests presiding at the Eucharist should wash their handsin soap and water,or with an alcohol-based sanitizer, just prior to commencing the liturgy of the Sacrament.
- The words of distribution of the consecrated bread should be pronounced by the priest to the whole assembly corporately, so that the actual distribution of communion happens in silence.
- Hygiene rules prior to the administration of communion to the people need to be adhered to, by hand washing in soap and water, or using alcohol-based sanitiser. The bread should only be administered into the hand with care being taken not to touch communicants’ hands.
- The bread/wafer is safest distributed with communicants approaching in a single line standing with a sensible distance between them. Church wardens will need to make appropriate and feasible arrangements for this.
- Where masks are worn, each communicant should extend their hands to receive Holy Communion, with face covering in place. They should then lower or unloop the face covering, consume the consecrated bread and then replace the face covering before moving back to their place in the congregation.
- Holy Water stoups remain discontinued.
We continue to encourage people to give online and via standing orders and direct debits. The normal passing of the plate is not possible. Collections in church should be conducted using a tray at the exit. Those who count the collection at the end of the service should wash their hands before and after doing the counting. This is a good time to investigate acquiring equipment to enable ‘contactless giving’.
Baptisms and Weddings
- Where possible and affordable, clergy are encouraged to test regularly and particularly ahead of Occasional Offices.
- The celebration of Holy Baptism requires special precautions. We continue to advise that only one candidate should be baptized at a given service. The font should be emptied and disinfected before any subsequent baptism service. The presiding priest should wear a mask. Water should be poured over the head of the candidate, using a shell or other such vessel. Infants should be held by the parents or godparents.
Sunday school and other gatherings
- Sunday School and junior church gatherings must adhere to the current national norms for gatherings of children in schools and day care centres.
After Service Gatherings
- The minister should consider whether remaining to meet and greet people following the service would risk compromising social distancing norms, and if so, should withdraw from the congregation after worship.
- Any gathering of the congregation for refreshments and/or conversation must be able to be compliant with national or local regulations. It is preferable that any gathering is outdoors, in private space and in small groups. Whilst recognising the good desire for sociability, it should also be recognised that informal social gatherings provide particularly high likelihoods of close contact and transmission of aerosols.
Cleaning – arrangements and briefing/training
- We emphasise that scrupulous cleaning of churches will need to be arranged. Cleaners should be carefully briefed/trained, supplied with proper gloves and disinfectants and (if working more than singly) equipped with masks.
- Particular attention should be given to cleaning vessels used in the service.
- In some chaplaincies, depending on location, it may be appropriate to air the building by opening a window(s) ahead of the service.
Updated: September 2021
+Robert Innes +David Hamid
Annexe: A Note on the Common Cup
The sharing of bread and wine at holy communion has been the norm in the Church of England since the Reformation. Withdrawal of the common cup has only been recommended in exceptional circumstances where public health is at risk. In the current circumstances, many members of congregations remain concerned about the health risks associated with a common cup. On the other hand, there are those for whom the withdrawal of the common cup has been a spiritual sacrifice which has become intolerably hard to bear.
Having considered the matter carefully, and taking medical advice, the Bishop’s senior staff have decided that we should amend our Guidance to allow for re-introduction of the common cup in specific and controlled circumstances, as follows.
- We expect that at the present time most chaplaincies and congregations will continue to administer holy communion in one kind only, and this is the generally followed practice in the Church of England currently.
- A request to re-introduce the common cup must be made formally to one of the bishops.
- The bishops will consider such requests carefully and seriously. Requests will need to be accompanied by the following, including:
- Evidence of a thorough discussion by a chaplaincy council, including by supplying a copy of the relevant minute.
- Reassurance that this decision has widespread support and is uncontroversial in the local congregation.
- Explanation of how the administration of the cup will be arranged physically, and in particular regarding how those who, for whatever reason, do not wish to receive the cup can be honoured, and will not feel moral or social pressure to receive.
