As a result of measures implemented by the Federal Government to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, all gatherings in churches across the Anglican Diocese of Adelaide have been suspended indefinitely.
This includes outdoor gatherings on church grounds.
Exceptions to this are:
- Can be conducted but limited to 5 people only – the couple, the celebrant and two witnesses. Social distancing recommendations must be complied with.
- Can be conducted but limited to 10 persons in attendance (including celebrant and funeral director staff) at an indoor funeral, and 15 people outdoors. Social distancing recommendations must be complied with.
Communion is not to be distributed under any circumstances
Furthermore, Parish Council & other committee meetings must not be face to face – Zoom and Google Hangouts are excellent online platforms by which to conduct these.
Synod Office and Diocesan Office are now closed to visitors. Synod Office has now switched to staff working from home, service will continue but please be patient and please don’t visit.
Church buildings can still be accessed for filming or live streaming of services, though this is restricted to the priest conducting the service, along with one additional person to operate the camera.
Synod Office Arrangements
Synod Office and Diocesan Office are now closed to visitors.
Synod Office has now switched to staff working from home, service will continue but please be patient and do not visit.
Please accept our apology if this results in any reduction in service or speed. We will try to keep things appearing as business as usual whilst we play our part in supporting these critical community health initiatives.
Registrar and Secretary of Synod
Latest – Last Updated 20.03 at 6:30PM
Friday 20 March – 1500
Archbishop Geoff, in consultation with the Pastoral Leadership Team, has made the decision to pause normal public worship across the Anglican Diocese of Adelaide from Monday 23 March 2020 until further notice.
Those able to pause immediately and can communicate easily with all their parishioners are encouraged to do so.
Pastoral offices such as weddings, funerals and baptisms may continue to take place so long as Federal Government social distancing measures are implemented. This includes the government’s latest instruction to allow 4 square metres of space per person.
Please note that people aged over 70 or those with underlying health conditions, including members of the clergy, should not attend gatherings under any circumstances.
Leadership team meetings, parish council meetings, small group and home group meetings in a face to face format may continue for the time being with stringent hygiene and social distancing practices, however, you may wish to hold these remotely using online meeting platforms such as Zoom – https://zoom.us/, or Google Hangouts – https://hangouts.google.com/.
For parish members who want to continue to financially support their church, information about setting up direct debit contributions can be found at https://anglicanfundssa.com.au/accounts/parish-planned-giving/ or email asking for further details to email@example.com
In a letter to clergy on Friday afternoon, Archbishop Geoff said “I want to be clear that we are not closing our churches or parishes. We are not shutting up shop and disappearing. We are going to continue to worship, to reflect on the scriptures, pray, care for each other and our wider community and look for ways to witness to the gospel, but we are going to do those things in ways that are different and without the same normal public worship opportunities. This will require some creativity and I encourage that.”
“I also think that it will be important that we try to have our church buildings open for at least some time each day so that people who may well be in need of some peace and godly space can find that.”
He concluded his letter by saying “Please know that you are in my prayers each day. It is important that we pray for and support each other in a time of change and uncertainty. Even though our Easter celebrations will be different this year the fact of the resurrection remains just that – a fact. We hold fast to the fact that even during dark and chaotic times the light and hope of the resurrection shines through.”
From Philippians 4.6-7: Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Wednesday 18 March – 1600
From Archbishop Geoff Smith
“You will be aware that overnight the federal government has directed that no gatherings greater than 100 people be held. We need to comply with that direction. Where parishes expect congregations of greater than 100 arrangements should be made for more gatherings of fewer people.
I think we should try to keep Sunday services going in some form bearing in mind the advice on hygiene, social distancing, food handling etc. There is very useful information now on the Diocesan website concerning these matters. Our community is entering a particularly difficult time and this is the time we should be open for business offering opportunity for connection, prayer, support and the gospel. Our churches need to be open and active to welcome people who might want to connect with God and community in this difficult time.
Rather than suspending Sunday services I ask that arrangements are put in place to continue in a form which takes seriously the capacity of churches to provide a safe environment and that will vary from church to church. We need to be able to provide for hand cleansing and social distancing for instance. Again, the information on the web page will help to inform this.
A lot of work is going on at the moment to try to think through the implications of all this for our life as the church. Please keep an eye on the Diocesan website for further updates.
In all we do let’s be constant in prayer and encourage the people of God to do the same.”
