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Welcome to St Peter's

Notice From The Vicar - 2 December 2021

Hello everyone,

Tonight the nation moves to operating under a new approach to managing the COVID 19 pandemic, the "traffic light" system. In this notice I cover the following topics:

Conditions under which we will be holding services in person
Thoise unable or unwilling to attend
The Parish Fair on Saturday December 3
Other events in the church or hall

As a Vestry we have considered all the directives and advice available to us at this time, and especially the pastoral letter from our bishops. We are doing our best to keep our people safe and cared for, and to comply with our legal requirements, in a situation that continues to evolve and in which advice is sometimes ambiguous. We may find that we have to amend our position as time goes on: we will inform you if that proves necessary.

1. The conditions under which in-person services will be held

In accordance with the direction of the Bishops announced last Sunday, attendance at services at St Peter's will require the presentation of your My Vaccine Pass (either on your mobile phone or printed out), and this will have to be sighted by those on duty on the door. (Children under the age of 12 years 3 months are exempt from this requirement, given that they cannot have been vaccinated at this time.)

General safe practice will still be followed:

  • You must use the Covid19 contact tracing app on your mobile phone (the QR codes for scanning are placed at each entrance and also printed within the Fisherfolk), or, failing that, record your contact details on the forms available at each entrance.
  • Handwashing/sanitizing is still strongly recommended.
  • You are advised to keep your distance from people you don't know, but we will no longer be enforcing distancing.
  • You are encouraged to wear face masks throughout the service, apart from when you receive communion. (There is a small quantity of masks available at the welcomers’ table if you haven’t your own to bring.) Those leading/reading etc will remove their masks while speaking to aid audibility.
  • We will return to using our regular prayer books and hymn books, but ask that you pick up and return the prayer books yourself from the sidespersons table.
  • The offertory plates will be located at the crossing – they will not be passed from hand to hand. Please place your offering in the plate as you enter.
  • The Peace will be done in a way that does not involve physical contact.
  • Communion will be offered in one kind only, and will be done queuing one by one rather than assembling at the altar rail.
  • If you are unwell, or if you are vulnerable to infection, or if the above conditions give you concern, please stay away.

It is possible that we may be able to relax on some of these points as we go along; we have chosen to start with a conservative approach.

Please exercise grace and patience to one another, especially to those having to check passes, as we work through this together.

2. The approach we are taking for those unable or unwilling to attend

We understand that the above conditions mean that some will be unable or unwilling to attend. We respect that, and acknowledge that there is pain involved - as indeed there has been pain for those were unable to attend due to the risks for them under the previous settings.

We will continue to provide a Sunday service of Morning Prayer by Zoom, and the relevant details are published in the Fisherfolk each week which we email out and make available on the parish website.

The St Peter’s Online offerings continue as usual, with readings, hymns, prayers and sermon available to view at any time on the website from Sunday onwards:

We acknowledge that both of the above approaches do not meet the need for sacramental worship (i.e. Communion). The letter from the Bishops mentions the possibility of making application for exemption from the policy for a particular kind of service. Information from the Diocesan office indicates that there will be a high bar to satisfy in terms of risk assessment and mitigation. A couple of suggestions have been made:

  1. That we take advantage of the fact that the narthex is physically separated from the rest of the church and allow a group of people operating on a no vaccine pass basis to participate in the 10am service there, finding some way of offering Communion into this setting.
  2. That we might join with other Anglican parishes to devise and offer a separate service at a different time specifically exempted from the vaccine pass requirement.

Before we progress either of these ideas, we seek your thoughts on whether you think you would want to avail yourself of either (or some other) option.

We have recognised that we have a general need to bolster our capacity to provide home communion to any who are unable to attend worship for whatever reason, and we will be working over the ensuing weeks to increase our team for this. If you would like to receive communion at home from time to time, please let us know.

3. Parish Fair

Vestry has reviewed the requirements and guidelines, and these have been taken into account in devising how the Fair will be managed this Saturday. This will be an open event (no vaccine pass required). Numbers will be monitored to ensure that we do not exceed the 50 person limit (in addition to staff) in both the hall and outside, and will be encouraging adherence to all the usual public health measures around distancing, masks, etc.

4. Other events in church or hall

For church groups, we will need to make our own assessment as to how risks are managed. If organising an event, please get in touch so that the appropriate assessment and decision can be made.

For outside groups, casual hires, etc, the onus is on the organiser to choose the approach best suited to the group's needs and to ensure that the event complies with government requirements. We will however want to sight the organiser's risk assessment in each case.

Grace and peace,

Stuart Goodin
Vicar
St Peter's Anglican Parish
Palmerston North
06 358 5403

229 Ruahine Street,
Palmerston North
Email: stpeters@inspire.net.nz
Phone: (06) 358 5403

Office Hours

Tuesday to Friday
9:00am to 12:00pm

Closed on Public Holidays

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