We have always known that there would likely be a return to a higher Covid Level and that has now happened with the Prime Minister’s announcement last night that we are in Level 2 until at least midnight Ash Wednesday.
This challenges us but we can be there for our fellow New Zealanders. Is there someone we could check in on? Can we up our game for Contact Tracing? We have come through raised Levels before as a Diocese and we will do this again!
This minimum period in Level 2 includes all of Ash Wednesday and thus affects services on Ash Wednesday. Earlier today I gave this directive to our Vicars/Priests-in-Charge/Chaplains:
There is to be no Ashing at Ash Wednesday services.
Ash Wednesday services may be held (providing they comply with Level 2 Guidelines for our services and other gatherings) but they are not to include the act of Ashing people’s foreheads.
I recommend as an alternative the following action at the point in the service where Ashing would take place (with suitably adapted words being said): pause, silence, each member of the congregation using their own thumb and signing their own foreheads with a cross.
Yes, that means we do not have the witness of Ash on our foreheads as we depart from the service, but collectively, through a Lenten fast from Ashing, we are witnessing to NZ that we are taking our responsibilities in Level 2 seriously and solemnly.
Ecumenical Service at the Transitional Cathedral 5.30 pm Wednesday 17 February 2021: this is now a Livestream Service. We do not want to have to turn the 101st person away so Archbishop Paul and myself have agreed that we will ask everyone to stay home and share in this service via Livestreaming.
I have also given this guidance to our clerical leaders: “Sunday 21 February services: it is permissible for you to plan for and communicate about this Sunday’s services in your ministry unit that they will be in Level 2 mode (limit 100, communion in one kind, no physical Passing the Peace, etc). Alternatively, you may wait till announcement on Wednesday to determine whether you must plan for Level 2 (if that continues) or can revert to Level 1 mode (if the NZ Govt permits).”
Diocesan Big Day Out Family Fun Day (Saturday 20 February 2021)
Emma Tovey, this event’s organiser writes:
Thanks for your patience as we adapt for Covid restrictions.
The Big Day Out will still go ahead in Level 2, but will be cancelled if the level is raised to 3 or 4.
Catering is unfortunately cancelled. Please BYO picnic food. We are super sorry for the inconvenience.
Please do your best to socially distance at the event, and stay home if you are sick.
The event will now be split into two halves, morning and afternoon, to ensure that we are under 100 people.
Morning people will need to leave by 1.30pm and afternoon people will need to arrive after 2pm.
People will need to sign up for either option and it will be first in first served system.
We are really looking forward to seeing you there!
Last week the Reverend Betty Cox (East Christchurch) died and her funeral is tomorrow at 1 pm in the John Rhind Chapel, London St, Christchurch (under Level 2 conditions). The service for Betty can be viewed online via the invitation at this link: https://admin.oneroomstreaming.com/email/view/99e2591101
On Friday we received news that Sarah Hawke, daughter of the Very Reverend Mike and Patsy Hawke, died unexpectedly of a suspected epileptic seizure here in Christchurch. Sarah died only a few weeks after her brother Peter died in Sydney. The immensity of this double tragedy for the Hawke family is incomprehensible. Many friends of the Hawke family, across both our Diocese and the Diocese of Nelson, have been shocked by this news.
Please pray for Mike and Patsy and their family as they prepare for Sarah’s funeral on Friday afternoon at St Christopher’s, Avonhead (time to be confirmed). Last night’s announcement about Level 2 adds to the challenge for preparation since we cannot be sure whether we will be out of Level 2 by Friday. We will have Livestreaming details for the service in our ordinary eLife on Wednesday.