A Pastoral Statement from the Bishops of The Society

Our first concern as bishops is to express our concern and promise our prayers for all those who are directly affected by the Coronavirus, particularly those who by age or health condition are especially vulnerable. 

Alongside the priests of The Society, we shall continue to support those most in need through the on-going witness of our parishes.

The key sources of information on Coronavirus remains the websites at the bottom of this article.

These official statements, and the recent letter from our Archbishops, should be read alongside this pastoral statement.     

As a necessary step, and in keeping with the Archbishops’ advice to suspend public worship, we are cancelling the Chrism Masses due to be celebrated by the Bishops of The Society.

This does not mean that the spiritual benefits that flow from the great liturgies of Holy Week cannot be obtained through other means.

We are aware that many cathedrals, parish churches and other religious buildings will remain open for prayer – noting the need for the safe practicing of not less than two metres physical distancing – and that some will also be seeking to place devotional material on-line during this period, or even live-stream liturgies conducted in private.

 For our own part, we shall look to issue four short devotional videos during this period: one for each of Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter. We hope that these videos will provide a focus for our common prayers at this testing time. Other appropriate devotional resources will be made available here*.

We are acutely aware of the pain and anxiety many are experiencing, made all the more testing by the suspension of public worship at this the high point of the Church’s year. We urge all parishes in our care—and indeed, all Christians—to continue in these, and other, ways to continue to participate in the Church’s prayer and witness in the testing months which lie ahead for everyone.

The Rt Revd Tony Robinson, Bishop of 

  Wakefield, Chairman

The Rt Revd Glyn Webster, Bishop of Beverley

The Rt Revd Philip North, Bishop of Burnley

The Rt Revd Martin Warner, Bishop of 


The Rt Revd Jonathan Goodall, Bishop of 


The Rt Revd Jonathan Baker, Bishop of 


The Rt Revd Norman Banks, Bishop of 


The Pastoral letter from the Bishops was written before it became necessary to close places of worship in order to reduce the spread of Covid-19. People and priests were encouraged to continue their lives of prayer as can be seen elsewhere in this issue.




* www.churchunion.co.uk/coronavirusresources

A Prayer for use at home

God of healing and hope, in Jesus you meet us in our places of pain and fear.  Look with mercy on those who have contracted the new virus, on any who are vulnerable, and on all who feel in danger.  Through this time of global concern, by your Holy Spirit  bring out the best not the worst in us. Make us more aware of our interdependence on each other,  and of the strength that comes from being one body in you.  Through Christ our wounded healer.  Amen.  (The Rev’ d Dr Sam Wells Vicar of St Martin’s in the Field)