Archbishop welcomes easing on restrictions for churches
Archbishop Glenn Davies welcomes the announcement from the Premier and the Minister for Health regarding the proposed changes for worship, weddings and funerals, effective 1 June 2020.
I recognise the challenges that the Government faces in loosening restrictions while maintaining a COVIDsafe environment. This has been a delicate balancing act and I appreciate the level of consultation and the careful yet flexible approach of Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Health Minister Brad Hazzard and health officials.
Our first concern is public safety and where risk cannot be minimised, then some churches will not be able to re-open their buildings.
But I was able to assure the Premier that Anglican churches are well prepared to return to normal services, within the limits of the 50 person maximum, appropriately distanced. Hand sanitisers will be available at each entrance, along with signage indicating that anyone with symptoms such as fever or cough, should not attend. Church premises will be thoroughly cleaned between services and designated ushers will record the contact details of each person who attends.
We realise that this is not the normality we enjoyed in 2019, as congregational singing will not be possible, the greeting of peace and the distribution of Bibles, hymn books and paper service sheets will not resume. However, we are grateful for the relief, joy and comfort that many parishioners will feel in meeting again in public Christian worship. Some congregations, of course, will be too large to return to public worship but will continue to provide church online until it is safe for the whole congregation to gather as one.
We continue to pray for our Federal and State Governments as they navigate the terrain of a coronavirus world and provide us with wise advice and prudent measures to protect the safety of all.
Archbishop Glenn Davies
29 May 2020