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Welcome to the Parish of Manuka. We are a community of Christians sharing the journey of life and faith. Through our common life of prayer, worship and service we strive to follow the Way of our Lord Jesus Christ. Whether you will only be an online visitor to our parish or you are looking to join with us for worship or another activity, we are delighted you have crossed our cyber-threshold. God’s peace be with you.

COVID-19 PANDEMIC

All Parish activities and services are being conducted online. Please visit our Virtual Cloister for resources including links for services and our weekly E-pistle magazine.

Worship at St Paul’s Church will resume in July wth a limited number of services and restrictions on attendance. If you are not on our parish email subscribers list and would like information on booking to attend a service, please email office@stpaulsmanuka.org.au or phone 6239 6148.

Information about requirements for attending services is provided below.

Welcome Back to Church On Site  – from the Rector

I look forward to welcoming you back to worship with us at St Paul’s, Manuka, South Canberra very soon. It will be wonderful for us to be gathered together for worship in our Church once more after many months of the church being closed. Due to the current COVID-19 situation affecting Victoria and the recent cases in the ACT our reopening plans for mid-July have been revised. We plan to resume public worship once the ACT restrictions are eased to Level 3. Attendance will be by booking in order to comply with social distancing restrictions.  

This information is to help prepare you for what to expect when returning to services at St Paul’s Please keep in mind that these protocols are designed to minimise the risk of infection for all who come on site in compliance with our COVID-Safe Plan. 

Feel Free to Stay at Home

Firstly, no one should feel pressured to return to services in the church at this stage. We understand and respect that many people in our community of faith may prefer not to join a physical gathering like a church service at this time. We urge those who are at high-risk of infection to exercise due caution by staying at home. We will be continuing our weekly online Zoom service and also streaming the service held in the Church. 

If you do wish to book to attend a service, please take note of these requirements. 

You Must Stay Away if Unwell

• You must not book or attend services if you have any cold or flu-like symptoms, have been overseas in the last 14 days or have been in contact with anyone showing signs of Coronavirus eg. fever, dry cough and sore throat.

• If you have booked to attend a service and you or a member of your household are unwell on the day, you must not attend. Please notify us ASAP of your inability to attend by emailing bookings@stpaulsmanuka.org.au or phoning 0499 704 665 so that we can offer your place to someone else.

You Must Practise Good Hygiene 

• use the provided hand sanitiser when entering and exiting from all Parish facilities 

• wash your hands often with soap and water. 

• use alcohol-based hand sanitisers when you can’t use soap and water

• avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth

• avoid unnecessarily touching things

• stay away if you are unwell

You Must Keep Social Distancing 

Social distancing is one of the best things we can do to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

• follow social distancing directions from ushers and markers on the floor in areas where people l ine up (at main entry to church, to receive Communion, and if queueing to enter / exit church premises and at the toilets)

• keep the required 1.5m distance from each other

• do not shake hands, greet others with hugs/kisses

• do not change from your assigned pew during the service

Booking for Services

An email we be sent to parishioners with the weekly E-pistle with a link to the booking site for upcoming services.  Due to the limited numbers, I would ask that you do not treat this like booking for highly sought after concerts, but that you limit yourself to one service per fortnight. In August we will introduce a mid-week service at 11am on Wednesdays and I would encourage those who are able to attend mid-week to take that option to maximise opportunity for those who are restricted to Sundays. Any parishioner without internet capacity should contact me or the Church Wardens for assistance. 

What to Expect When You Come Back to Church

The impact of COVID-19 means that there will be some significant changes in the way we celebrate our common worship. While we will all appreciate being back in church together, unfortunately some of our former practices need to modified or suspended. We will also need to be very disciplined about following the directions of the COVID-Wardens. 

On Arrival – Screening

When you arrive at St Paul’s you will need to be signed in by one of our Covid-Wardens who will have a roll of all bookings for that particular service. 

You will also be asked some basic screening questions about your state of health prior to admission. You will then be escorted to a seat in the Church. You must not change seats. 

These screening requirements mean that it will take a little bit of time to admit worshippers to the Church. Please make sure you arrive at least 15 minutes before the service is scheduled to begin so that everyone can be screened in a timely fashion.  

That’s Not My Pew!

Only half of the pews in St Paul’s will be available for use. Anglicans tend to be creatures of habit and have been known to be territorial about pews. Unfortunately, with space at a premium, worshippers will need to sit in the place to which they are escorted. 

• Worshippers must only sit in the designated zones (marked by a sticker) in each pew.

• Only household groups may sit together, all others must maintain social distancing in their pews. 

• While we are normally unfazed by children moving about the church, for reasons of social distancing it is important that small children don’t freely roam about the church.  

Administration of Communion 

• The sacrament will be distributed to the congregation only under the species of bread. 

• The administering clergy will have sanitised their hands and worshippers will be requested to do the same on approach to receive the sacrament. 

• An usher will prompt worshippers row by row as to when they may approach the Communion Station. Please remain in your pew until invited to move. 

Leaving the Church

To avoid congestion in the aisles at the conclusion of the service, ushers will direct people when it is time for them to move to the appropriate exit. Please do not leave your pew until invited to do so by an usher. 

There will not be any post-service refreshments and there cannot be any mingling inside the church at the end of the service. Social distancing must be maintained at all times on parish premises. 

Liturgical and other Changes 

For the time being these changes will be in place: 

• there will only be one 9am Sunday service and a Wednesday 11am service to commence in August

• attendance will be restricted to the maximum number in compliance with the 4m2 rule

• there will be no communal hymn singing or sung responses however there will be organ music and cantors

• ushers will control movement in and out of the church 

• there will be no offering collections – electronic giving is preferred but cheques  can be placed in the provided collection box 

• there will not be a Greeting of Peace

• there will not be votive candle stations

• Services will be livestreamed via Zoom / Youtube for those unable to be present. 

• there will be only be one lector at each service 

• normal service rosters will not be resuming for the time being

• there will not be any refreshments following the service and the kitchen facilities will not be available. You are welcome to chat outside afterwards but social distancing must be observed. 

• the water dispenser is not available – worshippers should bring their own water bottle

• COVID-Wardens will be on duty at all services to ensure compliance with our COVID-Safe plan. 

Despite the changes and restrictions, it will no doubt be uplifting and encouraging to once again gather as a community of faith in our Parish Church. In the meantime, if you have any concerns please contact me directly ben@stpaulsmanuka.org.au 

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