Kia ora ē te whānau,

Living in a global community brings such richness and challenge – in these weeks we are reminded of the horrific events of 15th March 2019 at two Christchurch mosques, as well as watching news of the spread of the COVID-19 virus through various countries around the world.

We are connected sometimes in ways we’d rather avoid – and racism is a particularly hateful symptom of fear of the other. Fear of migrants from other countries undergirds some political policies, I always find this a ‘cheap win’ for votes, pulling on people’s fears. That we need to be reminded not to perpetuate racism towards Chinese people since the COVID-19 outbreak is shameful.

We need to be often thinking and re-thinking our own attitudes, and how they may be unwittingly and subtly expressed in our words.

Parish Council received a suggestion to change one line in our Prayer for St Andrew’s, and with consultation and discussion we unanimously agreed.

From this coming Sunday, the line ‘Give us a new spirit of unity with all who follow Christ’, will be changed to ‘Give us a new spirit of unity with people of all faiths’.

In discussion we agreed that the original reflected the times in which it was written, and was appropriate. However given our increasing awareness of, and sharing our country with, people from many different faith traditions, we felt it timely to reflect that in this new line.

It seems fitting to me that on the anniversary of the shootings in Christchurch we will be praying the amended prayer for the first time.

Thanks to Ken, Barrie and Heather for their thoughts and encouragement to parish council on this matter.

Secondly, parish council has written a policy related to the COVID-19 threat, and you will already know (if you were at church last Sunday) that we have changed the way we ‘pass the peace’. Below is the section of the policy related to us as a congregation. 

Two main changes need to happen: First, the passing of the peace, second, the way we do communion – we will for a time be travelling back in time and sharing communion with small glasses and squares of bread – in good Presbyterian style! 

The first communion served in this manner will be on Sunday April 5th.

Thanks to Katrina and Ben who have given us helpful advice from a medical perspective.

Finally, the wisdom of Kofi Annan:

“If tolerance, respect and equity permeate family (and faith community) life, they will translate into values that shape societies, nations and the world.”

A reminder to each of us to practice peace in our relationships with each other, as well as towards others in our wider community.



COVID-19 planning for St Andrew’s church services

Covid-19 or the Corona virus has spread to NZ, however we have only a few cases centred around Auckland. Parish Council discussed how this may impact on St Andrew’s and what sort of care we would be implementing.

During this period we will be following the Ministry of Health guidelines and this advice will change frequently so we the Parish Council will do our best to keep all parishioners updated. 

Currently the general advice is to stay home if you are feeling unwell with cough or cold symptoms and rest, use good cough and sneezing hygiene and wash hands regularly with soap and water or hand sanitiser. This is good advice to prevent the spread of other cold and flu viruses which will be heading our way along with winter. 

Specifically at St Andrew’s we discussed a couple of process changes which we think will help reduce the risk of spreading infection and to keep things simple we will go ahead and implement them in the coming period.  

1. Passing the peace. We invite you all to try different methods of acknowledging and greeting each other during this time. For example; placing both hands together in the prayer position and bending the head towards the other person. This is a normal greeting in many countries. A hand on the upper chest and acknowledging the other person may also be useful. 

2. Communion over the next few months will be served in the small glasses and the bread will be pre-cut into cubes.

3. The next Sunday brunch is in May and we remain hopeful it will continue but we are open to making changes as need be. 

4. Disposable gloves will be provided for those on serving with counting money, they should be available in the south vestry. 

5. We are looking at the hand dryer in the downstairs women’s toilets, aware that this one is slow and too cool. The temperature has been adjusted in others and they are working much better. Once the electician has assessed them we will decide whether we need to upgrade.

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