Some helpful tips during COVID-19 (for on-line church and staying in community)
1. Start simple. We don’t have the time to do it right, we are responding to an emergency we haven’t planned for.
2. Prioritise connection over production or liturgical beauty. The best thing you can do for your community is connect with them. Consider also writing a separate text message to each person in your church, asking how they are.
3. Reduce screen time. We are all being asked to spend more time in zoom meetings or reading emails on top of being glued to news feeds, tv news. Send people something they can print or a playlist they can listen to.
4. Move away from scheduled activities. While people need to maintain routines while in isolation, we are being asked to attend more meetings and this can cause anxiety. Find ways people can connect with flexibility.
5. Focus on spiritual practice over liturgy and preaching. What we need most assistance in is letting go of stress and regaining connection with God and with others.
6. Lower expectations. We all need a little grace. This applies also to Government departments and essential services.
7. Invite, don’t ask or tell. Make everything you do optional. Listen to your congregations needs and let them reflect.
8. Keep reassessing. None of us know what’s going to work.
9. Thank you. Remember everyone is trying to do things differently. For every person who is caring for others. For every person who is feeling exhausted. THANK YOU.
10. Forgive the mistakes. If your church isn’t getting it right or doing it the way you would like, be patient. None of us trained for this, we’re all learning.

Covid-19 Summary

What is Covid-19?

Covid-19 (also ‘novel coronavirus’ or ‘2019-nCoV’) is an illness similar to influenza. It is a virus related to those that cause the common cold, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

How is it transmitted?

The virus can be transmitted from person-to-person via droplets (coughing, sneezing, close personal contact, contact with a surface with viral particles on it).

Ways to prevent and reduce transmission

Coughing and Sneezing

Cough and sneeze into your bent elbow or a disposable tissue. Dispose of the tissue immediately. Do not use cloth hankies as they can spread viruses. Ensure other people follow the same practice.

Avoid close contact with people with cold or flu-like illnesses

Maintain at least one metre (three feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing or who has cold or flu-like symptoms (cough, sore throat, fever/temperature, runny nose or difficulty breathing) to avoid being infected.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth

Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, and wash your hands using proper hand-washing practices after touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

Flu Vaccine

The Diocese is strongly recommending that Parishes arrange for staff and key volunteers who work with large groups of people to receive a free flu vaccine, if they are not eligible for a free flu vaccine through the public health system.

The flu vaccine does not protect against Coronavirus. However, health officials are encouraging people to have their flu vaccine to limit the impact on our health services if a flu outbreak and Coronavirus outbreak were to occur simultaneously. Furthermore, there is some evidence that Coronavirus may cause more harm to people with a compromised immune system, so the flu vaccine is encouraged to protect a person’s immunity from being compromised due to contracting the flu.

Diocesan Government Wage Subsidy Application

The following message was sent to all parishes last week.

Dear ______________

The Diocese has now made an application through Work and Income for the government wage subsidy to support both clergy and lay roles within our Diocese.  The application has included almost all roles on Diocesan payroll (those not included have been informed as to the reason why) and any roles we were informed of that Parishes employ directly outside of our payroll.

When the funding is received into the Diocesan bank account it will be a lump sum through to 30 June 2020.  We will ring fence this funding and then draw down the relevant amount against each role each time we manage payroll (for the roles not in Diocesan payroll we will transfer the subsidy amount to the relevant Parish).

The subsidy is paid as one of two set amounts:

  • $585.80 for people working 20 hours or more per week (full-time rate)
  • $350.00 for people working less than 20 hours per week (part-time rate).

Please note that the subsidy is payable for roles impacted by Covid-19 where there is a real or projected drop in revenue of 30%+ We are presuming that every Parish will experience this and that each role will therefore need the subsidy to be applied. If you find that your Parish does not need the subsidy please advise the Diocesan Manager at so that we can retain that portion of the grant we receive and return it to Work and Income.

