Today a Special e-Life was sent out to our database. If you don’t get the electronic newsletter, please read below the new COVID-19 Worship and church activity instructions below.
Greetings in the Lord
NEW ADVISORY RE SERVICES OF PUBLIC WORSHIP AND OTHER CHURCH ACTIVITIES 20 Mar 2020
Following the announcement by the government of restrictions in size of gatherings, the bishops of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia have agreed to issue the same instruction to all clergy and parishes: until further notice, all services of public worship in our churches are suspended from Monday 23 March 2020.
(Some parishes here and in other dioceses, and at least one whole diocese are suspending services one Sunday earlier.But all episcopal units of ACANZP, including the Diocese of Christchurch, will be suspending services from this Monday.Please see a Press Release at the bottom of this e-Life message for the full statement released at midday today by our archbishops and bishops.Note that all government requirements and recent instructions from me to clergy concerning communion etc. must be met by any parishes holding services in the Diocese of Christchurch this Sunday 22 March.)
- All AGMs not yet held in parishes, from Monday 23 March (or, depending on local decision, including Sunday 22 March) are to be postponed until it is permissible to meet again.
- Mid week outreach activities are not subject to the suspension notice above i.e. can go ahead, providing all government requirements for gatherings are met, and local decision makers are confident they can conduct the outreach ministries safely. (This advice is subject to change at short notice by either the government or further determination by church leadership).
- Funerals and weddings are in the nature of public services and are subject to the suspension of all services of public worship (unless otherwise advised – we understand the government may yet issue further regulation specific to weddings and funerals.)
- All Easter services are included in the suspension of services of public worship.
- All parish churches should be kept open in the usual ways that already happen in local contexts for individuals to be able to enter in order to pray.
- Livestreaming of services in the Transitional Cathedral this Sunday 22 March is available to all parishioners unable to access a local livestreaming of worship and devotional material led by vicars (go to the Transitional Cathedral Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ChristChrchCathedralNewZealand/ )
- Dean Lawrence from Sunday 29 March onwards will be leading a livestreamed service of worship available to all from the Cathedral Facebook page,
- Local initiatives from your vicars and priests in charge re regular worship via the internet, Bible study materials, pastoral care etc. are being worked on and local communications will take place within parishes.
- At liturgy.co.nz Bosco Peters will be providing essential guidance to using A New Zealand Prayer Book (print or online) for praying the daily office, morning, and evening prayer in your own homes.
Additionally from me at this time:
- The above is a diocesan, global view of matters. There will be many questions about what to do and what not to do about matters not covered above. Please answer those local questions locally as far as possible. Archdeacons are available to assist with further guidance.
- Please be assured that national and diocesan work on the many consequences of suspending services, and of the recessionary time we live in are being worked on. In due course, when we have further announcements to make, they will be clearly communicated via e-Life.
- Pray. Read Scripture (especially the Psalms). Look out for one another. Stay safe. May God’s peace which passes all understanding guard and sustain your hearts and minds.
Finally, my friends, this is one of the most difficult e-Lifes I have ever sent and I hope it is the worst during my remaining time as bishop.
We believe in a God of hope and God never changes.
May God be discovered in new ways as we respond to this global crisis.