- Assurance that a silver chalice and fortified wine will be used, and that the chalice will be carefully wiped between each recipient.
- Assurance that each recipient will be asked to use hand sanitiser before handling the chalice.
- Agreement to review the arrangements (possibly with the chaplaincy council) after several weeks, informed by the experience of resuming use of the common cup.
2021 As our church is in North West Italy we are sometimes in a protected lock-down, according to any emergency measures ordered by the Italian Prime Minister, or by the President of the Region of Liguria or the Mayor of Genoa. The tiers are defined by colours: Red -Orange – Yellow – White. We hope you find the links in English useful and do please read our important posts by scrolling down the page.
- Ansa Italian news in English
- Church of England Coronavirus advice for churches
- UK advice – how do you feel and what should you do
- UK Government Travel advice
- Travel insurance – an insurer’s article
Here is part of the latest message from HE Jill Morris, CMG, UK Ambassador to Italy. The full message can be viewed on the Registration/Information for UK Citizens page of this website .
To British Nationals in Italy,
I want to update you on the latest Italian government measures related to Covid-19. And to provide a reminder on Citizens’ Rights of the key actions we are advising UK nationals to take before the end of this year. I also want to provide you with details of where you can find more information and support.
New travel requirements – travelling between Italy and the UK
The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) now advises against all non-essential travel from the UK to Italy, based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks in the country. If you are returning to the UK from Italy, you will need to self-isolate on your return (unless you are exempt). Check the latest guidance for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales on our Travel Advice page.
For those arriving in Italy from the UK, the Italian government requires a negative COVID test. You will be asked to show evidence that you tested negative in a test administered in the 72 hours before your travel. You should not use the NHS testing service in the UK to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country. You should arrange to take a private test. Alternatively, you can get a free test on arrival at some airports, or at a testing facility in Italy shortly after you arrive. If you test positive within Italy, you will be required to enter quarantine until one negative test has been recorded. Your quarantine may last from 10 days to 3 weeks, so you should be prepared in case you test positive. The same testing requirement is in place for those entering Italy from Spain, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and the Czech Republic.
Additionally, if you have stayed in or transited through a small number of listed countries in the 14 days prior to entering Italy, you will be required to self-isolate on entering Italy. If you cannot do that for any reason, then entry to Italy may be refused.
You should download and complete a self-declaration from the Ministry of Interior here before you travel to Italy and inform local authorities of your presence.
For more information please see the ‘Entry Requirements’ section in our Italy Travel Advice pages.
Latest measures in Italy
Social distancing (at least one metre distance), regular hand hygiene, and the use of masks remain key containment measures. Masks must be worn across Italy in public indoor spaces and outdoors except for isolated spaces (i.e. countryside) where isolation can be maintained at all times. Using a mask is also recommended in private homes in the presence of non- family members. Those who refuse to wear a mask may be fined between €400 and €1,000. Anyone with a temperature of over 37.5° must remain at home and contact the GP.
Parks are open and outdoor exercise is permitted, subject to social distancing. Funerals are permitted to take place with limited attendance. Churches can celebrate mass, weddings and baptisms. Receptions following civil and religious ceremonies are limited to 30 people.
Only six people can sit together at a restaurant, bar or café. These venues must close by midnight and from 1800 can only serve customers who are seated at a table. Seating will be preassigned within theatres, cinemas and concert venues and has been limited to permit social distancing. Dance activity in nightclubs and open air venues has been suspended and parties are not permitted. Museums and archaeological sites are open but entry must be pre-booked.
In-class school and university courses are authorised, with on-line teaching support as available. School trips or guided external visits are suspended. Access to hospitals and clinics by accompanying people is limited and will be approved individually by each hospital.
Lastly, smart/agile working is strongly encouraged.
Regional authorities in Italy are empowered to adjust these measures in keeping with local requirements; regional differences may therefore apply in addition to the restrictions listed above. Measures may also vary between towns; local mayors were recently given powers to close some public spaces from 2100 if they choose.
