We are very pleased to confirm that the NSW Government has now allowed for places of worship in NSW to re-open. We give thanks that we can now begin to return to Worship and fellowship together. We pray that God will keep safe those who return to church and encourage all congregations to be sensitive to the concerns of their members as you do so. This is particularly so for elderly and vulnerable members.
When your Congregation does decide to re-open, please remember the following requirements:
- Up to 50 persons, subject to the total number of persons calculated by allowing 4 square metres of space for each person, excluding the persons necessary for the conduct of, or assisting in the conduct of, the service.
- Complete and have available for congregational members or external users a COVID-19 safety plan which can be downloaded from: https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/industry-guidelines/places-of-worship
- Note and undertake the property and touch-point cleaning schedule stipulated in your Safety Plan.
- Maintain a record of the name and mobile number or email address of all people using the church or church premises for any reason for a period of at least 28 days.
We are hopeful that from 1 July, the Government will legislate to further ease restrictions by removing the upper limit of 50 and relying solely on the maximum number of persons complying with the strict 4 square metre rule.
All ministers and their Elders are encouraged to continue to keep caring for each other, stay connected, and meet around God’s word and prayer- whether that be in person or via phone or videoconference, for now.
The COVID Steering Committee continues to meet weekly, led by the Moderator and supported by Ministry & Mission, the Trustees and the General Office to help you to be prepared and adjust during these rapidly changing times. Please be in touch to let us know if there is more that we can be doing to assist you and your Church family at this time.
Grace and Peace,
Can we include music clips from Youtube in our streamed or prerecorded church services?
We are receiving lots of questions about copyright and licensing considerations if a congregation streams hymns and worship songs from YouTube. We have taken legal advice on the issue. Although these songs are all freely available for anyone to watch on YouTube, the material has been licensed by the users uploading to YouTube, which then licenses it to those downloading. In short, the YouTube license may not permit you to broadcast YouTube material to congregations or in public. We are in touch with our lawyers and are checking whether this would be problem on other music platforms. We will keep you advised.
Please note that churches doing music over livestream need to upgrade their regular CCLI licence to a “streaming” licence: au.ccli.com/streaming-licence-manual/. This license gives permission to share their live-performed music over the internet, as long as it is not for download.
Dave Phillips, General Manager of Presbyterian Youth, will be making resources available on the PY website soon. Please contact Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
How shall we continue to share The Lord’s Supper?
We have received several questions from Ministers about the Lord’s Supper. These questions are answered in the appended paper: ‘Virtual Lord’s Supper?’.
We also refer you to this this article on church meetings on the GS&C site: http://gsandc.org.au/church-and-meeting/.
What do I need to think about with regards to children and youth in my congregation at this time?
Jericho Road have provided valuable resources with Breaking the Silence and child protection in mind: https://jerichoroad.org.au/breaking-the-silence/info-sheets/
Presbyterian Youth also have some useful guidelines and links in their Resources page: https://pynsw.org.au/resources/
Are Church Offices still open?
Church Offices remains open with staff working from home and all calls redirected. This includes payroll, finance, accounting, insurance, property, trust services and the Trustee Investment Fund. Please contact us at any time.
Jeof Falls and Peter Merrick are receiving many emails of enquiry, which they encourage and to which they will be responding as quickly as they can.