The Anglican Diocese of Wellington has developed Pandemic Protocols for the Diocese. (Updated 2016)
Communication and Administration:
Parishes/mission units are to confirm:
• all key contact details
• parish wardens details
• parish clergy details
• pastoral care networks
Parishes and mission units are to make sure that all information contained in all newsletters is current, and that the Diocesan website details are on all newsletters. They must update their parish website details and ensure that their website is linked to the Diocesan website.
All answerphone messages at parish offices and Vicarages are clear and effective. They must set up telephone trees and email trees for daily contact.
The parish/mission unit must be divided up into a geographical grid and local contact lists developed.
Daily contact with the Regional Archdeacon must be established via email and telephone.
The Vicar/Priest in Charge/Ministry Team is to identify back up:
• Laity such as wardens
The Vicar/Priest in Charge/Ministry Team must have each have a hard copy of the parish roll. They must identify critical leadership roles: e.g., Ezee Meals coordinator, pastoral team coordinator, etc. All essential parish functions must be identified and they must be staffed adequately.
Protection kits must be purchased for clergy and key lay persons, and medication purchased for them. Alcohol wipes must be supplied for parish office telephones and keyboards, and alcohol based hand gel supplied for any persons visiting.
The most important thing we can offer is hope!
Clergy can offer public reassurance through 'the sacrament of presence' and being seen to be present by wearing clerical collars.
• Offer 'Disaster training and equipping' sessions – this may be in cooperation with local Civil Defence
• Ensure all parishioners are referred to the inside cover of the Yellow Pages in the phone book which outlines ' Being Prepared for Disasters' – additional water would need to be added to kits
• Check parish first aid kits and availability of trained first aid people
• Encourage parishioners to check and restock personal first aid kits, especially with additional paracetamol
• Check to ensure Civil Defence kits are not 'time expired'
• Network with local health, welfare, safety networks, funeral directors and other service providers, and ensure contact details for these service providers are held by key parish leadership
• Be aware of local information and peculiarities, e.g., water supplies, etc.
• Ensure information regarding contacts for GPs and Ministry of Health are published in weekly newsletters
Parishes and mission units are encouraged to stockpile nonperishable food items. They are also encouraged to use paper hand towels and supply tissues, rather than use communal towels.
Parishes and mission units are encouraged to hold next of kin details, especially for parishioners who live alone. They should establish pastoral neighbourhood care networks which are reasonably small scale and within walking distance. Identify a leader/contact person for each network, and distribute care cards containing essential information such as telephone tree process, pastoral contacts, prayer contacts, etc.
Build up and equip lay ministry networks including and beyond those licensed to the Diocese. Identify and brief lay people who can provide telephone support and prayer for those who are fearful or otherwise distressed.
Liturgical and Sacramental Support:
Train and equip lay ministry networks to offer appropriate support and prayer, lead memorial services, etc. Each home should be given a copy of the New Zealand Prayer Book/He Karakia Mihinare O Aotearoa, and a Bible from the church supplies.
Promote Midday Prayer as a dispersed community activity, and church bells might be rung to indicate Midday Prayer. If able to gather, offer Communion in one kind only. Be very aware of hygiene, distributing only after using alcohol hand wash gel or similar. If able to gather note that there is to be no passing of the peace or physical contact.
If anointing people for healing, wash/wipe hands between people. Encourage people to not sit too close together in gatherings.
When ministering with people who are ill, dying or at death take appropriate hygiene precautions, i.e., wear a mask and use alcohol solution for hands, etc. Clergy and pastoral team members need to be aware of health protocols in situations of death, and prepare families appropriately. Use the resources in the NZPB, particularly 'Prayers before a Funeral' pp 822-825. Mass burial/cremation is the likely process if large numbers of deaths occur. Offering memorial services once people are able to gather again will be very necessary.
Suggestions for appropriate prayers at various times and situations during a pandemic/crisis are attached.
Once the danger period is over it will be important for parishes and mission units to be aware of and acknowledge the grief and trauma of the situation. Resources produced post September 11, and the 2004 Tsunami would offer a useful starting point.
Ensure adequate security of any money and valuables, etc., in the parish.
Daily Prayer in time of an Emergency
If the flu pandemic strikes, it is likely that households will be encouraged not to mingle with others. Schools will be closed, and places of business including supermarkets, and even church services may be forbidden. In such a situation anxiety levels will rise and our people will be looking for spiritual resources to help them through, resources they can access and use in their homes.
Our NZ Prayer Book is a rich resource and parishes could help to ensure that every parish household has one and a bible.
Daily prayers can help give structure to our days; especially when folk have more time for thinking and reflecting in troublesome circumstances.
- Daily Devotions (A NZPB pp104-137)
- Midday Prayer (A NZPB pp147-166)
- Night Prayers (A NZPB pp167-186)
- And of course the Psalms are a useful resource for adults.
For families with young children
- Family Prayer (A NZPB pp 187-191)
- The Family Liturgy (A NZPB pp771-72)
In times of a crisis: when a member(s) of a household are seriously ill, there is the people's blessing on p745, and prayers on pp 747-48.
If a member of the household is dying: prayers from pp 813-821 may be used, and if someone dies and their body needs to be removed for burial immediately then Prayer Before a Funeral pp 822-825 can be used as liturgical farewell, until a memorial service can be held at a later date.
© The Bishop's Office, Anglican Diocese of Wellington, P O Box 12046, Wellington.
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