This email communication has been sent to all licensed Active Clergy, clergy who hold the bishop's Permission to Officiate, Retired Clergy, Readers, Authorised Lay Ministers, Churchwardens, Lay Chairs, PCC Secretaries, and the members of the Bishop’s Council of Diocesan Trustees.

Dear colleagues 

Today we had a very useful virtual meeting with our rural deans and commissioned three new rural deans.  Stephen Buckman for Beltisloe, Kimberley Bohan for Haverstoe, and David Swannack for Manlake.  Mark Holden was recommissioned for Horncastle. We are very grateful for the work of our rural deans at this time.

We would also encourage you to keep in your prayers the work of hospital chaplains across greater Lincolnshire. We do know that chaplaincy services at Lincoln Hospital and Boston Pilgrim Hospital are able to deliver messages to patients on behalf of clergy who are not able to visit parishioners in hospital.

This is done through the family liaison teams who can be contacted on 01522 573080 in Lincoln and 01205 445243 in Boston. For hospitals at Grimsby, Scunthorpe and Goole, the chaplaincy service can do the same on 0303 330 2489. Chaplaincy services are also able to provide materials for hospital staff who may seek advice on possible prayers for patients who may be alone with visiting note permitted at this time. An attachment provides advice for you on pastoral care for those at home with Covid 19.  

Funerals

The diocese has been working with groups including the police and others in what is often referred to as emergency planning. A key role for our stipendiary and retired clergy, as well as ministers and some Readers, may be conducting funerals in the coming weeks. We are preparing some advice on funerals to send to you tomorrow. At this point rural deans and deanery administrators will be seen as points of contact for funeral directors. In providing those key contacts to funeral directors we do not wish to change good clergy and funeral director relationships but to simply ensure we are providing them with a central contact point for each deanery. We also wish to express our pastoral support to funeral directors at this time. 

Today we have attached again the resources* for funerals which we think can be used and adapted when needed, particularly the reflection for those who are unable to attend funerals but still need to grieve. 

*The resources are as follows:
Church of England - Funeral at the Graveside
Church of England - Funeral at a Crematorium
Church of England - A reflection at home if you cannot attend a funeral
Church of England - Funerals during the COVID-19 Outbreak

A message from the Diocesan Secretary 
The Diocese is acutely conscious of the pressure the Covid-19 crisis is putting on our already challenged financial position.  The Diocesan Board of Finance is in the process of working with staff to take advantage of the Government’s offer of support by furloughing members of the Edward King House workforce. This will bring in a significant contribution to each person’s salary whilst retaining their job security during the crisis., The condition for this is that those on furlough may not do any work associated with their role. The logic behind this is that the present crisis, for example, with the closure of churches or the inability to do building work on property, means that for the time being there is no work for them to do. Obviously, this will have an impact on the service we provide but we think we can cover all that could be necessary. We will be reviewing the situation periodically. We will let people know what the impact will be and how to contact the right people when this short period of setting the scheme up is over.

Advice on Holy Communion

We want to acknowledge that this is a very difficult time for many congregants and also clergy with church buildings closed and so the opportunity physically to receive Holy Communion is not possible, something that is particularly painful during Holy Week and on Easter Sunday. 

In recognition of that we want to give the following advice which is based on national guidelines. It is possible for priests to celebrate Holy Communion in their homes and gardens. When doing so it is important to note that what they are doing is an expression of the shared life of the Body of Christ with those unable to be physically present, not the offering of an individual. If it is possible for you to have members of your household present with you as you celebrate we would encourage that, but where that is not possible we are content as your bishops, for this extraordinary period of time, for the Eucharist to be celebrated with no one else physically present.If others are physically present and you are recording or live-streaming, please be sensitive about communion:  those watching can only receive communion spiritually.

You might want to encourage those participating remotely to use the Act of Spiritual Communion on the Church of England website. Their spiritual participation will be understood as meaning that they shared in communion on a festival such as Easter and fulfils the obligation to do so. What must be avoided is any sense that bread and wine in the houses of those who are watching remotely is part of the act of consecration.  

We would like to invite the whole diocese to participate in worship during Holy Week, locally and as a wider family - and you can see the menu of diocesan planned diocesan contributions on the Diocese of Lincoln website, to sit alongside your local offering. 

With our prayers and thanks for all that you are doing 

Bishop David
The Right Reverend Dr David Court
Bishop of Grimsby
Acting Bishop of Lincoln

and

Bishop Nicholas
The Right Reverend Dr Nicholas Chamberlain
Bishop of Grantham