The Church of Ireland has announced to their clergy that all services and parish activities in Northern Ireland are suspended until further notice to tackle the coronavirus.
The move follows a similar announcement by the Church of England Archbishops of Canterbury and York — Justin Welby and John Sentamu — advising in an open letter that the organisation will cease all public worship.
The traditional Church of Ireland St Patrick’s Day morning service in Northern Ireland went ahead on Tuesday, with the Communion at Saul in Downpatrick taking place in the open air.
In a statement, the Church of Ireland advised that “all Sunday and midweek services should be suspended”.
It said that the numbers of people attending funerals and weddings should also be kept “as low as possible”, with the suggestion that funeral services should be held in private “with no public announcement of the funeral arrangements”.
While some meetings will still take place among senior “select vestry”, the advice given by the Church of Ireland states that those who display any symptoms of the virus — such as a high temperature or a new continuous cough — should not attend, and instead should self-isolate.
Those in vulnerable groups have also been advised by the church not to attend any such meetings.
In an effort to keep church schedules as normal as possible, the statement also advises that “creative” electronic means of communication and worship should be encouraged.