Return to Gatherings

St Michael’s Pathway to Re-opening | Term 4 2021

 “Warm and welcoming, safe and sensible”

The ministry staff, in liaison with our Wardens, have decided to re-open St Michael’s Cathedral for church services in the week beginning 25th October. By then NSW will be well over the milestone of 80% rate of full vaccination for 16+.

The Government is permitting us to re-open our Cathedral to all comers. This enables us to reflect the welcome Jesus offers in his gospel. We are grateful for this, since Galatians 3:28 reminds us:

“you are all one in Christ Jesus”

But we intend to re-open in a way that is “warm and welcoming, safe and sensible”. This means taking into account the different health needs and context of each congregation.

This will include designated spaces for the ‘vaxed and vulnerable’, the 4m2/person capacity rule, masks to be worn indoors (except for under 12s), and no congregational singing for now.

Where a segment of our membership is particularly vulnerable, for example, due to age, we will limit who many attend.

But every member and guest who comes to St Michael’s will have some good opportunities to attend church here for ministry of word, prayer and fellowship, whether vaccinated or not. To the specifics…

Sunday Services

Our Sunday services will recommence on 31st October. 
For the first two Sundays back, at least, all children will need to sit with their parents or carers. We will review this requirement after November 7th, once we have farewelled Sandy.
Please note the special arrangements applying to your congregation of choice. Then note the extra instructions that apply to every congregation.

8am Congregation

The 8:00am congregation will be open only to the fully vaccinated because of the high proportion of over 70s in attendance.

A gloved welcomer can distribute our Prayer Books. We will serve the Lord’s Supper via individual “all-in-one” communion packs.

The rear section of the cathedral will be reserved for the fully vaccinated who also identify as “vulnerable regarding health”.

Mid-Morning Congregation

The 9:45am Congregation will open to all comers

The fully vaccinated will be free to sit in the Cathedral (along with their children under 12, and those medically exempt from vaccination).

The hall (incl. bathrooms), with its live AV feed and extra room, will welcome all-comers, including children, whether vaccinated or not.

The office foyer (incl. bathrooms) is for fully vaccinated only.

The rear section of the cathedral will be reserved for the fully vaccinated who also identify as “vulnerable regarding health”.

We will continue to Livestream this service each week. 

Easy English Congregation

The 11:30am Easy English Congregation will open to all comers

The rear section of the cathedral will be reserved for the fully vaccinated who also identify as “vulnerable regarding health”.

Others, whether vaccinated or not, may sit elsewhere in the Cathedral, or in the office foyer, if they wish, with infants and toddlers.

 

5pm Congregation

The 5:00pm Congregation will open to all comers

The fully vaccinated will be free to sit in the Cathedral (along with their children under 12, and those medically exempt from vaccination).

The hall (incl. bathrooms), with its live AV feed and extra room, will welcome all-comers, including children, whether vaccinated or not.

The office foyer (incl. bathrooms) is for fully vaccinated only.

The rear section of the cathedral will be reserved for the fully vaccinated who also identify as “vulnerable regarding health”.

Night Church

The 7:00pm Congregation will open to all comers

The fully vaccinated will be free to sit in the Cathedral (along with their children under 12, and those medically exempt from vaccination).

The hall (incl. bathrooms), with its live AV feed and extra room, will welcome all-comers, including children, whether vaccinated or not.

The office foyer (incl. bathrooms) is for fully vaccinated only.

The rear section of the cathedral will be reserved for the fully vaccinated who also identify as “vulnerable regarding health”.

Church Services – Additional Matters

It is a matter of care for others to respect these risk management requirements. Please avoid the temptation to treat the restrictions and mitigation steps lightly.

Car-parking

  • The car park will be open from both entrances, although spaces are limited, so please leave them for the elderly, parents with prams, and people with disabilities.
  • There will be a pedestrian-only zone between the Cathedral steps and the steps down to the hall double doors. There is no parking or driving through this pedestrian zone.

COVID Welcoming and Ushering

  • Please follow the directions of our COVID Marshalls and Welcomers.
  • Enter the Cathedral via the rear door on the south (mall) side.
  • Or enter the Hall via the double doors.
  • Check-in via the Services NSW QR Code app.
  • If entering a “vaccinated only” service or zone, prepare to display your vaccination certificate. (Otherwise attend the in hall, or at another service.)
  • If you do not have a smartphone, you can bring a printed copy of your vaccination certificate. See the welcomer at a clearly marked table to log your attendance. If you require assistance printing your certificate please contact the office (4228 9132) ASAP.
  • Expect to be asked: “Are you well today?”. If you have any symptoms, please stay home. 
  • Masks are to be worn by those aged 12 and up – over nose and mouth – at all times, except while performing a speaking role, or if eating and drinking, or unless you can display a medical exemption.
  • Find your seating, following the direction of our welcomers, and remain in your place throughout the service. Please do not stop and chat in the aisles or move about.
  • If you or your child urgently needs to leave the cathedral, (e.g. for the toilet), please feel free to leave by the closest convenient exit.