How to stay informed
You can find the very latest information on our Living in Italy page. This remains our key resource for UK nationals. It includes details on residency, healthcare and benefits, pensions, driving licences and how to get in touch with us.
Important news from the Comune:
(23rd September, 2020)
To counter the spread of Covid-19 cases, particularly in the historic centre, Giovanni Toti, the newly re-elected Regional President of Liguria, in agreement with mayor Marco Bucci and the heads of the city’s health services, has issued a new ordinance enshrining a series of measures that come into force with immediate effect until midnight on Sunday 27 September.
The ordinance sets out the obligation to wear a mask or face covering in public places, and places open to the public, for the whole 24 hours in some of the streets and squares near the Old Port as far as the customs barrier of the port, because the number of infections in that area.
The obligation does not apply to those consuming food and drink at the table and outdoors. This exercise is considered by health specialists to be sufficient to achieve a drastic reduction in infections.
Premises caught with people without masks inside will be closed for 5 to 30 days. Fines will also be imposed on those found without a mask.
The obligation to wear a mask applies within the area bounded on the north by:
- via Marinai d’Italia
- via Fanti d’Italia
- via Andrea Doria
- via Balbi
- piazza della Nunziata
- via Paolo Emilio Bens
- largo Zecca
- via Cairoli (south side)
- piazza Della Meridiana
- piazza Fontane Marose
- via Garibaldi (south side)
- via XXV Aprile
- piazza Matteotti
- via di Porta Soprana
- via del Colle
- via Ravasco
- via Madre di Dio
and on the south by:
the Customs entrances to the port.
Coming out of Lock-down
Restrictions on public worship in churches are being lifted as from Monday 18th May, but social distancing and other precautions remain in force. The Church of the Holy Ghost re-opens for public worship with the Eucharist on Wednesday 20th May, but subject to a number of conditions and restrictions. These are set out in the protocol below. Worshippers are asked to note these requirements at all services during the coming weeks:
- The maximum number allowed in the church building is 45.
- If you have flu-like or respiratory symptoms, please do not come to church.
- If you have a body temperature equal to or greater than 37.5º C, please do not come to church.
- If you have previously been in contact with people who have tested positively for SARSCoV-2 (Covid-19) please do not come to church.
- When you come into the building, please wash your hands or use the hand sanitiser provided.
- Please respect the safety distance (at least 1 metre) at all times.
- Please use a mask that covers your nose and mouth (otherwise you will not be allowed into the building).
We recognise that there are members of our congregation who are advised not to attend public worship because of their age or medical condition. To keep them in touch we are planning to live-stream the Sunday Eucharist on the church’s Facebook page. In addition, a thought for the day will continue to appear on the Facebook page and we hope to continue posting the gospel for the day and a short reflection on Wednesdays and major Holy Days, usually with a link to a piece of music. These will also appear on the Chaplain’s page of this website (http://anglicanchurchgenoa.org/haplains-page-3/).
Protocol about the resumption of public worship
This Protocol concerns the necessary security measures for the gradual resumption of public worship. They must be followed carefully, in compliance with health regulations and the containment and management measures relating to the SARS-Co V- 2 epidemiological emergency.
- The bulleted points are not part of the protocol. They reflect local decisions and the advice of the Bishops of the Diocese in Europe and they are being put into practice.
1. ACCESS TO PLACES OF WORSHIP ON THE OCCASION OF LITURGICAL CELEBRATIONS
1.1. Individual access to places of worship must take place in such a way as to avoid any gathering whether in the building or in adjoining places, such as the sacristies and the churchyard.
- This means that gatherings before or after worship for fellowship and refreshments will not happen.
1.2. In compliance with the regulations regarding the separation between people, the organisation’s legally authorised representative identifies the maximum capacity of the place of worship, taking into account the minimum safety distance, which must be at least one metre either side and one metre front and rear.
- With the present seating arrangements the maximum number of people allowed in the Church of the Holy Ghost is 45.