Wednesday 18 March – 0930
Non-essential indoor gatherings of more than 100 people have been banned by the Federal Government.
The ban does not include schools, universities, airports, public transport, medical and emergency services facilities, aged care homes, jails, courts, parliaments, supermarkets and many workplaces.
Guidance and Information (Archived)
This guidance is designed to:
- Help you to develop and enhance your local preparations and response.
- Enable you to continue to provide spiritual and pastoral care to members of your congregations and to the wider community.
- Explain how people engaged in pastoral ministry with individuals who are or may be infected can protect themselves, their families and the people they work within the course of their daily work.
- Ensure that parishes and chaplaincy teams maintain their presence as agents of spiritual and pastoral care in a way that both protects those engaged in ministry and protects those who need their support and help.
Ministry Continuity Planning
It is important that you begin thinking and planning now for what your church’s ministry might look like in the changed and changing environment of the Covid-19 virus.
Planning will need to include the following areas:
- Ministry Engagement
- Buildings and Finance
It is highly likely that for some months ahead a significant proportion of your congregation (if not all of them) will not be able to attend gathered events. It is important that you maintain a connection with them throughout this time.
Establish Clear Communication Channels
* make sure people are on the church roll and their details are up to date including phone and email.
* call everyone on your parish roll
* how they are coping physically, mentally and spiritually
* if they need support or are willing to give it
* how they might like to stay connected (email, phone, social media)
* how you will be making key announcements about church
* how they might access any resources your church will provide.
Consideration needs to be given to how you will continue to care for, nurture, disciple and teach your community if you cannot meet together. While there are many things that can be done it may be best to create a simple and achievable plan. The following actions might be considered:
Plan for what you might share with your community on a regular basis (and how)
Opportunities exist to continuing sharing sermons on a weekly basis or other shorter messages more regularly. These could be shared via video or live streaming but email could also be used. Facebook and other social media platforms can be a great way to share. Consideration should be given to church members who are not on social media.
Resource people for faithful patterns in the home
During the period in which your church cannot meet together and people might be isolated there is an opportunity to assist people in developing patterns of faithful engagement in the home. This could include curating resources for prayer, the reading of scripture, reflection and worship.
Resources for Continuing Ministry Engagement
While current advice is that gatherings smaller than one hundred can still take place the resources below are available to encourage parishes to think about how they might enable people to access Christian services and resources digitally in the event they are unable to get to church.
Read the Church of England blog which outlines how a church can inexpensively stream a sermon, service, event or thought for the day from the vicar or member of the church in situations where people are unable to attend church.
In the coming days, we will be providing links to streaming solutions for churches that are unable to produce their own.
Guidelines for Worship Gatherings/Church Events
It is possible that churches will be asked to suspend activities that involve gatherings in the coming months. As of Wednesday 18 March, the Federal Government has placed a ban on all non-essential indoor gatherings of more than 100 people – this includes churches.
Closures could also occur if the priest or members of the congregation are diagnosed with the virus. Some form of disinfection of space may be required.
If this occurs, creativity will be required to ensure we continue the spiritual and physical care of our people. Further thought and work is underway on how we will respond to this.
From 14th March 2020, until otherwise advised, the common cup is suspended and communion is to be in one kind (the bread). Communion in one kind conveys the full blessing that God bestows in the sacrament.
Celebrants, communion administrators, Liturgical Assistants, and servers must follow proper handwashing and hand sanitising techniques. This means washing hands prior to the beginning of worship and using hand sanitiser immediately before the Preparation of the Gifts (i.e. at The Peace). Hands should also be washed after the liturgy/service.
When giving communion in the hand the person administering the host should take care not to touch the recipients’ hands.
Communicants may receive communion standing to avoid touching the communion rails.
Bibles, hymn books, prayer books and pew bulletins
Churches should consider ceasing the use of shared Bibles, hymn books, prayer books and pew bulletins, where possible. If this is unavoidable, thought should be given to their distribution. Books should be sanitised with disinfectant wipes before distribution and after they are returned.
Do not pass around the collection plate. Ask parishioners to place their offering in a collection plate as they enter or leave. Those counting the collection should use gloves and wash their hands thoroughly afterward, ensuring they do not touch their face during counting. Encourage parishes to sign up to Anglican Funds SA’s Electronic Planned Giving.
The suspension of catering (tea, coffee, morning tea, etc.) where multiple people touch mugs, utensils and foodstuffs should be considered. If it is to continue, stringent hygiene practices should be carried out by those making and distributing food. Food should be served with tongs by servers using gloves. Consideration might be given to using food that is pre-packaged and can be opened by the individual.
