Worship at home with Canterbury Cathedral and Diocese

Holy Week

The National Church Team have created this guidance for observing Holy Week and Easter during the Coronavirus pandemic, which you may find helpful. It includes practical activities to do at home, suggestions for prayer and Bible study, live-streaming services, and useful guidance for dioceses and churches. You can also find out more about what the National Church will be offering in terms of prayer, reflection and worship during this time online here

You may spot me in BBC1's Palm Sunday Worship from Hereford Cathedral this Sunday (don't worry, it was pre-recorded on 22 March, before churches were closed and all physical distancing guidance was followed). 

On Maundy Thursday, we would like to encourage our lay and ordained ministers to join us at 11am on our Youtube channel to reaffirm our ministerial vows together. Please share this with others who may wish to join us and do make time in your diary to share in this special moment across our diocese. 

On Easter Day, the nation's worship service will be led by Archbishop Justin. I myself will be contributing, reflecting on stories of how churches are stepping up to the challenge of Coronavirus in Canterbury Diocese, and Theo (aged 10) from All Saints in Canterbury will be leading the prayers. This broadcast will also be available on the Church of England’s website and Facebook page at 9am and can be heard from 8:10am on BBC Radio 4, as well as across the BBC's local radio stations.

Of course, our Cathedral is truly playing its role as Mother Church throughout this period. Despite the fact that it remains closed for visitors and worship, you are still welcomed into the Cathedral community via their online services. You can find out all about their regular worship here and during Holy Week you will also be able to enjoy:

Palm Sunday (5 April)

  • Blessing of palms (by 10am)

  • Palm Sunday Eucharist (12noon)

  • Palm Sunday Evening Prayer (by 5.30pm)

Stations of the Cross:

  • The stations will come out one by one, Monday - Wednesday by: 10am, 11am, 1pm, 3pm, 5.30pm.

Maundy Thursday:

  • Morning Prayer (by 10am)

  • Liturgy of Maundy Thursday (7pm)

Good Friday:

  • Morning Prayer (by 10am)

  • 1 Hour of Readings, Music, and Reflections for Good Friday with The Dean (12 noon)

Holy Saturday:

  • Morning Prayer (by 10am)

  • Evening Prayer (by 5.30pm)

  • Easter Vigil (8.30pm)

Easter Day:

  • Morning Prayer (by 10am)

  • Easter Sunday Eucharist (12noon)

  • Evening Prayer (by 5.30pm)


Beyond Holy Week

It would be wonderful to think that everything will soon get much easier for us after three weeks in lockdown - and in some ways that may be true - though the Coronavirus crisis is set to affect our nation and communities for quite some time yet. As we seek to minister and live the Gospel through these times, we must remember, friends, that this is a marathon and not a sprint.

To that end, please do prioritise your own well-being during this time. The Church of England has published this resource, which focuses on the well-being of lay and ordained leaders during the Coronavirus pandemic - and don't forget about their new resource to support mental health at this time. 

It is traditional for many clergy to take time off after Easter, to recover from the pressures of ministry. Where that may still be possible and helpful for you, please ensure that you do so. For some of you this may not be possible or desirable - I leave that to you to decide. But, whatever you do in Easter week, please try to ensure that you make time for your own flourishing and refreshment.

As ever, please don't forget the check the Church of England's Coronavirus webpage and our own webpage for all the latest information and advice - these pages are being updated almost daily to reflect the queries and concerns coming from our parishes. If you can't find what you need there, please contact your archdeacon in the first instance. 

Be assured that I will continue to hold you in my prayers, asking that you may discover afresh Christ's gifts to you this season, in a spirit of huge gratitude for each one of you.

I will be in touch again with you on Monday. 

With blessings,

The Rt Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin
Bishop of Dover and Bishop in Canterbury 

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