This page is intended to be a starting point for churches and Christians seeking information on the various issues churches are facing in responding to the Covid–19 virus. The Irish Council of Churches and Irish Inter–Church Committee are representative bodies and, as such, have no authority or expertise so this page will mainly point to member church resources or other publicly available authoritative sources of information helpful to churches.
The information here is incomplete and we will endeavour to add to it and review it on an ongoing basis.
Member churches have produced many prayer resources, some intended for use in online broadcast services, some in pastoral circumstances and some for personal use.
- A Prayer for Peace of Mind – Archbishop Michael Jackson & Archbishop–elect John McDowell: http://www.ireland.anglican.org/news/9463/statement-from-the-archbishop-of
- A Prayer in the Time of the Coronavirus – Archbishop Michael Jackson: https://www.ireland.anglican.org/news/9440/a-prayer-in-the-time
- A Prayer in this Time of Challenge – Bishop Larry Duffy: https://www.clogherdiocese.ie/2020/03/a-prayer-in-this-time-of-challenge/
- Prayer Resources for use during the Coronavirus Pandemic – Catholic Bishops’ Conference: https://www.catholicbishops.ie/2020/03/16/prayer-resources-for-use-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic/
- Presbyterian Church in Ireland “Let’s Pray” Resources: https://www.presbyterianireland.org/Prayer/Prayer-for-Today.aspx
- “Lockdown” by Bro. Richard Hendrick: https://www.facebook.com/BroRichard/posts/10158060660454328
A Prayer for our Priests as they exercise their ministry during this time of the Coronavirus
Be with our priests this day as they seek to minister to your people.
May you be a guiding and protective presence with them as they bring the consolation and hope of Your word and the grace and nourishment of Eucharist to those entrusted into their care.
Grant them the strength of mind and body, keep them safe to do your will, and give them the courage and peace to face each day with trust and confidence in You.
Into your hands O God, we commend them; fill them with your grace and healing.
Special Prayer for the Cessation of the new Epidemic from the Romanian Orthodox Church
Lord, our God, who are merciful, with your wise care, protect our lives, hear our prayer, receive our repentance for our sins and stop the new contagious disease (the new epidemic), as you stopped the punishing of your people in the time of King David.
You are the healer of our souls and bodies, give recovery to those affected by sickness by raising them up from the bed of pain, to praise You, Merciful Saviour, and protect the healthy from any disease. Bless, strengthen and protect with your Grace, O Lord, all those who, with love of people and sacrifice, care for the sick at their homes or hospitals.
Remove all sickness and suffering from people and teach us to cherish life and health as your gifts. Give us, Lord God, your peace and fill our hearts with unwavering faith in your protection, reliable in your help and love towards you and your neighbour.
That yours belongs the mercy to save us, our God.
Glory to You, The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit, now and ever and ever.
Homilies, Sermons and Messages
- Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference. “The Church – showing Solidarity and Compassion in a time of Social Distancing” – Homily of Archbishop Eamon Martin: https://www.catholicbishops.ie/2020/03/22/the-church-showing-solidarity-and-compassion-in-a-time-of-social-distancing-archbishop-eamon-martin/
- Moderator’s Sunday Morning Service – Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. Available every Sunday: https://www.presbyterianireland.org/News/March-2020/Moderator-s-Sunday-morning-service.aspx
- Online Worship Resource for Sunday 22nd March 2020 – Methodist President Sam McGuffin: https://vimeo.com/399220392
- The Salvation Army and the Coronavirus – Salvation Army: https://www.salvationarmy.org.uk/salvation-army-and-coronavirus
Church of Ireland
- Message from Bishop John McDowell – includes video (Diocese of Clogher): http://www.ireland.anglican.org/news/9524/a-message-from-the-bishop
- Letter of encouragement from Bishop David McClay (Diocese of Down and Dromore): https://www.ireland.anglican.org/news/9515/encouragement-from-bishop-david
- Pastoral letter from Bishop Patrick Rooke (Diocese of Tuam, Killala and Achonry): http://www.ireland.anglican.org/news/9507/pastoral-letter-from-bishop-patrick
- Reflection from Bishop Andrew Forster (Diocese of Derry and Raphoe): http://www.ireland.anglican.org/news/9502/jesus-knows-what-isolation-is
- Message from the Lord Mayor and Bishops of Cork (video): http://www.ireland.anglican.org/news/9493/lord-mayor-and-bishops-of
Information from the Government
Republic of Ireland
- HSE Information on Covid–19: https://www2.hse.ie/coronavirus/
- Religious Settings Guidance: https://www.hpsc.ie/a-z/respiratory/coronavirus/novelcoronavirus/guidance/religioussettingsguidance/
- Funeral Directors guidance: https://www.hpsc.ie/a-z/respiratory/coronavirus/novelcoronavirus/guidance/funeraldirectorsguidance/