People should be encouraged to wash their hands often.
Hand sanitisers should be made available at strategic locations, particularly at entrances of church buildings. Parishioners should be encouraged to use hand sanitiser before entering church buildings/gatherings on church property.
Ensure very regular cleaning of surfaces that are touched frequently by multiple people.
Care of those in high-risk groups
Many of our Sunday congregations have a high proportion of people aged over 70. This group of people, along with those who have weakened immune systems and long-term conditions such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease, are at a higher risk of severe impact from the Covid-19 virus (including death). For their safety, such people should be encouraged to consider not attending church for the foreseeable future. If they do decide to attend worship gatherings or church events, every precaution recommended below should be taken to protect them.
Stay away if feeling unwell
Please encourage and remind your parishioners that, if they are feeling ill, even mildly so, then they should not attend worship or church events. It is important to remind your community that the elderly and those with compromised immune systems will be at high risk, including death. Whatever communications systems you have available (email, Facebook, etc) should be used to communicate this message.
Physical contact with people should be avoided. As previously advised, handshaking should be avoided, and the greeting of peace should not involve physical contact.
Availability of supplies
A parish’s ability to comply with these recommendations may be impacted by the availability of supplies (such as hand sanitiser). We ask that parishes seek to minimise the risk of spreading the virus to the best of their ability.
If water for hand washing or hand sanitiser is not available, use thermos flasks, individual bowls and paper towels, which should be thrown away immediately after use.
Pastoral visiting of the sick and elderly
Hospital and other forms of home visitation to the sick and elderly by volunteers should be suspended at this time.
When visiting people at home, clergy (and other pastoral care workers) should wash and/or sanitise their hands before giving the sacrament. There should be no pastoral visits to people who are self-isolating until their isolation period has ended. Phone support should be offered in these instances. It is strongly recommended that clergy (and other pastoral care workers) use appropriate personal protection for all visiting.
When visiting people in care homes or hospitals, clergy (and other pastoral care workers) should follow advice from the hospital staff on infection control. It is strongly recommended that clergy (and other pastoral care workers) use appropriate personal protection.
Clergy (and other pastoral care workers) who are in high-risk categories (such as the elderly, people with weakened immune systems and long-term conditions such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease) should evaluate whether it is wise to visit those who are sick.
Please think about how to care for and support those in your community who are ill or self-isolating, for example, by picking up/delivering essential supplies and medication to them. Current advice for those who are self-isolating is to try to avoid having visitors to your home (it is okay for friends, family or delivery drivers to drop off food or supplies). Also consider other methods of communicating with those who are ill or self-isolating, such as phone or email.
Clergy may be called upon to offer anointing in the coming months. This should only be done if appropriate personal protection is in place. Clergy should be doing all they can to reduce their risk while fulfilling their vocation. For some clergy, this could potentially mean not exposing themselves to those with the virus. This is particularly relevant to those clergy who are in a high-risk category (e.g. elderly, people with weakened immune systems and long-term conditions such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease).
Isolated clergy with the virus
If a member of the clergy is unwell and can’t make other arrangements, they should contact the Bishop’s Office or the local Archdeacon. It is also possible that in the coming weeks parish clergy may be required to be isolated and alternate arrangements will need to be made to cover their ministry. This will need to be dealt with on a case by case basis. It is possible that eucharistic worship and other forms of ministry may need to be suspended in some places. More thought and work is being done on how we will respond to this.
The priest must wash their hands before and after making the sign of the cross on the candidate’s forehead. Where possible, if the candidate is a baby or small child, they should be held by the parents/godparents rather than the priest taking them in their own arms. It is preferable for water to be poured on the candidate’s head using a baptismal shell. If chrism/oil is to be used, the priest should use a spoon or similar implement. In any event, the priest should wash their hands before and after the baptism. Baptism by immersion should not take place as this represents a transmission risk.
Youth and children’s ministry
The risk of spreading the virus through youth and children’s events should be evaluated and minimised. Volunteers who are in high-risk categories (e.g. the elderly, people with weakened immune systems and long-term conditions such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease) should be advised not to attend. This may mean that some events cannot go ahead, for example, if an event is largely dependent on elderly volunteers.
