COVID-19 Update – Hall hire can recommence subject to new COVID19 guidelines

20 June – Number 1

  • Hall hire can recommence subject to new COVID19 guidelines
  • Church buildings previously used for public worship on a weekly basis to be open from July at least for weekday services
  • Amendment to service times/days within guidelines for parishes with approval to be open can be made locally
  • Guidance on funeral ministry
  • Work still underway on resumption of ministry with youth and children
  • Catering not permitted

Dear colleagues,

The commitment by parishes, schools and agencies within the Diocese to ensure that people are kept safe from COVID19 is noted by many and often commented upon favourably.

The health and safety of all people attending our sites remains our paramount concern.

Incumbents, Church wardens and Parish Council have a formal responsibility to ensure that the measures communicated in the COVID19 updates  are adhered to strictly. They form part of the Safety Policies of the Diocese.

Third Party Hall Hire

Parishes can now begin the process of recommencing Hall Hire arrangements with Third Parties.

Each Third Party will be required to complete the Hall Hire COVID -19 Annexure in addition to the standard hall hire agreement (if this has not been completed by the Third Party previously). The Parish must confirm that the Third Party is able to comply with all requirements. A copy of the completed Annexure is to be sent to the Diocesan Office prior to commencement of the arrangement.

Resources including a Fact Sheet, Hire – Casual Agreement COVID19 Annexure and Cleaning Record Sheet can be found in the COVID-19 section of the Diocesan website.

The Parish must have a process in place to carry out regular checks of the Cleaning Record and also the cleaning that is undertaken by the third party.

Public health orders advise that excluding worship activities, any class, gathering or organised event held in any church building can have 20 or less participants.

Church buildings previously used for public worship on a weekly basis to be open from July at least for weekday services

Given the overarching purpose for church buildings, and the change in the broader community, it is important that church buildings which were used for regular public worship on a weekly basis pre-covid should be undertaking this ministry from the beginning of July, at least for some weekday services.

The parishes must still make an application to re-open using the process outlined on the Diocesan website.

Where there are no volunteers for cleaning, the parish will need to look to contract a suitable person to undertake the cleaning.

Where safe re-opening is not possible, the Incumbent and Churchwardens should arrange a meeting with the Bishop and Regional Bishop or Archdeacon by contacting the Alison Dalmazzone, the Bishops’ EA.

Making Changes to approved arrangements where the church building has been approved for re-opening

Where a parish has been given permission to re-open its church buildings for ministry, the Incumbent and the Churchwardens have the full responsibility to make amendments to the service arrangements for church buildings in their parish. This must be a shared and formal decision between them and must be in accordance with the COVID19 requirements established by the Diocese.

Parishes are asked to update the Diocesan Office by email each time their arrangements change.

Funeral Ministry

Funerals and memorial services are permitted to be above 50 people where the capacity of the church building enables this while still applying the rule of one person per 4 square metres.

People attending the service will still be required to supply their name and contact details so that they can be used for contact tracing.

Work still underway on resumption of ministry with youth and children

The Diocesan Office staff continue to work through the safe re-opening and operation plans for Sunday Schools and other Youth and Children’s activities. One of the critical areas of focus is ensuring the safety of adults delivering this ministry or present with their child. Further advice for the safe re-opening of these activities will be given at a later date and in accordance with Government guidelines.

Church hospitality, cafes and other food-related events not permitted at this stage

The Diocesan Office staff continue to work through this area of ministry as well. There are complex issues associated with food preparation, food handling, and food service as well as cleaning/disinfecting the venue and the equipment used. Further advice will be given at a later date and in accordance with Government guidelines.

+Peter