Dear brothers and sisters
We bring you some updates of information.
From this Friday, 15 October, all workers, volunteer or paid, lay and clergy, must have proof of at least a single dose of vaccine, or a firm booking of a first dose by October 22, to do any permitted work outside their homes. This applies throughout Victoria and includes op shop workers, those assisting with essential food relief, vergers, servers, musicians, gardeners, those involved with broadcasting services, conducting and assisting at funerals, weddings and general church services, where permitted in regional Victoria.
Vicars are responsible for getting and maintaining a record of the vaccination status of workers, including volunteers. If a worker declines to give proof of vaccination status, they are deemed to be unvaccinated and cannot work.
All clergy must send a copy of their vaccination status to their bishop before doing any permitted work outside their home from this Friday.
When we reach the stage of the roadmap where there is a distinction between vaccinated and unvaccinated services, unvaccinated clergy and workers can lead services for unvaccinated or mixed congregations. Unvaccinated pastoral workers and clergy can offer pastoral care in homes, where the resident welcomes that.
The roadmap was explained in the COVID update on 22 September and is on our website. There is a possibility that stage 1, expected on 26 October, maybe be brought forward if the target of 70% fully vaccinated is reached earlier. This may impact services on Sunday, 24 October.
The faculty at Trinity and Ridley have produced a theological reflection on church, vaccinations and the roadmap here.
The lockdown in Mitchell Shire ends at midnight tonight and parishes and churches in that shire return to the restrictions for much of the rest of regional Victoria.
QR codes and vaccine passport
Vaccination status can now be incorporated into the Service Victoria App. The government trial of vaccine status check-in is underway. We are pleased to have arranged for the parish of South East Bendigo to be part of the government trial.
Grace and peace in Christ Jesus
Archbishop Philip Freier