- You, Your Community and COVID–19. Information on Community Support from the Dept of Rural and Community Development: https://assets.gov.ie/71879/f6493965be1643aeadca1d50764de6d4.pdf
- Advice for Vulnerable People from the Dept of Rural and Community Development: https://assets.gov.ie/71722/84a45f967221449d9c47d0202d414eb1.pdf
- COVID–19 (coronavirus) – HSC Public Health Agency: https://www.publichealth.hscni.net/news/covid-19-coronavirus
- Health and Social Care NI Online – Your gateway to local health and care services: http://online.hscni.net
- Coronavirus (COVID–19) overview and advice – nidirect: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-overview-and-advice
- Covid 19 (coronavirus) situation – Northern Ireland Department of Health: https://www.health-ni.gov.uk/coronavirus
Guidance and Suggestions of How to Help
- Alone run Befriending Network Ireland, a national support network for befriending services for older people across Ireland. https://alone.ie/befriending-networks-ireland/
- Alone also coordinate a more general volunteer service where people can deliver groceries, prescriptions, fuel or provide telephone support for older people. Volunteer at: https://www.tfaforms.com/4715929
- Follow \#CommunityResponseIRL hashtag on Twitter for ideas on volunteering in the community. https://twitter.com/hashtag/CommunityResponseIRL
- Faith Sector Coronavirus Action Hub at the NICVA Faith in Community Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/nicvafaithincommunity/
Services for Vulnerable Groups
Refugees and Migrants
Covid–19 Information updates from Migrant Rights Centre Ireland: https://www.mrci.ie/get-info/#updates
Christians Against Poverty are revising their working practices given the current constraints on face–to–face meetings. Information at: https://capuk.org/coronavirus
SeniorLine: Third Age Ireland is a national organisation who take care of the elderly. SeniorLine is one of their programmes and could pastorally be very helpful to your bishops, priests and older members of your lay faithful at this time. SeniorLine has been the national, confidential listening service for older people, run by trained older volunteers since 1998. This peer–to–peer helpline for older people receives in excess of 10,000 calls per year. If you are feeling worried, stressed or isolated at this very unnerving time, please feel free to ring this FREEPHONE service anytime between 10am and 10pm on any day of the week on1800 80 45 91.
Good news stories
- Eglinton Churches Together. Churches in Faughanvale respond to Coronavirus challenge: https://www.irishchurches.org/news-blog/5410/churches-in-faughanvale-respond-to
- Donaghmore and Castlecaulfield – Coronavirus: Cross–community effort for those in self–isolation – BBC News: https://www.bbc.com/news/av/uk-northern-ireland-52024121/coronavirus-cross-community-effort-for-those-in-self-isolation
This is a stressful and anxious time for clergy and church leaders themselves as they go about their ministry and pastoral work. Many are amongst the at–risk groups and wonder how to balance the needs of their church community with their own physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing. Some of these resources may help:
- Flourish Self Care Toolkit for Clergy: http://www.wewillflourish.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/flourish-self-care-book-press-2017-1.pdf
- Minding your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak – HSE: https://www2.hse.ie/wellbeing/mental-health/minding-your-mental-health-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.html
- Who pastors the pastor? Care4Clergy offer information and supports to clergy, including a listening service: https://care4clergy.com
Still Church (church from home)
- Coronavirus (COVID–19) guidance for religious services from the HSE although almost all churches are no longer holding open services: https://www.hpsc.ie/a-z/respiratory/coronavirus/novelcoronavirus/guidance/religioussettingsguidance/COVID%2019_Guidance%20for%20religious%20services%20V1.5.pdf
Worship and Prayer Resources
- Presbyterian Church in Ireland – “These Three Remain” – A range of devotions, prayer points, blogs and stories are provided to encourage and equip churches and their members in these days https://www.presbyterianireland.org/thesethreeremain
- Methodist Church in Ireland including online resources, worship, ideas for service and safeguarding https://www.irishmethodist.org/covid-19
- C of I Daily Worship app: https://www.ireland.anglican.org/prayer-worship/lectionary/daily-worship-app
- The Bible Society Northern Ireland – Where to Look in the Bible: https://biblesocietyni.co.uk/2019/01/29/free-resourcewhere-to-look-in-the-bible/
- 24–7 Prayer has resources in many languages and a family–friendly prayer guide: https://www.24-7prayer.com/coronavirusprayer
Guidance for online worship broadcasts
When planning an online presence for services you need to consider if you want to livestream a service, or record it first and then upload it for viewers to see later. Here are some resources which can point you in the right direction for either option. Licensing issues for songs and lyrics also need consideration.