Children or youth who are unwell should not attend children’s or youth events. Parents should be informed of this requirement. Stringent handwashing and hand sanitisation practices should occur. All surfaces, toys and equipment should be cleaned with disinfectant wipes before and after each session. Hand sanitiser should be used by each person upon entrance and exit.
If you are unable to fulfil any of the above requirements, it is recommended that you suspend this ministry.
Bible study and small group gatherings
The risk of spreading the virus through Bible study and small group gatherings should be evaluated and minimised. At this stage, there is no need to suspend Bible study and small group gatherings. Members who are feeling ill, even mildly so, should not attend Bible study and small group gatherings. The suspension of catering (tea, coffee, food) where multiple people touch mugs, utensils and foodstuffs should be considered. If it is to continue, stringent hygiene practises should be carried out by those making and distributing food. Food should be served with tongs by servers using gloves. Consideration might be given to using food that is pre-packaged and can be opened by the individual.
If you are unable to fulfil any of the above requirements, it is recommended that you suspend this ministry.
Hall hire agreements
The hiring of hall’s and other parish spaces should be evaluated and if possible minimised. Consultation with hirers is required to occur to ensure that hirers are communicating safety measures to all participants including:
- not attending if they are feeling ill, even mildly so;
- stringent handwashing and hand sanitisation practices, hand sanitiser to be used by each person upon entrance and exit; and
- all surfaces, and equipment cleaned before and after each activity/event.
Providers of hall hire may wish to think about ensuring they can guarantee separation of the user’s people from their own and if they can contractually recover the cost of professional high-level cleaning required if someone with a confirmed COVID-19 infection is identified as having had contact with the space. Additionally, providers may wish to add a requirement for a thorough clean at the end of each and every hire by the hirer or build the cost of additional cleaning into their hire agreements.
It is possible that, in the next six months or more, the virus will have a significant effect on parish attendance and finance. Further thought and work is underway on how we will respond to this. Parishioners might be encouraged now to switch to electronic forms of giving in order to support the church in the months ahead. Anglican Funds SA Planned Giving is one way to do this.
Protecting yourself and others from the COVID-19
COVID-19 is transmitted from person to person, usually when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Transmission may occur from contaminated surfaces, so it is important to frequently wash your hands.
Covid-19 can cause symptoms similar to the flu, including fever, cough, sore throat, tiredness or shortness of breath.
Most people who are infected experience mild to moderate symptoms from which they fully recover. However, some people develop more serious illness with pneumonia and other complications. People at increased risk of serious illness include the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions (e.g. diabetes, heart and lung disease) or a weakened immune system.
To protect yourself and others from infection practice good hand and respiratory hygiene including:
- cleaning hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rubs
- covering your nose and mouth with a tissue or flexed elbow when coughing or sneezing
- avoiding contact with anyone who has symptoms such as fever, a cough, sore throat, fatigue, and shortness of breath.
- staying home if you are unwell.
If you have arrived from overseas from 12 am on 16 March you need to self-quarantine for 14 days. If you have been in close contact with someone who already has COVID-19, you will need to self-quarantine.
Here are two posters, one in relation to the symptoms of coronavirus and one in relation to handwashing. Please display these posters in prominent locations throughout your parish.
Developed with the help of the Diocese of Southern Queensland and the Church of England
Archived – Saturday 14 March
Archbishop Geoff Smith provided the following advice to churches on Saturday 14 March 2020.
“In the light of the progress of the coronavirus spread, new advice was received overnight from Dr Louise Flood regarding our church practices.
The new advice is:
– Avoid hugging, kissing and handshaking (including passing the peace)
– Avoid shared eating and drinking utensils including the common cup
– Provide alcohol-based sanitisers for use
– People who are unwell with a fever or acute respiratory infection (such as cough or sore throat) should be discouraged from attending face to face gatherings.
– Persons who have recently returned from overseas (in the past 14 days) should be discouraged from attending large face to face gatherings.
With immediate effect, passing the peace by handshaking, hugging or kissing should cease; and the common cup should not be used. The best way forward is to provide communion in one kind only (the bread) with no opportunity for intinction. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer should be available for communicants to use prior to their receiving communion and of course, anyone involved in the preparation or distribution of communion should cleanse their hands with alcohol-based hand sanitizer prior to touching the bread or communion vessels.
The advice regarding people who are unwell must also apply to clergy so if you are unwell do not ‘battle on’. If parish clergy need assistance to find replacements please contact your archdeacon or my office.
Please be assured of my prayers as we navigate this extraordinary situation.