All public church services suspended due to coronavirus
UPDATE: ALL public religious services at Grafton's Christ Church Cathedral have been suspended in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This includes baptisms, funerals and weddings as well as Sunday services and the Wednesday morning service. It also applies to Holy Apostles Church, Copmanhurst as well as All Saints Church, Lawrence.
The Cathedral will be open between 8.30am and 5.30pm every day for personal prayers, meditation and reflection.
The director of music will coordinate arrangements for music to be performed or broadcast at various times each day.
Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer will continue to be offered privately at the usual times.
Arrangements will be made for private funeral services, but baptisms will only be performed in the most urgent cases and with special permission from the Bishop.
Check this page different ways to engage with Grafton Cathedral online during the pandemic.
Volunteers aged 60 years of age or older are advised to consider whether they should suspend their involvement during the period of the pandemic. The Cathedral Bookshop and OpShop will close for an initial period of two weeks while we determine whether they can function with reduced hours and a different set of volunteers.
Parish clergy and Parish Council members will allocate additional time to offering personal support to isolated and frail parishioners, including assistance with accessing online opportunities for community, study and worship.
"We are arranging special deliveries of essential household items and non-perishable food for distribution to at-risk members of the wider community," Dean of Grafton Dr Greg Jenks said.
EARLIER: GRAFTON church services have been suspended in a bid to further limit the spread of coronavirus.
In response to the COVID19 pandemic and in line with the rest of the Anglican Province of NSW, the Bishop of Grafton, Dr Murray Harvey, announced today that all churches in the Diocese of Grafton will cease offering public worship for an indefinite period from Monday, March 23.
Dean of Grafton Dr Greg Jenks said Sunday services and other major holy days will be live-streamed via the Grafton Cathedral Facebook page.
He said the situation will be reviewed within two weeks and arrangements will be made for Easter.
Members of the cathedral community are advised to join the Grafton Anglicans Facebook group to stay up to date.
Dr Jenks said measures had been put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19 for all services at the Grafton cathedral and at Copmanhurst and Lawrence.
These include encouraging people to clean their hands with sanitiser, refraining from physical contact or close proximity and the sacrament being served in kind only and those serving will have cleaned their hands prior.
"The Cathedral will continue to be open during daylight hours for people to pray, but we encourage everyone to maintain high levels of personal hygiene in relation to coughing and hand contact," Dr Jenks said.
"In the event that all large public gatherings (such as church services) are banned, we shall provide online opportunities for prayer, study and community without attending the Cathedral in person."
The statement issued by Dr Harvey said the situation will be reviewed every fortnight.
"Please note that this does not include Anglican Schools and only applies to public worship in churches," the statement read.
"The closure has been timed so that parishes can inform their parishioners at worship this coming Sunday (March 22) of the forthcoming closure and provide details of any arrangements for the ongoing provision of ministry including pastoral care.
"However, some parishes may choose to cease public worship with immediate effect. At a time like this the church can play an important leadership role in the community by acting responsibility and following expert advice on the best ways to combat the virus, while not getting caught up in panic and importantly caring for those around us who need it most, such as health care workers, the elderly and those who are unwell."
The full statement is available here.