Gathered church services suspended from Monday 23 March

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Gathered church services in the Anglican Church Southern Queensland will be suspended from Monday 23 March due to recent developments in the coronavirus pandemic, announces Archbishop Phillip Aspinall

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The Anglican Church Southern Queensland (ACSQ) will suspend church services from Monday, 23 March until further notice due to recent developments in the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Any parishes wishing to suspend services immediately are free to do so. The decision to suspend services has not been taken lightly; however, with many of our congregations in our 133 parishes in the high-risk groups of contracting the virus, this is a necessary decision.

While the Government has only restricted gatherings of 100 or over, it is vital at this time that we care for, and stand in solidarity with, our elderly and at-risk parishioners. Encouraging them to attend public worship by holding regular services would be to fail our vocation of care and compassion.

We must now focus fully on how we stay connected with, care for and minister to our church members and the wider community. This will mean being creative and using whatever technology and approaches are available to us.

We will continue to monitor the situation and review it on an ongoing basis.

Some churches will start livestreaming their services from this weekend, including St John’s Cathedral in Brisbane and St Bart’s in Toowoomba. ACSQ is also offering grants to parishes to assist them with the cost of purchasing equipment/subscriptions/licences that will enable them to communicate in the absence of face to face gatherings.

This pandemic is causing profound disruption to our everyday lives and to the ministry of our Church communities. It is likely to intensify before the situation begins to improve.

I am very aware that the COVID-19 pandemic is causing a high degree of stress and anxiety for clergy, parish staff and volunteers. I want to encourage all of them to care for one another and for themselves.

Government and public health advice should be monitored constantly and followed. Please continue to regularly check our advice page as we seek to support and resource parishes and ministries in every way possible.

We are also looking at other ways we can continue to support parishes and further information will follow in coming weeks.

Editor’s note on 25/03/20: Given the rapid pace at which new health and government directives are being issued – with the potential to impact on parish activities and your daily lives – we recommend that you check our ACSQ coronavirus COVID-19 advice page regularly to keep up to date with the latest announcements.

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