Church of England Diocese in Europe


Christ Church in the Manche at Gratot-Hommeel and Virey

Dear Christian friends,

In response to the escalating COVID-19 Coronavirus situation, after careful consultation, we have decided to cancel both of our services on Sunday 15th March. All other Church activities this coming week are cancelled as well, including the Quiz and the Lent Course. We will write again to update you all regarding future events.

This has been a complicated and finely-balanced decision. Government advice as of last night (12th March) is that those aged over 70, and those with certain underlying health issues, should restrict public contact as far as possible. Almost all of our congregation, and our ministers, fall within those vulnerable groups. An additional concern is the proportion of our regular and committed worshippers who care for members of their household who are in poor health. Their decisions about social contact obviously have a potential impact on family members.

There has been (so far) no actual ban on church services in La Manche, so we did consider whether to warn people, but to go ahead with services this Sunday for those who still wished to attend. As well as reduced congregations, this would have led to practical complications, with people on duty potentially feeling torn between church responsibilities and other concerns. Leaders who travel some distance might only find a handful of worshippers. One might even have people feeling that they shouldn't attend but doing so anyway out of loyalty, in order not to let the worship leader down!

We are sorry if this news disappoints you. Please do not imagine our decision reflects fear or lack of commitment: God does care for us and protect us, but as Christians we also believe that science is a gift from God which needs to be used thankfully.

Nobody knows how long this situation will last, but we will be keeping in regular touch and looking for creative ways to keep the Church together using technology. Please keep in touch with your Church leaders and with one another, and please pray for a swift end to a crisis which is causing such difficulty and misery across the world.

Love in Christ Jesus,

(Revd) Chris Probert

on behalf of the Leadership Team