Roadmap to Regathering

21 Jun 2020 by Rev Dr John Squires in: Letters, Thoughts, News

Last week we held three very successful workshops on using the Synod website with all the resources relating to the COVIDSAFE Pathway. You can access these resources at:

38 people participated on Wednesday morning, 28 people on Thursday morning. Andrew, Janise and John attended both workshops. David Rudd, from the Synod Secretariat, participated on Thursday. A further workshop, focussed on Op Shops, had ten participants on Wednesday afternoon.

People who participated came from 21 of our 26 Congregations. Most Congregations had multiple people attending. Eight Ministers or Pastors in placement attended, along with one Minister not in placement and one Minister from another denomination (who is married to a UCA Minister!). The remainder (57 individuals) were lay members of Church Councils. Many thanks to everyone who participated!

The workshop was recorded and is available for use by Church Councils. You can access it at:

During the Workshop, we gave particular attention to matters relating to worship, third party hall hire, cleaning protocols, food handing, vulnerable people, and ensuring we maintain pastoral care for all people, whether online or in person.

A number of questions were raised, and David Rudd undertook to research and respond to these matters. Under the item in this newsletter headed “Keeping up with the changes”, you can see these responses and the guidance provided.

So what about .....?
There continues to be discussion about various aspects of what is involved in worship when we begin meeting together in person.

It is very clear that singing as a group is one practice that we must not include in our worship once we meet in person. This article on the ABC website is clear and helpful. “Experts are mostly singing from the song sheet on this one — singing is a very effective way of spreading COVID-19.”

Avoiding physical contact with other people is another element that is important. In worship, that means no handshake or hugging at the door; no physical,contact during passing the peace; no passing the offering bowl, and modifications to communion when it is held. There is a good article, also on the ABC website, which canvasses these kinds of issues in the wider context of our behaviours in society.

That article concludes, “for the time being — as hard as it is — experts say it's best to avoid physical greetings like handshakes, hugs and kisses.”

How we manage holy communion when we begin to worship together in person will be the subject of an online workshop that the Presbytery Ministers are planning to hold in a couple of weeks. 

Rev Dr John Squires
Presbytery Minister—Wellbeing 

Canberra Region Presbytery
Uniting Church in Australia
0408 024 642
blogs on ‘An Informed Faith’