Many local parishes are continuing with virtual and technology-based connections this week, despite an easing of restrictions allowing up to 10 parishioners in a church. Whilst welcomed, the easing proves difficult to enforce even in the smallest congregations.
Where larger assemblies would usually worship it raises the issue of excluding some to meet obligations and effectively social distance.
The Catholic Church across the district has begun to hold services, but regular parishioners are being placed on a roster system. Far from missing out, many groups The Gwydir News spoke to believe the fact that churches have been administering their faith from a distance has actually been very successful.
Bingara Anglican Church’s Reverend Gordon Stewart told The Gwydir News that his parishioners have coped very well so far throughout the Coronavirus restrictions, despite missing the meeting of people and getting together.
“From a pastoral point of view, we speak to everyone in the parish weekly on the phone or keeping our social distancing at the front gate. People within the parish are also taking it upon themselves to ring each other,” he said.
Warialda Anglican Church has remained open for contact during the Covid-19 difficulties and has had great success with administering their faith online.
“We have had more people watching what happens on the YouTube channel than would actually turn up to a church on Sunday, so that’s good to know,” said Reverend Simon Waller of Warialda’s Anglican Church.
Uniting Churches in the Gwydir have chosen, at this stage to continue practicing remotely, as they have been, to protect the vulnerable. Throughout the restrictions Reverend Jean Bell has been hosting a telephone link-up to maintain the connection.
“We’ve been talking each Sunday morning at 11:30am. It’s actually been excellent discussion. We haven’t lost anything as far as connection with each other and going through the bible readings for the week and discussing them,” she said. “We actually think it’s been a bit of a plus.”
Bingara Presbyterian Church is joining others in hoping for a swift return to normal, however in the meantime, will wait until larger numbers are able to congregate.
Please see Church Notices each week in The Gwydir News for any changes over the coming weeks.