- We acknowledge and will act consistently with the changes to Covid policy settings announced by the NZ Government on Monday 13 September 2022, which are summarised in this way:
“Most COVID-19 rules have ended in New Zealand
You must still isolate for 7 days if you have COVID-19. You must wear a face mask in healthcare facilities, such as hospitals. International travellers will not need proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
- Nevertheless, Covid is present in our communities, and degrees of comfort or anxiety about Covid vary from one individual to another.
- Accordingly, each ministry unit should offer guidelines re masking, serving food and drink, expectations about vaccinations in church services and other gatherings which reflect the discernment of local context by its leadership.
- It is appropriate, for instance, for a determination to be made that wearing masks is still recommended in the Parish of X and/or that the president at the eucharist and distributors of bread and wine will be masked.
- Ditto re other matters which are responsive to the presence of Covid in our communities – local decision-making prevails.
- For clarity: there are no longer Diocesan expectations re masking in church services and other gatherings, and there is no requirement for presidents at the eucharist or distributors of bread and wine to be masked.
- It is also permissible, if this has not already occurred, for food and drink to be available as refreshments following services and other gatherings.
- Further, there are no longer Diocesan expectations about people in certain roles being vaccinated (unless a local decision is made otherwise).
- Communion: Communion may be offered in two kinds but the degree of concern which remains about sharing the common cup means that the direction to offer the wine in such a manner that no one need refuse the cup remains in place until further notice.
- That is, where the distributor of wine stands must continue to be carefully thought through so that where they stand means a communicant wishing to receive the wine “opts in” to do so rather than “opts out” or has to indicate refusal of the cup.
- The Peace:
- greeting one another at The Peace in our liturgies should be conducted in a manner that comforts people that they do not have to touch other people (even with a handshake) if they do not want to.
- Best guidance is to continue your practice through the Covid season to date – Covid has not yet finished with our communities.
- “Share the Peace with one another in a manner appropriate to this Covid season.”
- As always, chaplaincies should work within whatever guidelines have been adopted by their employing body.
Generally, the fact that the NZ Government has changed the rules around Covid is now a reason to be freer than we have been but the fact that Covid is still in our community (to say nothing of other viruses) remains a reason to act in ways which work to safeguard health and to respect the choices of people (e.g. to continue masking).