Dear friends in Christ,
Grace and peace be with you as we live through this holy season of Lent.
We continue to closely monitor the information about the virus COVID-19 and, particularly, its effect on the health of people in our communities.
The Public Health Agency of Canada continues to assess the current risk associated with this virus as low for our area. However, we want to be diligent in our practices out of concern for the well-being of the most vulnerable people among us.
Therefore, I have made the decision to temporarily suspend the sharing of the common cup at celebrations of the Eucharist, effective immediately. The presiding priest is to consecrate both the bread and the wine, consume in both kinds, but to administer only the bread to the congregation. We will be participating fully in the presence of Christ by this action.
In addition to advice and hygiene information included in the previous letters, I am also mandating a contact-free exchange of the peace. A simple bow with the verbal exchange of peace is the most responsible solution at this point.
Among other things, we are a community of bread and wine, touching in peace, and gracious hospitality so these measures run against our normal instincts and wishes. We pray that they will be in effect for a short period of time. Please continue to pray for all of those suffering from the virus, those caring for them, and those ailing in other ways. May the God of peace be with you all.
The Right Reverend Todd Townshend
Bishop of Huron