Managing Coronavirus (COVID-19) at St. Mary’s Church, Whitkirk

Dear friends,

As you all know the last few days have seen a significant increase in England of those being diagnosed with Coronavirus.

Our Bishop, Nick, wrote to all the clergy of the diocese on Monday both to advise us of the seriousness of the situation and what we might do as churches to limit its impact.

Therefore, having discussed the matter with the Standing Committee of our PCC we have agreed to take the following steps based on the current advice being issued.

  • Place (when available) alcohol hand wash at the entrance to the church, on the credence table and in the sacristy
  • Refrain from sharing ‘a sign of peace’ with a handshake
  • Refrain from intinction (or dipping) the wafer into the wine

At present the common cup has not been suspended therefore it is possible to receive the sacrament in both kinds. However, those who prefer may just receive communion in one kind.

Whilst this may seem an overly cautious response, we need to take seriously the advice we have been given and act accordingly.

I hope that you will understand the need to take this course of action.

With love and prayers,

— Matthew Peat, Vicar

Life-saving AED now available at Whitkirk

St Mary’s Church, Whitkirk is pleased to share the news that they have recently installed an automated external defibrillator at St Mary’s Church Whitkirk Community Centre. This life-saving equipment is now available to the local community 24/7, and in an emergency can be accessed quickly with a 999 call.

Sudden cardiac arrest can strike at any time. Having an AED available within three minutes – when combined with CPR – can buy essential time for the emergency services to arrive and bring the chances of survival from 6% to over 70%.

Members of the public wishing to help cover the cost of the ongoing maintenance of this vital equipment should visit to find out more.

Anybody suspecting a cardiac arrest should always call 999 before anything else, where the ambulance service can share the code needed to access the AED.

Statement from the Vicar and Churchwardens regarding Leave.EU’s Church Bells campaign

Leave.EU, an influential campaign group in the Brexit debate, has called for churches across the nation to ring bells on 1st February 2020 to mark the UK’s departure from the European Union.(1)

St Mary’s Church, Whitkirk is a vibrant and diverse parish. Many of our congregation are politically active, and within our parish are people who campaigned passionately both to leave the EU and to remain. In the 2016 Referendum the city of Leeds voted to Remain, but only by a very slim majority of 50.3% vs. 49.7% to Leave.(2) The UK’s exit from the EU is therefore a very divisive matter within our parish.

Our mission statement is to be a place “where all find a welcome and are nurtured in their journey with Christ”. We seek to ensure that all that we do is for the Glory of God and the benefit of all people. Whilst we are neutral on the matter of Brexit and respect the result of the Referendum, ringing our bells on 1st February would go against our universal welcome and be unnecessarily divisive.

We are also currently in the process of restoring our bells to full working order, and consequently parts of the ringing mechanism have been removed from site. As a result, the bells physically cannot currently be rung.

Therefore, the bells of St Mary’s Church, Whitkirk will remain silent on 1st February 2020.

— Matthew Peat, Vicar

— James Black, Churchwarden

— David Scholey, Churchwarden


2EU Referendum: Narrow Remain vote in Leeds’, BBC News 24 June 2016 (