Bishop Reverend Doctor Murray Alexander Harvey in the Christchurch Cathedral
Bishop Reverend Doctor Murray Alexander Harvey in the Christchurch Cathedral

Anglican churches told to stock up on hand sanitiser

ANGLICANS in Northern NSW have been directed to stop shaking hands as a sign-of-peace during services to protect their community from the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Parishioners are also being advised to bow instead of shaking hands.

The measures were announced in an statement by Anglican Bishop of Grafton, Rev Dr Murray Harvey.

The Grafton diocese includes the Northern Rivers area, from the Tweed to Port Macquarie.

"We are all aware of the impact that the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak is having in communities around the world and now here in Australia," Dr Harvey said.

Among Anglican Bishop Harvey's main suggestions was to keep a very focused hand hygiene.

"Encourage people to clean their hands using an alcohol-based cleanser when they arrive at the church or other venue," the statement reads.

"Those serving the Sacrament should clean their hands with an alcohol-based cleaner just prior to starting the Eucharistic prayers. Note that with the spread of the coronavirus, some supplies that might be important to ensure hygienic practices are already becoming hard to obtain. It is recommended that at each centre you have at least 2 large bottles of hand sanitiser that is comprised of at least 60% alcohol. One for the entrance of the Church and another for the Sanctuary."

Sidespersons at services should refrain from hand contact, according to the Bishop.

Dr Harvey also suggested parishioners to refrain from any physical contact or proximity to each other people during the Greeting of Peace.

"It may be appropriate to acknowledge them with a prayerful bow of the head and a suitable hand gesture, such as hands prayerfully pressed together."

Other optional suggestions were offered to each parish in regards to the Holy Communion and wine.



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