As our church is in North West Italy we are in a protected lock-down zone, this means we come under the emergency measures ordered by the Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, on March 9th – “I stay home” . 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
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.