Pastoral letter – COVID-19 pandemic contingencies for our
Dear Tuggeranong Uniting members
I write in regard to COVID-19 (corona virus) pandemic. In a bid to be proactive in trying to prevent infection, tomorrow’s Presbytery meeting has been cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, as interviews with leading Australian infection experts suggest that measures such as this will help contain the spread of the virus.
Several communications from Presbytery and Synod – as well as multiple conversations – have addressed the issue of how congregations continue to offer ministry in the face of the current pandemic. While it is best not to be alarmist, it is also good not to be in denial about the reality of our current health crisis. The Church Council Executive have discussed this issue, and we have considered precautionary measures beyond what we have already done are now necessary, such as suspending the distribution of communion and changing the greeting of the peace.
With major events being cancelled on the advice of health experts, it may simply be a matter of time before the closure of church services is considered, recommended or even required. The Associate General Secretary, Bronwyn Murphy, has advised that the Synod will make a decision of the closure of services should that be deemed necessary. In meantime, we can:
- Continue to provide hand sanitiser at the door and encourage people to thoroughly wash their hands with soap.
- Institute a non-contact greeting of the peace.
- Suspend Holy Communion until health authorities suggest it is safe to reinstate it.
- If you or one of your children has a fever, a cough, or any other flu-like symptoms we ask you to please stay home from all church activities.
- If you or one of your children have been exposed to someone with the coronavirus, we ask you to please stay home from all church activities.
While it is disappointing to have to adopt such measures, the priority is to try and keep everyone safe and well. Thank you for your understanding.
Rev. Elizabeth Raine
Written by Rev Elizabeth Raine
Elizabeth is minister at Tuggeranong Uniting, beginning her ministry here in December 2018.
Over the years, she has had a number of diverse and interesting placements, such as a school chaplaincy, a tenancy worker with UnitingCare, a congregational minister, a lecturer at UTC, a Presbytery minister, and as an Intentional Interim minister.More from Rev Elizabeth Raine