- The seating areas are marked in a way to aid ‘distancing’. You will find a cross on the back of each seat or bench showing where to sit.
- Families and individuals who live in the same household can sit together if they are living together.
1.3. During this transition phase, access to the church remains limited and regulated by volunteers and / or staff members who – wearing suitable personal protective equipment, single-use gloves and an obvious identity tag – facilitate access and exit and monitor the maximum number of people allowed to enter. Where the number of worshippers expected significantly exceeds the maximum number allowed to attend, consider the possibility of increasing the number of services.
- All sidespeople/welcomers will wash their hands with an alcohol-based sanitizer. No handshaking or other physical touch is allowed. The churchwardens are directly involved in the ministry of welcome.
- If church is filled to its permitted capacity (currently 45), no further entry is possible. We recognise that refusing entry to a church is always undesirable and difficult, but in the present circumstances it may occasionally be necessary.
1.4. To facilitate orderly access, during which the safety distance of at least 1.5 metres must be respected, use multiple entrances, where these exist, perhaps distinguishing those reserved for entry from those reserved for exit. During the entry and exit of the faithful the doors remain open to facilitate a safer flow and to avoid doors and handles being touched.
1.5. Those who enter places of worship for services are required to wear masks.
- It is also urged that carrying tissues and using them to catch coughs and sneezes, and binning the tissue continues to be important. In addition, it is recommended that each individual or each family carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer.
1.6. Worshippers are reminded that access to the place of worship is not allowed in the event of flu-like/respiratory symptoms or in the case of a body temperature equal to or higher than 37.5º C.
1.7. Worshippers are also reminded that those who have previously been in contact with anyone testing positive for SARS-Co V-2 are not allowed access to the place of worship.
1.8. As far as possible, access for people with disabilities is encouraged and specific places provided for their participation in worship in compliance with current legislation.
1.9. Sanitizing liquids will be made available at the entrances to places of worship.
- Disinfectants and hand washing/sanitizing facilities will be provided at the church entrance; door handles and hand railings will be disinfected on a regular basis.
2. SANITISATION OF PLACES AND OBJECTS
2.1. The places of worship, including the sacristies, are sanitized regularly at the end of each celebration, by cleaning the surfaces with suitable antiseptic detergents. Also take care to encourage effective ventilation.
- Scrupulous cleaning of the church will need to be arranged after each use. Cleaning personnel will be carefully briefed/trained, supplied with proper gloves and disinfectants and (if working more than singly) equipped with masks.
2.2. At the end of each celebration, the sacred vessels, cruets and other objects used, as well as microphones, are carefully disinfected.
3. CONSIDERATIONS TO BE OBSERVED IN WORSHIP
3.1. To encourage compliance with the rules of distancing it is necessary to minimize the presence of concelebrants and ministers, who are in any case also required to respect the required distance in the chancel.
- Readers, preachers, leaders of intercessions etc., should take care not to touch lecterns or pulpits.
3.2. The provision of an organist is allowed, but without a choir at this stage.
- Congregational singing is problematic because singing appears to increase significantly the transmission of potentially infected droplets.
- Again, to reduce the possibility of transmission of potentially infected droplets, wind instruments should not be used to provide music or musical accompaniment.
3.3. Among the preparatory rites for Communion, the exchange of the sign of peace should continue to be omitted.
- Instead of shaking hands with neighbours at the peace, a sign of reconciliation can be conveyed in a different form, such as, bringing together the palms of one’s hands and bowing to the other with a smile, as in the Indian Namaste greeting. This greeting should continue at a distance.
3.4. The distribution of Communion takes place after the celebrant, and any lay ministers, have seen to the sanitisation of their hands and put on single-use gloves; the same ministers – wearing a mask, taking the greatest care to cover their nose and mouth and maintaining a suitable safety distance – take care to offer the host without coming into contact with the hands of communicants.
