During the coronavirus pandemic the Church of England is having to put public worship on hold. This means that many people who would have received Holy Communion each Sunday, and some of them every day, are not able to receive the comfort and benefits of the sacrament.

This is a huge loss. However, it is not the first time that the Church has been in such a position. Throughout Christian history some Christian people have found themselves isolated from the sacramental life of the Church for all sorts of reasons, and particularly in times of plague, famine and warfare.

At such times the Church has encouraged people to make what is called a spiritual communion. It is a way of uniting yourself with Jesus and entering into communion with him even though you are not able to receive the sacrament itself. Here is a short Order of Service[1] that you can use at home.

In particular, you will notice a short prayer at the heart of the service which draws on the story of the woman who comes to Jesus but only touches the hem of his garment.[2] She still receives healing and blessing (See Mark 5. 25-34). In a way, spiritual communion is like this. We are not able to receive the sacramental bread and wine. But in a spiritual communion we still come to Jesus and he still receives us.

This is an act of communion that people can make anywhere and at any time and, if isolated from others, on their own. I commend it to you.

The Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, The Bishop of Chelmsford

Download the Spiritual Communion Order of Service

Collects for Lent

Readings for Lent


More Resources for Worship and Ministry during the Coronavirus Pandemic

Cornavirus Guidance for Parishes


[1] I am very grateful to Fr Richard Peers for his permission to slightly adapt the rite

[2] This prayer is adapted from the prayer in A Form of Spiritual Communion by Bishop Cecil John Wood, Bishop of Melanesia in 1916

For more information please contact The Diocese Communications team
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