Frequently asked questions

On this page we provided responses to questions being asked frequently in the Diocese.

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  • Where can I get support?

    If you are experiencing an immediate crisis, Lifeline offers 7 days per week 24 hour per day counselling support. Their contact details are here.

    You can find details of your local parish here.

    Clergy have access to their bishops and archdeacons. A Clergy Assistance Program is provided Auspsych.

    Last Updated: 19 April 2020

  • We're really worried about the parish finances - what's happening about money?

    The Diocese has obtained agreement with the Anglican Savings and Development Fund for a loan to meet operating expenses during COVID-19. This loan will be paid by withdrawing diocesan and parish trust funds when the COVID-19 emergency is over.

    It is important that the diocese and the parishes are prudent and limit expenses as much as possible. This will limit the amount of the loan.

    Parishes have been asked to pay as much as they can each month to the Diocese towards the costs they Diocese carries on behalf of the parish (such as stipends, superannuation and insurance). Parishes have been asked to encourage parishioners to move to direct deposit giving, and many are doing this. They have also been asked to limit expenditure. Approval is required for payments over $2500 from the Diocesan Chief Executive.

    Parish Council Treasurers have been helping greatly by providing accurate information promptly.

    The Diocesan Office is not filling vacant staff roles and is looking to minimise costs wherever possible.

    A process has begun as a collaboration between the diocese and parishes to see whether it is appropriate for staff to move to reduced hours, take leave or be stood down. There is much care and prayer being exercised in that work.

    Last Updated: 19 April 2020

  • Are we accessing government subsidies?

    The Diocesan Office staff have been in regular contact with the General Synod Office, other dioceses, and the relevant government departments. Each day the government is able to clarify the way different subsidy schemes will work and address unintended consequences of particular rules. At this time, the clergy and all people employed in parishes have been asked to send through a nomination form for Jobkeeper so that the Diocese and parishes are able to access available subsidies if we are eligible. There are tight turn around times so the Diocesan Office staff are appreciating the prompt attention.

    Last Updated: 19 April 2020

  • Is the ASDF going okay?

    The simple answer is yes! Each week the Bishop, the Diocesan Chief Executive, the Diocesan Chief Financial Officer, the Chair of the Newcastle Anglican Church Corporation NACC) and the Chair of the NACC Finance and Investment Committee are meeting with the CEOs and CFOs of the major dicoesan agencies. There is regular contact with our investment advisors. We are confident in the current arrangements. Again, the answer is yes! It’s going well.

    Last Updated: 19 April 2020

  • What will happen when church buildings open for public worship?

    Experience overseas demonstrated that gatherings by faith groups for worship posed significant risk of transmission of COVID-19. That learning has been incorporated into the public health restrictions in place at present.

    A draft framework for reopening can be found here

    Last Updated: 9 May 2020

  • How do we receive Communion during this COVID-19 emergency?

    Whenever a bishop or priest is celebrating the Holy Communion in their homes they do so as an expression of the shared life of the Body of Christ. It is not the offering of an individual.

    Many clergy are choosing to abstain from celebration of the sacrament of Holy Communion for such time as this is not physically accessible to lay people.

    When we follow a streamed service of the Holy Communion we are joining in an act of Spiritual Communion. The Book of Common Prayer instructs us that if we offer ourselves in penitence and faith, giving thanks for the redemption won by Christ crucified, we may truly ‘eat and drink the Body and Blood of our Saviour Christ’, although we cannot receive the sacrament physically in ourselves.

    Clergy leading streamed services of Holy Communion should remind people of this teaching in each streamed service.

    In keeping with the Church of England, our Bishop affirms that “participants in a streamed service of Holy Communion should not be encouraged to place bread and wine before their screens. Joining together to share in the one bread and the one cup as those physically present to one another is integral to the service of Holy Communion; this is not possible under the current restrictions, and it is not helpful to suggest otherwise. Any idea of the ‘remote consecration’ of the bread and wine should be avoided.”

    Last Updated: 19 April 2020

  • When can the opportunity shops open again?

    Our op-shops are an important ministry to our communities and to our parishes. We are conscious that many among our volunteers are identified as being vulnerable to COVID-19 as are many of the people who come to the shops. We are also conscious that COVID-19 remains on surfaces for a period after they are touched.

    A draft framework for re-opening can be found here

    Last Updated: 9 May 2020

  • Can we do letter box drops or drop material around to parishioners?

    Yes. Social distancing is required when people visit one another

    Last Updated: 9 May 2020

  • What will happen with Synod?

    When we are able to hold parish annual meetings again under public health restrictions, the Bishop will issue a new mandate for the election of Synod representatives. A session of the new Synod will be held around 2 months after that for at least key business, the reception of 2019 reports and elections. At this stage there is nothing in the Australian Government COVIDSAFE framework which will enable a group the size of Synod meeting.

    Last Updated: 9 May 2020

  • How is the Diocesan Council making decisions?

    The Diocesan Council meets on a regular basis, usually monthly. The Bishop can convene a meeting of the Diocesan Council at short notice. The Diocesan Council is meeting via Zoom.

    Financial oversight and planning is undertaking by the Board of the Newcastle Anglican Church Corporation. It normally meets monthly but has met more frequently during the COVID-19 emergency. It is also meeting via Zoom.

    The Diocesan Council has passed a range of interim emergency measures during the COVID-19 emergency to enable the good governance of the Diocese. A copy of that ordinance can be found here.

    Last Updated: 19 April 2020

  • When will the Diocesan Office move from being a virtual office and physically reopen

    The vast majority of Diocesan Office staff are able to undertake their work from home. Therefore, in accordance with NSW Public Health Orders the staff do not need to travel to the office for work. It is likely that the Diocesan Office will reopen when we move as a community to step 3 if the Australian Government COVIDSAFE FRAMEWORK You can contact the Diocesan Office on work days (02) 4926 3733

    Last Updated: 9 May 2020

  • Are our agencies going okay?

    It has been an extraordinary time for Anglican Care, Samaritans and our Schools. Each has faced significant challenges but the commitment and resilience of executive and staff have ensured that innovative and timely solutions have been found. So much has changed so quickly to ensure the wellbeing of the people who privilege us by inviting us into their lives as residents, students, clients, people we support, volunteers and staff.

    Last Updated: 19 April 2020