Sight Magazine – In Australia, the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney welcomes return to church “for all”

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Sydney, Australia

The head of the Anglican Church in Sydney hailed an announcement from the New South Wales government detailing the exit from the lockdown as vaccination milestones are reached.

Starting Monday after Australia’s largest state hits the 80 percent double-dose vaccination target (aged 16 and over), relaxed restrictions will allow anyone – those who are fully vaccinated (and those with medical exemption), as well as the unvaccinated – to attend church according to the “one person per four square meters” rule. Registration QR codes and masks will still be required, and there will be no vocals.

A pedestrian wearing a protective mask crosses tram lines in the city center during a lockdown to curb the spread of an outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Sydney, Australia on September 24. Photo: Reuters / Loren Elliott.

The Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Kanishka Raffel, is delighted that the government has recognized the “essential place of worship in the lives of believers”.

“Our churches are busy preparing to reopen, although many will choose to stay fully online until we hit the 80% mark,” the archbishop said in a statement.

“As we have done throughout the pandemic, we will continue to implement government guidelines and make our churches as safe as possible. “

He said he and his bishops had been a strong advocate for immunization and that many congregations had reached “very high levels” of immunization.

And on whether worshipers and unvaccinated visitors will be allowed in, the archbishop said no one would be refused entry.

IN OTHER AUSTRALIAN STATES

Victoria: In metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire, places of worship are closed for private worship or religious ceremonies (although services can still be recorded or streamed live from the place of worship to be viewed online) , but can open for authorized weddings or funerals (for example, end-of-life or eviction reasons) with strict restrictions and limits on the number of people who can attend. Restrictions are less in other regional areas.

Queensland: Places of worship can have one person per two square meters.

Western Australia: Places of worship can operate at full capacity, but worshipers should stay 1.5 meters from people they do not live with.

South Australia: one person per two square meters if seated and standing; people can sing if they wear a mask, and devotees must wear a mask inside.

Tasmania: The total number of people in each room cannot exceed one person per two square meters.

Northern Territory: Places of religious worship are open.

ACT: On-site religious gatherings and ceremonies are not permitted. People are not allowed to assemble in a place of worship.

Source: www.healthdirect.gov.au

“In many places the number of unvaccinated people may not be large, but we have an important responsibility to ensure that no one is left behind and that our churches are open and safe for all,” did he declare.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney said the archdiocese was “very grateful that the Prime Minister has recognized that for believers worship is more of an essential service than recreation.”

“We now look forward to the opportunity to come together once again to celebrate our faith and give thanks to God,” the spokesperson said.

“To ensure that as many of the faithful as possible can return to the celebration of Mass, Archbishop Anthony Fisher has decided that our churches will reopen once 80% of the residents of NSW are fully immunized. We will continue to adhere to the rules. COVID-Safe rules set by NSW Health, including wearing face masks at Mass, hand sanitizing, no congregational singing and social distancing, following a four square meter rule. “

With current restrictions stipulating that unvaccinated children must stay with their parents in one place (including places of worship), many churches will continue to operate online services until the 80% vaccination rate is reached. achieved.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the 80% roadmap would also remove the limit of fully immunized guests for weddings and funerals.

“I know people are counting the minutes until we hit 70% double dose and the freedoms that will come with it, and today we are providing extra certainty by announcing the 80% roadmap and metrics. future, ”Ms. Berejiklian said in a statement. the week. “Vaccination remains our ticket to freedom, so we need to work even harder to get the gun hit, to help stop the spread, minimize epidemics and ensure people are protected when we open up. “

Churches and places of worship can operate with one person per two square meters, with chanting permitted from December 1.


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