COVID-19 / Coronavirus and the Church - UPDATE May 2020
Dear Parishioners and Friends,
The changes in State and Federal Government COVID-19 restrictions mean that we are able, tentatively, to re-open our church buildings for worship on Sundays.
The present Government regulations allow for worshipping congregations of a maximum of 10 attendees, plus necessary staff. On Pentecost Sunday (31st of May) we will attempt to celebrate worship services in both centres, abiding by the 10 person congregation rule.
This will mean that St Jude's Eldorado will re-open with Morning Prayer Services at 11am each Sunday.
Christ Church Beechworth will offer three options: Saturday at 5pm, Sunday at 9am and Sunday at 11am. These will be short, said Holy Communion Services.
We will also continue to provide resources to all our parish households for those who wish to, or need to, remain worshipping safely at home. If, for whatever reason, you would prefer to remain worshipping at home please let the Parish know, so that this can be included in our calculations, and so that we can best resource you to maintain your prayer life in these difficult times.
As our Bishop has affirmed in his recent correspondence with Clergy and Parish Wardens, the following mandated COVID-19 Safety precautions are to be observed:
1.5m distancing must be observed at all times, including the use of distancing markings outside doorways/entrances.
Hand Sanitiser is to be made available for the use of attendees. Clergy are to observe strict hand sanitisation protocols, including the frequent use of sanitiser.
A Register of Attendance, recording the name and contact phone number of each congregation member, is to be completed for each service. This is to ensure that, in the unlikely event that a member of the congregation should test positive for COVID-19, those who have been in recent contact with them may be advised.
The service sheets in both centres will consist of laminated sheets, which will be cleansed before and after use. Pew Bulletins / Reading Sheets will also be issued: please take the bulletins home with you after each service.
A COVID-19 Safety Warden has been appointed for each service. These will be in charge of Welcoming, maintaining the Register of Attendance for each service, and overseeing cleaning after each service.
Maintain the social distancing rule of 4sqm (1.5 m). Allocated places where people may sit will be marked. At Eldorado, the pews will have marked places. At Beechworth there will be 10 allocated chairs will be set up in the Chancel. Pews will also be marked with appropriate spacing, for use at funerals.
Holy Communion will only be in one kind (bread): the wine will be consumed by the Presider on behalf of the people. The bread will be placed into the hands, not onto the tongue.
No kneeling is to take place at the altar rail. People must line up 1.5 m apart to receive the Sacrament.
There is to be no shaking of hands, or other physical contact, at any time during the service.
There will be no passing of the Offertory plate, but it will be placed strategically for people during to place their offerings in it upon arrival or departure.
No singing will occur. Singing projects water droplets from the mouth, thus increasing potential risk.
No Morning Tea, catering, or congregating will follow any service.
Services will be kept short (longer exposure increases the risk). Arrangements will allow for 1 hour between services, to give ample time for cleaning.
Churches will only be open for timetabled services, not for private prayer.
A cleaning record will be kept, using the Diocesan Form. This will be stored in the Vestry for ease of consultation.
It is conceivable that the Government regulations will change again in the near future. This may mean that we are able to have larger congregations, or it may mean that we return to ‘lockdown.’ As such changes unfold, we will continue to communicate with you regarding the safety measures in place, to ensure that, at all times, we prioritise the wellbeing and safety of those vulnerable within our community.
The logistics involved in returning to congregational worship under the COVID-19 restrictions will be challenging, and the new measures can only be regarded as a temporary arrangement. Please bear with us as we continue to navigate these difficult times, and— most importantly, know that we understand entirely if, for your own health and safety, you decide you would prefer to remain worshipping at home until all restrictions are lifted.
Blessings and prayers for the journey ahead.
The Rev’d Canon Thomas Leslie, Parish Priest
Anglican Parochial District of Beechworth and Eldorado
Tradition, Hospitality, Openness
The Anglican Parish of Beechworth is
a friendly Anglo-Catholic Parish
in the beautiful North-East region of Victoria.
In worship, in prayer, and in our daily lives we seek to live out the message of Jesus: of a God of generous and all-encompassing Love for all people.
Whoever you are, whatever your background, experience, language, gender, sexuality, creed, or uncertainty,
you are welcome to join us,
as together we learn to be God's people.
“ This is the message we have heard and proclaim to you, that God is light; and in him there is no darkness...” [1 John 1:5]
Inspired by God’s Love, through worship, prayer, and scriptural reflection,
we seek to live out our Christ-centred values
by meeting the needs of our communities
through serving and accepting others.
Parish Mission Statement
A SAFE CHURCH
The Anglican Diocese of Wangaratta, including all ministry units within the Diocese, has a zero tolerance for abuse. We believe that all people, including children and vulnerable adults, have the right to be respected and valued and to feel emotionally, physically and spiritually safe at all times. We are committed to providing a safe, respectful, welcoming and positive environment for children and adults from all backgrounds.
If you have experienced or suspect abuse you can report it to the Director of Professional Standards on 1800 377 842 (1800 DPSVIC).
The Director of Professional Standards can also be contacted by email
or by mail at PO Box 337, Canterbury VIC 3126.