- The Bishops’ continued guidance is that Holy Communion is distributed in the form of bread/wafer only. Both elements will be consecrated, but the wine will not be distributed. It is a clear principle of Anglican theology that the sacrament of Holy Communion is present and complete in either of the consecrated elements.
- For the time being, only the presiding minister will handle the vessels and administer Holy Communion. Given that it will be in one kind for now, and in most places for not more than 50 persons, it is much easier to control hygiene if this is one person’s responsibility.
- Priests presiding at the Eucharist should wash their hands with an alcohol-based sanitizer.
- The Bishops emphasize the need for the priest to use a face mask and gloves. The priest should not touch anyone during the administration of the Holy Communion or in giving individual blessings, or laying on hands for prayer or for healing.
3.5. Communicants ensure compliance with the sanitary distance.
- The bread/wafer is safest distributed with communicants approaching in a single line standing with a sensible distance between them.
3.6. For hygienic-sanitary reasons, it is not appropriate for there to be musical or other resources in the places reserved for worshippers.
- Use of worship and hymn books will need to be avoided. A slightly shorter liturgy may be appropriate in order to keep the service to a maximum of one hour.
3.7. Offerings are not collected during the celebration, but by means of appropriate containers placed at the entrances or in another suitable place.
- Offerings are to be placed on a tray at the exit. Those who count the collection at the end of the service should wear gloves. Better still, use this as an opportunity to encourage online giving and direct debits
30 April 2020, Covid-19 update
The following update was issued by the British Embassy in Rome. Additional information can be found on the “News” page of the website.
Coronavirus and Phase II
The Italian government has now issued details of its Phase II planning. You can find full information here. In summary, ongoing restrictions remain in place – so individuals should only leave home for work and health reasons or necessities, e.g. food shopping/pharmacy visits, individual exercise. Self-declarations are still in use and for now the latest autodichiarazione of 26 March is still valid (be aware the form may shortly change). Visits to family members living within the same region will be permitted, wearing masks and respecting at least 1mt distance. Travel between regions is still prohibited – aside from reasons of work, urgency or health. People will be allowed to return home (residence or domicile) from wherever they are, carrying a self-declaration form. Access to parks and public gardens is allowed provided safety measures can be respected and people observe at least 1metre distance. Nurseries, schools and universities remain closed with continued on-line teaching. Masks are compulsory across Italy when in closed public spaces, including on public transport and in all conditions where compliance with social distancing may be more complex. In some regions, gloves may also be compulsory. Children below the age of 6 and people suffering from disabilities which are not compatible with the prolonged use of masks are exempted.
Where to find information
You can find more information on the government’s measures on the Italian Ministry of Health website (in Italian) and the Frequently Asked Questions document on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website (in English). Our Italy Travel Advice page also has all the most up to date details including links to the main government pages.
Travel between Italy and the UK
If you plan to travel between Italy and the UK, please consult the Italian government website here which details the requirements on entering Italy from overseas. Our Travel Advice page also has information on travelling to the UK here. Those travelling to Italy from the UK will need to evidence their reason for travel including presentation of a valid residency document before departure. You will need to complete two copies of the self-declaration form which should be presented before boarding in the UK and on arrival in Italy. Non-residents may be refused permission to travel unless you can prove a valid reason for entering Italy. Restriction on entering is being applied strictly so travel must be shown to be of absolute necessity. Masks must be worn on board the plane. On arrival in Italy you are required to self-quarantine for 14 days. You must inform your local health authority of your place of quarantine. Travel to the UK is permitted for a valid reason. On arrival in the UK you should comply with the current lockdown measures detailed here. These may change at short notice so please continue to consult the official information. Alitalia is operating limited flights between Rome and London. Flight schedules are likely to change at short notice. Please consult the airline website for further details.
10 March 2020, Covid-19 update
During the past couple of days both the regional administration and
the national government have imposed a range of preventative measures to
deal with the Covid-19 crisis and in accordance with their legal
provisions, we have to announce, with great regret, the SUSPENSION OF
ALL ACTIVITIES OF THE CHURCH OF THE HOLY GHOST UNTIL 3rd APRIL.