Music and Singing

  • There is to be no congregational singing indoors.
  • We will have several song leaders, along with additional musicians, in a “musicians-only” zone, with > 3m between them and all other congregation members.
  • Church leaders may organise singing outdoors with appropriate physical distancing, and with attention to copyright reporting obligations and weather conditions.

Post-meeting Hospitality 

  • All socialising should occur outside of the cathedral, hall and office foyer.
  • Therefore attendees will be encouraged to exit the buildings promptly after the service. We cannot ‘police’ separate vaccination-only zones outdoors and encourage all attenders to maintain physical distancing.
  • No refreshments will be served for now. But BYO water and snacks is encouraged.

Ventilation and Cleaning

  • All windows and doors will be open unless impeding the functioning of a service or safety.
  • Fans can be used, but will be aimed towards the ceiling and not at people’s faces.
  • Attenders are encouraged to consider bringing a jacket (in case it’s colder than expected), and a bottle of water (in case it’s hot).
  • Only frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned after every service, particularly stands and lecterns, AV & music equipment, and door handles.
  • The remainder of the premises should be cleaned at least weekly.

Worker and Volunteer Vaccination Requirements

  • Staff wishing to serve in the office or onsite will be fully vaccinated, unless they have a medical exemption.
  • Volunteers serving in “fully-vaxed only” services or spaces need to be fully vaccinated, unless they have a medical exemption. This includes service leaders, Bible readers, prayers, musicians, AV techs, ushers, in the cathedral when designated as such a space.
  • Volunteers working with under 18s should be fully vaccinated, unless they have a medical exemption, or have discussed and resolved the matter satisfactorily with a senior pastoral staff member.
  • No one should identify another person’s vaccination status to another without permission, unless that other person has a legitimate reason to know (which would generally relate to their supervisory role).
  • If a person does not wish to be vaccinated, then we will explore whether they can do their ministry in another space and manner that is safe and secure for all involved.

Mid-Week Ministries

Growth Groups

  • Up to 20 fully vaccinated visitors, counting those 12 and over, are permitted inside a home; masks appear not mandated. (Homes are not counted as “places of worship”.)
  • If considering this for church growth groups, then leaders and hosts must first weigh the difficulties of checking vaccination status and record-keeping; must assess ventilation needs and whether masking is still wise, e.g., if the setting is confined.
  • Many groups should consider continuing to provide Zoom or hybrid options.
  • If your group wishes to apply to meet onsite at St Michael’s, the leader must complete COVID-Safety Plan in advance, via this link.

Youth Groups

  • Both vaccinated and unvaccinated young people will be allowed to attend youth group activities.
  • Senior Youth will recommence on 28 October.
  • Junior Youth will recommence on 29 October.
  • Children and youth as well as leaders are required to wear face masks while indoors, unless the person holds a medical exemption, or in the case of children under 12, a parent or carer has discussed the matter with a Senior Leader of their group.
  • As a means of protection of young people (some of whom are currently ineligible for vaccination) it is strongly recommended that all leaders be fully vaccinated (an exemption may be granted only after a satisfactory discussion with a senior member of pastoral staff).
  • The same capacity limits, restrictions on singing indoors, check-in record-keeping, good ventilation and physical distancing, etc. are required, as per COVID Safety Plan.
  • Regarding Youth Camp scheduled for 19-21 November, I am advised by Andy that Youthworks is able to host our camp, with both vaccinated and unvaccinated youth in attendance. In addition, a camp COVID Safety Plan specific to the conference centre will be developed.

Other ministries onsite

  • Weddings and funerals are subject to different PHO and Safety plan rules. Please inquire with our Acting Administrator, Morwenna Baird.
  • Other activities on-site during the week occur in “places of worship” and so the PHO generally applies to them in a way similar to our church services.
  • Different requirements would apply for different activities with their different needs and context, e.g. EFL, Mini-Mikes, etc.
  • Advice and approval should be sought from the Parish Administrator, or a senior member of pastoral staff.
  • For one-off events and regular ministries, the organiser should expect to complete a COVID-Safety Plan, via this link.

1 Peter 4:8-10 says:
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.