COVID-19 Additional and revised requirements – Every parish must register as a COVIDSafe Business
- Every parish must register as a COVIDSafe Business
- Rules for singing and administering communion remain unchanged
Dear sisters and brothers,
Registering as a COVIDSafe Business
In line with the new direction from today the NSW Government has announced that all places of worship must register their COVID-19 Safety plan. This process will need to be completed for each site and must be done by the person that is responsible for the COVIDSafe plan. In most cases this will be the Incumbent. However, if your Parish is without an Incumbent then the person completing the registration should either be the Locum (if in a long term appointment) or one of the Churchwardens must be nominated.
For clarification where your Parish has also taken steps to reopen multiple sites such as an Opportunity or other Retail space then your COVID-19 Safety plan will need to be registered separately.
The Anglican Diocese of Newcastle utilises the Safe Return to Church Framework and application process as it’s COVID-19 Safety plan. Only each site that has completed the application and received approval from the Bishop to reopen should complete this process.
The plan is to be registered through the following link and will require you to input the information that is relevant to your Parish https://www.nsw.gov.au/register-your-business-as-covid-safe.
Registration does not involve uploading your plan. You should know how you access the Diocesan Website if asked for the full plan details. You should also have on site a printed copy of the material you have submitted together with a copy of the most current fact sheets.
Registration does require the identification of the ‘business’ (including ABN), location and the person responsible and to check three boxes.
To ensure compliance with the latest direction this action should be taken as a matter of urgency. Please contact Heidi Randle with any questions regarding this process.
Please let Heidi Randle (firstname.lastname@example.org) know once you have registered each of your sites as a COVIDSafe business.
Group Singing or Chanting
I am aware that advice has been circulated in another Diocese which permits choirs and singing groups to exercise their ministry. I have raised a question with their Bishop about the advice and sought clarification from the Department.
The advice I received yesterday and is reflected in the guidelines for religious groups today is that NSW Health continues to advise that group singing or chanting is considered high risk for the transmission of COVID-19 and should be avoided. The position in this Diocese remains unchanged. I will continue to seek advice and guidance for this important area of our worship life.
In keeping with advisory, it is possible for a single singer or single woodwind player to be involved but the space between them and other people must be at least 3 metres at all times.
Distribution of Holy Communion
The only authorised means of distributing the Holy Communion is in one kind, that is the bread alone.
Neither the chalice or individual cups are permitted for the distribution of the wine (either alcoholic or non-alcoholic).
This requirement is based on the health risks associated with the preparation of cups, the sharing of the chalice, and the orderly consumption of remaining wine as prescribed by the Book of Common Prayer.
The priest alone should prepare and drink from the chalice in a way that can be seen by the congregation.
Concern for persons falling within a vulnerable category
There remains concern for the participation in public worship and related activities of people in higher risk categories, such as people aged over 70.
Older persons who have clearance from their General Practitioner to volunteer should keep in contact with them to see if their advice changes.
Some older people have been surprised when their doctor has not provided them with a medical clearance for volunteering because of the risks to their health.
Remember to pray
It is an important part of our Anglican way that we pray for people in Parliament. Please pray for the Prime Minister and Premier together with the Leaders of the Oppositions as provide leadership and accountability as we respond to COVID-19.
Grace and peace