- James Doc has written “A note about livestreaming and song licensing in churches”: https://jamesdoc.com/blog/2020/covid-19-live-streaming-song-licensing/
- Digital tools for churches collected here: https://covid.churcheshandbook.co.uk
- Vineyard UK – Streaming Live Worship: https://www.vineyardchurches.org.uk/resources/streaming-live-worship/
- Church of England – A beginner’s guide to going live with your service or event for free: https://www.churchofengland.org/more/church-resources/digital-labs/labs-learning-blog/beginners-guide-going-live-your-service-or
- Vineyard UK – Getting Started With Filming: https://www.vineyardchurches.org.uk/resources/getting-started-with-filming/
Links to webcast services
Mass aired every weekday at 10.30am from St Eunan’s and St Columba’s Cathedral, Letterkenny on RTÉ News Now which can be accessed on Saorview (channel 21), Sky (521), Virgin Media (200), Eir (517) as well as via the RTÉ Player, the RTÉ News Now app. RTÉ Player link here: https://www.rte.ie/player/series/mass/SI0000006832
- Roman Catholic: https://www.catholicbishops.ie/2020/03/16/broadcast-online-and-parish-radio-mass/
- Church of Ireland – see link at: https://www.ireland.anglican.org
- Presbyterian: Moderator’s Sunday Service each week: https://www.presbyterianireland.org/News.aspx
- Moravian: https://www.facebook.com/pg/britishmoravianchurch/videos
Resources for Young People and Families:
- The Church of Ireland Youth Department (CIYD) have produced a resource to help with youth ministry, available for download from: https://ciyd.org/news/youth-ministry-a-response-to-covid-19/, and their facebook page will be updated weekly: www.facebook.com/COIYD
- The Church of Ireland has also put together a page with resources for families on the Church of Ireland website, to help them to grow and deepen their faith in Jesus at this time. Covid–19: Resources for Family Activities: https://www.ireland.anglican.org/parish-resources/607/covid19-resources-for-family-activities
- Irish Methodist Youth and Children’s Department covid19 resources: https://imycd.org/covid-19/
- Sunday nights @ 7pm – live youth session with TOM Team on IMYC Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/imycd
- Fridays @ 12noon – children’s teaching and craft with TOM Team on IMYC Youtube account: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTwAcHEK_ZM8vfDYzuqs8mg
- Wednesdays @ 4pm – podcast with TOM Team on IMYC website: https://imycd.org
News and Press Releases from Churches
- COVID–19: Church Leaders respond to NI Justice Minister’s statement: https://www.irishchurches.org/news-blog/5412/covid19-church-leaders-respond-to
- Cold calling continues during Covid–19 Pandemic: https://www.irishchurches.org/news-blog/5411/cold-calling-continues-during-covid19
- Thanks to Northern Ireland’s teachers and school governors from the Transferor Representatives’ Council (Church of Ireland, Presbyterian Church and Methodist Church): http://www.ireland.anglican.org/news/9483/transferor-representatives-council-expresses-thanks