While on the one hand it is sad that we cannot ensure the smooth conduct of those gatherings which define us as a community of Christian believers, on the other hand, it is our duty in this situation, both as believers and as part of wider Italian society, to live up to our responsibilities towards one another. In this time of trial which we all share, we can perhaps better understand these words from the second letter to Timothy: “God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power, of love and self-control “(II Timothy 1.7). It in this spirit that we are trying to deal with the present crisis, in the certainty that the Lord is with us.
As we did on 1st March, we shall shortly be publishing on the church’s FB page a “virtual Eucharist” for this coming Sunday so that you can share in a celebration at home. We hope that in this way, as well as through other broadcast or web channels which offer meditations and acts of worship, we can all continue in the good habit of pausing in silence to listen to the Word, in the awareness that we belong to a larger and more extensive community.
During these weeks of lock-down the church building will be open for prayer on Wednesdays between 12:00 and 13:00 and on Sundays between 10:30 and 11:30. Access to the food-bank and clothing-bank will also be possible between those times. The church will also be open from 09:30 until 18:00 every Thursday in Lent for personal prayer and quiet reflection. The chaplain is always available to meet one-to-one and to answer the needs of individuals and families. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 010-889268. He can also be contacted via WhatsApp.
8th March, 2020
Please note that all the information that follows is provisional, depending on further instructions from the civic, regional, or national governments. If cancellations are necessary we will try to provide as much notice as possible.
- It was good to be back in church this morning, even with the restrictions on what is possible. Sadly the Taizé service at San Marco al Molo this evening has been cancelled, as has the Bible study at the Baptist Church that was scheduled for Thursday evening.
- On Wednesday 11th March, at midday, we will continue our series of talks about the way in which each Gospel describes the death of Jesus. This week’s talk will focus on St Matthew. It will be followed as usual by the midweek Eucharist.
- On Thursday 12th March there will be the third of our drop-in quiet days during Lent. This is something for anyone who has free time at some point between 10.30 a.m. and 6.00 p.m. and would like to spend it consciously in God’s presence. It isn’t necessary to stay all day, or even an hour or two. Just drop in for a few minutes.
- A reminder that it is nearly time to revise the Church’s Electoral Roll. If you are over sixteen years of age and baptised, and if you think of the Church of the Holy Ghost as “your” church, your name ought to be on the roll. If it isn’t, please collect a form from the church, fill it in and give it to the electoral roll officer, the chaplain, or one of the wardens.
- Our experiment in producing a “virtual Eucharist” last week has become one of the top stories on the home-page of the Diocese in Europe website (https://europe.anglican.org/). It was also the subject of an article in last week’s “Church Times” (https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2020/6-march/news/uk/chaplain-of-virus-hit-area-devises-rites-for-a-crisis).
Corona-virus: the Bishops’ guidance
Regular visitors to this page will know that the Church of England publishes guidance to all clergy and congregations here:
However, Bishop Robert and Bishop David have decided to go somewhat beyond this advice in certain respects because of the mobile and international nature of the congregations in this diocese and in the light of medical advice they have received.
They point out that coronavirus appears to present a particular risk to elderly people and those with reduced immunity or a pre-existing health condition. Their advice is given out of a mutual concern for the wellbeing of all members of our chaplaincies.
The Bishops write:
“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
+Robert Gibraltar in Europe +David”
We are applying the guidelines (and the provisions of the Italian government’s recent decrees) as follows:
1. All members of the congregation
Please follow good hygiene practice, including the following:
• Carry tissues and use them to catch coughs and sneezes. Then bin the tissue
• Wash hands with soap and water (for 20 seconds) or use sanitiser to kill germs.
• Use the hand gel provided as you come into church
• Use the soap or hand gel in the toilet; dry your hands on one of the paper towels and bin it immediately.
2. During the Eucharist
2.1 Taking your seat: Please sit at least a metre away from the nearest person (including those in front of and behind you).
