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.

Moderator's pastoral message

Rt Rev Fakaofo Kaio has offered a pastoral message to the Church in these challenging times. At times like this, faith is especially important, he says. Read the Moderator's message

The Moderator will also lead weekly devotions each Sunday during the period that public worship is suspended. The devotion will be available on the Moderator's Facebook page by 9am each Sunday, and will be available on the Church's video channel shortly afterward. The devotions will 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 March, and the update from 23 March on the NZ Government's Level 3 and 4 alert.

The resource notes that should instructions be issued by the Ministry of Health concerning public gatherings, parishes and Presbyterian entities will be expected to all follow these. The latest update prohibits gatherings of 100+ people.

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

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 immediately. Read the full message here

PCANZ Assembly Office & PRC staff working from home

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 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 clarify as quickly as possible on these important points.

Sandra Kennerley
Finance Manager

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.