Footwashing in COVID times

Nunc DimittisNunc Dimittis Shipmate Posts: 25
So I'm in the process of organising our Holy Week liturgies. Much to-do has been made of not ashing folk for Ash Wednesday (we got round it - after the lockdown - by sprinkling ashes on people's heads rather than smudging foreheads on Lent I) because of COVID and not touching people.

What on earth to do for footwashing (which, let's face it, at the best of times people have issues with for a variety of reasons)? At the moment I'm edging towards some sort of handwashing including hand sanitiser, performed by me and the curate only (usually folk here would wash each other's feet/hands) wearing masks and sanitising between each person. I should also mention that this is Melbourne, OZ, where we last had a COVID case weeks ago (so the risk is pretty low). Diocesan authorities have not given clear advice on what to do re footwashing.

What are you planning to do in your context?

Comments

  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    For years, we have washed hands rather than feet. 3 or 4 small tables set around the nave, each with a basin of warmed water and a stack of hand towels. Your hands are washed with a short injunction by the washer "Serve as you have been served", with the response "I shall serve". The washee then becomes the washer for the next in line. Not sure how we can make that covid safe, I doubt that a splash of lavender in the water will be a strong enough disinfectant.
  • GalilitGalilit Shipmate
    Tea tree oil?!
  • Just have to do a more thorough wash using soap, surely? In reality, of course, so long as the washer has cleaned their hands properly there is little risk of the washee carrying covid on their feet. The issue is not the washing itself so much as having people in close proximity breathing the same air.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Tea tree or eucalyptus oil would both work, but you'd probably need to put quite a bit each bowl.
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    edited March 11
    RC bishops in England have issued detailed instructions. https://cbcew.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2021/03/Vade-Mecum-Holy-Week-280221.pdf
    No palm processions, no foot washing, no procession after Mass on Thursday or keeping watch, no individual veneration of the cross, no blessing of the paschal candle, no individual candles, no baptisms, no sprinkling of congregation, truncated readings. And still no congregational singing.
    It will be very cut down, but still infinitely better than last year when churches were locked for Holy Week. We had a Zoom planning meeting this week. It was good to have something to plan for.
  • Much the same in the C of E (I haven't checked the detailed instructions). AIUI, baptisms can go ahead, but with strict regulations as to numbers attending, so it's unlikely that they'll be held within a main service IYSWIM.

    As @Alan29 says, at least services can be held, be they ever so minimalist...

    I shan't be going to any of ours, as FatherInCharge insists on everyone saying hymns, a practice which I find bizarre, pointless, and unsatisfactory.
  • angloidangloid Shipmate
    Alan29 wrote: »
    RC bishops in England have issued detailed instructions. https://cbcew.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2021/03/Vade-Mecum-Holy-Week-280221.pdf
    no blessing of the paschal candle.

    I don't understand this. Why not?
  • yohan300yohan300 Shipmate
    edited March 11
    Much the same in the C of E (I haven't checked the detailed instructions). AIUI, baptisms can go ahead, but with strict regulations as to numbers attending, so it's unlikely that they'll be held within a main service IYSWIM.

    As @Alan29 says, at least services can be held, be they ever so minimalist...

    I shan't be going to any of ours, as FatherInCharge insists on everyone saying hymns, a practice which I find bizarre, pointless, and unsatisfactory.

    I've never been to said evening prayer because I find the reading of the Mag and Nunc rather unsatisfactory compared to the choral worship I am accustomed to. I suspect if I didn't live near so many choirs I might think quite differently about it though.

    As to foot washing, as long a soap is present in the water I don't see any scientific reason it would be more hazardous than hand washing.
  • Personally, I don't mind saying the Canticles (and Psalm) at a simple said Office, but the ghastly mumbling of hymns (by face-masked people) just adds yet more useless verbiage to services which are already far too long and wordy IMHO.

    Or, to put it another way (and rather impolitely), FatherInCharge already talks too much during the Eucharist...

    Regarding foot-washing, I've never really warmed to it as part of the Maundy Thursday Eucharist, so any excuse to abandon it is welcome! I suppose it's being proscribed this year as part of the general reduction, wherever possible, of close personal contact.
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    angloid wrote: »
    Alan29 wrote: »
    RC bishops in England have issued detailed instructions. https://cbcew.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2021/03/Vade-Mecum-Holy-Week-280221.pdf
    no blessing of the paschal candle.

    I don't understand this. Why not?

