Churches in the Port Macquarie-Hastings are making changes to ensure they can keep the community connected in light of the Prime Minister's decision to close places of worship to slow the spread of COVID-19.
From noon on Monday, March 23 all states will shut pubs and clubs as well as cinemas, nightclubs, casinos, gyms, indoor sporting venues, churches and places of worship, while cafes and restaurants would only be open for takeaway.
However, funerals can still take place, as long as people practice appropriate social distancing.
St Thomas' Anglican Church Pastor Stuart Webb said the Prime Minister's decision will be hard on the community but the church will remain open to people, even if the physical facility is closed.
He said it's important for people to continue to connect with the church, as it's currently utilising technology to provide a point of connection.
St Thomas Anglican Church has been preparing for the measures over the past few weeks and also educating elderly people on how to tune in via online.
The church has pre-recorded services and delivered them to aged care facilities to enable people to still connect.
The church is also writing letters to the elderly to ensure them they are still part of their prayers.
Pastor Webb said he's seeking clarification on how to continue food services to help those who are vulnerable in the community.
For now, the church is pre-making meals and offering them to people in need from 10am-12pm each Wednesday.
Pastor Webb said a small crew from the church would be enacting the correct social distancing measures and carrying out strict hygiene practice while handing out food to people.
Pastor Webb will also seek clarification on funerals and whether they can still occur at the church, if people abide by the correct spacing and stick to small groups of people.
Meanwhile St Agnes' Parish priest Father Paul Gooley is urging people to continue to reach out to the church, in light of the Prime Minister's announcement.
He said people can call or email the church so they can be informed about online resources and access the local daily reflection.
Online resources will assist people in ensuring they can continue their spiritual practice at home.
Father Gooley said it's important people know the church is still available to those who need it.
For more information about how to reach out to the St Agnes Parish, please visit https://stagnesparish.org.au/
Alternatively, people can call 6583 1024
For more information about how to connect with the local Anglican Church online, please visit https://www.portanglican.com/
Alternatively people can call 6584 1033 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit the NSW Health website for more information about the latest on COVID-19.
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