2.2 At the peace: Please do not make physical contact (kiss, hug or handshake) with everyone in the church. For the time being, please limit this gesture to a smile and words of peace to those nearest to you. Advice will be offered on how to do this.
2.3 At the Communion: This will be shared in the form of wafer only. Both bread and wine will be consecrated but the wine will not be shared. This does not take anything away from the Eucharist. It is clearly understood in Anglican theology that the sacrament of Holy Communion is present and complete in either of the consecrated elements.
3. Sidesmen, Servers and Clergy
Priests presiding at the Eucharist, those who share in administering communion, and servers should wash their hands, preferably with an alcohol-based sanitiser. Sidespeople/welcomers and anyone serving refreshments should take similar precautions
4. After the Eucharist
There may be limitations, at least at first, on what is served as an aperitivo after the service.
5. Church cleaning
Those who help to clean the church are asked to take particular care when cleaning hard surfaces such as door handles. They are also asked to make sure that the toilet is cleaned regularly and thoroughly.
…we will continue to monitor the situation and guidance closely. At the same time, the Diocesan website (https://europe.anglican.org/) will continue to carry the latest updates from official sources – national governments, WHO and EU – so please keep an eye on this also.
Let us join in prayer that all the chaplaincies and congregations in
the Diocese in Europe can be oases of peace, loving fellowship and hope
in times of anxiety. In particular, let us 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.
As promised, here are the main provisions of the emergency ordinance from the Regional Governor, Giovanni Toti, and a summary of good hygiene practice in time of epidemic.
First the main provisions, agreed by the Region with the Ministry of Health:
1. Starting at 00.00 on Monday 24 February 2020 and until 24.00 on 1 March 2020 the following provisions will apply throughout the region:
a. the suspension of all public events, of any kind;
b. the suspension of participation in recreational and sports activities;
c. the suspension of children’s education services and schools of all grades, as well as the attendance at school, university and high-level vocational training activities and professional education and training courses, except distance learning activities and those related to health professions including internships;
d. the suspension of all educational travel, both domestically and abroad;
e. the suspension of the opening of museums and other institutions and places of culture and libraries to the public;
f. the suspension of public competitions except those relating to health professions;
(Section 2 refers to the overriding legislation)
3. A task force has been set up with the following mandate:
• to carry out preventative and informative activities for health personnel;
• to coordinate the actions with Medicina territoriale;
• to monitor the activation of the planned measures;
• to monitor the appropriateness for public health of institutional communication about COVID-19;
• to provide for the management of suspected/ probable/ confirmed cases and for monitoring contacts;
• to monitor current response capacity, with preparation of any incremental plans.
• to regulate access for visitors to patient areas in hospitals, RSA and in all units of socio-medical services;
(Sections 4, 5 and 6 apply primarily to those who have been in China or other affected areas)
Now here’s the practical advice on good hygiene practice:
1) wash your hands frequently with hydro-alcoholic solutions;
2) avoid close contact with people suffering from respiratory infections;
3) do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth with your hands;
4) Cover your nose and mouth if you sneeze or cough;
5) do not take antivirals or antibiotics unless prescribed;
6) clean surfaces with chlorine or alcohol-based disinfectants;
7) use the mask only if you suspect that you are sick or if you are attending sick people;
8) contact emergency number 112 if you have a fever, cough or breathing difficulties and have returned from China, or other areas of reported contagion;
PLEASE NOTE: the corona-virus crisis and the emergency ordinance of the regional government have made most of the notices about events this week null and void.
All public gatherings between now and midnight on Sunday 1st March have been banned. (Please see the next post for further details and health advice.)
The church will still be open on Thursday for anyone who wishes to make some time to be quiet with God, but the Ash Wednesday Eucharist has been cancelled, as has the Eucharist next Sunday. The church will, however, be open between midday and 1.30 p.m. on Wednesday for anyone who wishes to pray privately.
The situation is being kept under review. Further information will follow as it becomes available.