    Its harder to get a standing crowd to socially distance than when they are in allocated seats.
  • yohan300yohan300 Shipmate
    Regarding foot-washing, I've never really warmed to it as part of the Maundy Thursday Eucharist, so any excuse to abandon it is welcome! I suppose it's being proscribed this year as part of the general reduction, wherever possible, of close personal contact.

    I think Queen Mary was the last monarch in England to do it properly, although James I made a token gesture. I suppose if monarchs have abandoned it that's as good an excuse as any.
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    yohan300 wrote: »
    Regarding foot-washing, I've never really warmed to it as part of the Maundy Thursday Eucharist, so any excuse to abandon it is welcome! I suppose it's being proscribed this year as part of the general reduction, wherever possible, of close personal contact.

    I think Queen Mary was the last monarch in England to do it properly, although James I made a token gesture. I suppose if monarchs have abandoned it that's as good an excuse as any.

    Since Mary 1 the foibles of the person on the throne have been irrelevant to my church.
  • Alan29 wrote: »
    yohan300 wrote: »
    Regarding foot-washing, I've never really warmed to it as part of the Maundy Thursday Eucharist, so any excuse to abandon it is welcome! I suppose it's being proscribed this year as part of the general reduction, wherever possible, of close personal contact.

    I think Queen Mary was the last monarch in England to do it properly, although James I made a token gesture. I suppose if monarchs have abandoned it that's as good an excuse as any.

    Since Mary 1 the foibles of the person on the throne have been irrelevant to my church.

    Even James II and VII?
  • angloidangloid Shipmate
    Alan29 wrote: »
    angloid wrote: »
    Alan29 wrote: »
    RC bishops in England have issued detailed instructions. https://cbcew.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2021/03/Vade-Mecum-Holy-Week-280221.pdf
    no blessing of the paschal candle.

    I don't understand this. Why not?

    Its harder to get a standing crowd to socially distance than when they are in allocated seats.

    Surely the congregation could remain in their seats while the paschal candle was blessed at a safe social distance but within everyone's view.
  • Those of us fortunate enough (?) to be in the C of E are allowed to bless, mark, and carry the Paschal Candle - but observing strict social distancing, and with the minimum number of people actually handling the Candle.

    The last Easter Vigil we had at Our Place was several years ago. There were six people present (including the then priest-in-charge). Our current incumbent has arranged a Vigil, but we have warned him that, under the circumstances, attendance may be a trifle low, which, of course, makes social distancing easier...

  • This strikes me as quite risky and something to be avoided.
    Prolonged time in the presence of others, even masked, distanced. The ventilation of older church buildings concerns me: what air is circulated and filtered.
  • This strikes me as quite risky and something to be avoided.
    Prolonged time in the presence of others, even masked, distanced. The ventilation of older church buildings concerns me: what air is circulated and filtered.

    Well, I see your point.

    I've not been to church since the end of October last year, partly because I felt that (despite warnings) the situation was not being taken seriously enough.

    OTOH, it is lawful for churches in England to be open for public worship, as long as a risk assessment is carried out, and all relevant guidelines are followed. Most of the churches near Our Place have elected to remain closed, with online services only, although I know that some are planning to reopen for Palm Sunday, or for Easter.
  • AnselminaAnselmina Shipmate
    yohan300 wrote: »
    Much the same in the C of E (I haven't checked the detailed instructions). AIUI, baptisms can go ahead, but with strict regulations as to numbers attending, so it's unlikely that they'll be held within a main service IYSWIM.

    As @Alan29 says, at least services can be held, be they ever so minimalist...

    I shan't be going to any of ours, as FatherInCharge insists on everyone saying hymns, a practice which I find bizarre, pointless, and unsatisfactory.

    I've never been to said evening prayer because I find the reading of the Mag and Nunc rather unsatisfactory compared to the choral worship I am accustomed to. I suspect if I didn't live near so many choirs I might think quite differently about it though.

    Possibly! The Mag and the Nunc are, of course, straight quotes from scripture and liturgical staples for those who do the daily office. In fact, are used as lectionary readings on occasion. But sung or choral evensongs are definitely much more fun!

  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    That's definitely a case of mileages varying. In most choral gigs these days I find myself listening to the seventeenth bar of an amen and praying for the parousia.
  • Same here, I'm afraid. The only thing more tedious than Choral Evensong is Choral Matins...

    I'll get me coat.
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    Zappa wrote: »
    That's definitely a case of mileages varying. In most choral gigs these days I find myself listening to the seventeenth bar of an amen and praying for the parousia.

    Depends on the quality of the choir and the music for me. I'm an organist who refuses to have a parish choir.
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