Coronavirus information

This page contains information for Presbyterian and Uniting Church staff, ministers, chaplains, parishes and presbyteries to provide guidance around the outbreak of Coronavirus (Covid-19 virus). It provides guidance to help manage the life of our Church and our communities during this pandemic.

For the latest guidance and advice, please refer to the "PCANZ Guidance: Churches and Coronavirus" section.

Moderator's pastoral messages

Rt Rev Fakaofo Kaio has offered pastoral messages to the Church in these challenging times. Read the latest message: "There is Hope"

The Moderator has also been leading weekly devotions each Sunday since the start of the March lockdown. Each week, the devotion available on the Moderator's Facebook page by 9am each Sunday, and is available on the Church's Facebook page and Church's video channel shortly afterward. The devotions last for approximately 20mins.

PCANZ Guidance: Churches and Coronavirus

This resource was issued by the Church's Council of Assembly, and should be read in conjunction with the latest update, dated 19 August 2020.

Download the resource for more detailed advice and instructions. This document should be read in conjunction with any subsequent updates:

Update 19 August 2020

This letter provides further guidance about some alert level rules, as well as requesting that church Health and Safety representatives provide their contact information so that the Church is better able to provide targetted support in a timely manner.

Update 12 August 2020 - Change in alert level guidance

PCANZ Compliance Director, Matthew Hague, has written to all churches and presbyteries offering guidance in light of the recent government announcement about the change in alert levels which come into effect at midday on 12 August. Read the guidance

Update 9 June 2020 - Gathering at Alert Level 1

The Convenor of the Council of Assembly, Rev Richard McLean, wrote to all churches and presbyteries concerning our Church and government changes to Alert Level 1. Read the Alert Level 1 guidance for churches.

Update 26 May 2020 - Gathering at Alert Level 2

The Convenor of the Council of Assembly, Rev Richard McLean, wrote to all churches and presbyteries concerning our Church and government changes to Alert Level 2. Read the message in full.

23 March 2020 - Suspension of physical gatherings for public worship

On 23 March 2020, the AES Rev Wayne Matheson wrote to all churches to inform them of the suspension of physical gatherings for public worship effective immediately. Read the full message here

PCANZ Assembly Office & PRC staff working from home

Update 18 May 2020: Some Assembly Office and Presbyterian Research Centre staff continue working from home normal work hours and can be contacted via email and mobile phone. Please see contact details here. This action is in the interests of staff and visitor safety, and is in response to the NZ Government Covid-19 alerts. Physical offices will be open on some work days with health and safety and hygiene and social distancing precautions in place. Please check with staff first if you need to visit offices.

As from today 23 March 2020, all Assembly Office and Presbyterian Research Centre staff are working from home and can be contacted via email and mobile phone, not via landline. Please see contact details for staff on the Church website here. For more information on how Presbyterian Research Centre, including Archives and Hewitson, will keep in touch with you online read this update.

Charities Services Covid-19 information for registered charities

We direct your attention to this excellent resource from Charities Services, which answers many questions like how the government's economic support package applies to charities, what to do if you have to postpone important meetings like your AGM and more. Read the Information on Covid-19 for registered charities resource.

Applying for financial relief

Update 7 April 2020: Applying for the Government Wage Subsidy - COVID-19: What you need to know

The Government will support employers who face laying off staff or reducing staff hours because of COVID-19. However, the employer must meet certain criteria. Download this worksheet and information to help you determine if you will be eligible.

We also recommend that if you apply for the subsidy, that you take a screenshot or photo of your online submission before you submit it so that you have a record of your application, because once submitted, you will not be able to access the information again. Take photographs or screenshots of key details, such as which employees you are applying for, and the nature of their employment - part-time or full-time.  Having a record allows you to refer to your submission if there is a difference between the amount you receive and your submission.

Sandra Kennerley
Finance Manager

Update 26 March 2020: NZ Business Number no longer required on application form

Even though the application form asks applicants to enter a NZ Business Number, this requirement was modified on 25 March (approx) and we are advised that the field can now be left blank.  Please note that this is an update to our earlier advice which said that “NZBN” could be inserted in the relevant box. So if you tried to apply using "NZBN" in the field and it didn't work, please try again, leaving the relevant field blank. More information about how to apply can be found in the latest Treasurers' News

Update 23 March 2020: Charities Services have confirmed that Charities will be covered by the Government subsidy.

The impact of Covid-19 will have financial implications for many parishes and we have started to receive some questions about this. We want to remind treasurers that terms of call are set by presbytery and that if congregations need to raise concerns about their financial viability, and in particular their ability to fund their minister’s stipend or staff salaries and wages, the first step is to engage with presbytery.

We note the Government has announced a set of financial packages relating to the impact of Covid-19. We are taking advice on whether parishes can access this financial support for employees who are ill, caring for others or in self-isolation once sick leave is exhausted. We have now received (23 March 2020) confirmation that parishes and other charities are able to apply for the subsidy.

We also sought advice from the Book of Order Advisory Committee about whether ministers are eligible, and our advice is that ministers may be eligible (as ministers are called and are not employees, it isn’t clear whether they qualify). Again, we are seeking further advice on this point and will provide a further update as soon as we have more information.

To ensure your request is considered, we recommend that any parishes wishing to make an application to the Ministry of Social Development for financial relief do so, while the Church awaits further clarification on the points above. Learn more about the wage subsidy how to apply

We understand that these are challenging times, and are doing our best to obtain some clarity as quickly as possible on these important points.

If you have Covid-19 employer and employee questions, see this Covid-19-Legal-Handbook by Parry Field Lawyers, it may be of help.

Copyright and streaming worship online

More churches are streaming worship online during this time and it is important that churches do not breach copyright. Depending on the content of your worship, many churches may need an additional streaming licence for their church. See more about streaming online on the Church website and read more about the CCLI streaming licence here and the One License streaming licence here.

Resources

New Zealand entered a four-week lockdown period on 11:59 on 25 March. Only essential services remain open. The Church has produced some resources to provide guidance and ideas about how to connect for the period that physical gatherings are no longer possible.

External Resources

Technology

Formation

Community

Faith

The Vine newsletter

Each week during the period where public worship gatherings are prohibited, The Vine - a newsletter to resource and equip leaders to do church differently - will be published and includes ideas and resources.

Click here to sign up for the The Vine in your email inbox each week.

Download below copies of The Vine

The Vine #8 (published 21 May 2020)
The Vine #7 (published 14 May 2020)
The Vine #6 (published 7 May 2020)
The Vine #5 (published 30 April 2020)
The Vine #4 (published 23 April 2020)
The Vine #3 (published 16 April 2020)
The Vine #2 (published 9 April 2020)
The Vine # 1 (published 2 April 2020)