If you have other questions please let us know. 

Jill Schumacher, Executive Assistant, Diocese of Waikato and Taranaki, Phone (027) 490 6006

Bishop's Policy on Eucharist during Lockdown

“Do this in remembrance of me” is one of the most evocative invitations Jesus offered to his disciples.  He celebrated the first Eucharist with his friends gathered together. That supper simply could not have happened without his companions. Similarly, it has never been possible for an Anglican priest to celebrate the Eucharist on their own; at least one other person must be physically present.

Our Eucharistic theology is that a priest presides at the Eucharist but that the gathered community who are present give effect to the celebration. The Eucharist is something we do when we are actually physically gathered and it cannot be replicated in a virtual way. While our prayer book does affirm (p. 729) that people’s desire and prayer to receive communion are efficacious in a sense of ‘spiritual communion’, this is referring to individuals who cannot receive any elements at all.

So these are my guidelines to you during level four lockdown:

  • Clergy may preside at a Eucharist within their bubble if at least one other person is present;
  • While others may watch this online, they cannot participate by taking their own bread and wine at home as if these are sacramental elements (i.e. they can participate in a “spiritual” communion);
  • Clergy should think carefully about what they are conveying, i.e. they are able to share in something that others cannot (that was something the Reformation sought to address – the religious are in the chancel, but the people are in the nave separated from the sacrament);
  • Liturgies of the Word provide the best opportunity for people to join together virtually and feel that they are participating in the same way with worship.

A strong part of Anglican liturgical tradition is the Liturgy of the Word and there is much within the Prayer Book with which we can both lead worship and also provide material for private devotions. I encourage use of these liturgies which allow for the greatest sense of participation and unity. The Eucharist is both Word and Sacrament, and while we cannot share in the sacrament for a season, we can share in the Word in all its richness.

Technology is an extraordinary gift to us. The ongoing contact that we enjoy through phone and internet in these peculiar days is a blessing earlier generations could never appreciate. Nevertheless, the sacrament is an act of love in the present with the present. Therefore, in confidence, we look forward to the inevitable day when we can once again join in the sacred mystery as sisters and brothers, side-by-side.

Philip Richardson
Bishop, Diocese of Waikato and Taranaki
Archbishop and Primate
Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia


My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

We are all of us, right around the world adjusting to a situation which is rapidly changing.

We have the added pressure on all of us here in New Zealand preparing to manage life under Level 4 conditions.  I know that you will have concerns about people in the coming weeks and I encourage the use of technology to maintain contact. Nothing beats a telephone call though, so please work at those systems within your worshipping communities that gather people up with everyone having a person who is in touch with them in that more personal way.  

And please, please attend to your own household well before midnight on Wednesday. It is vital that we keep ourselves physically, spiritually and emotionally if we are to attend to the needs of others as we are able. So make sure you have what you need by way of essentials, and work on a plan for how you and your household will spend the time. Make sure you get outside for a walk each day – we are allowed to do that! Above all it is important for us as clergy and leaders to be regular and diligent in our prayers. Being open to God in whatever way you find most beneficial is critical to our wellbeing going forward.

Each Sunday evening at 7pm I will offer Night Prayer from my home – from my Household to your Household, and this will be available both through Zoom and through Facebook livestream. You will be sent information about how to access both directly. Access will also be available through our Diocesan website. Please encourage as many as possible to join me and Belinda.

We have been working on the matter of funerals under level 4 alert restrictions. A detailed advisory will come out from me tomorrow on this as the final directive from the Ministry of Health on how funerals are to be conducted under level 4 is expected tonight or first thing in the morning.

There is no doubt that ministry units will experience financial challenges in the coming months, so a letter from the Diocesan Manager and the chair of Finance and Audit will come to clergy, treasurers and wardens in the next 24 hours with some advice.

We are closing our offices and like everyone else the office team will be working from home. However we remain available to you by phone and email so please do make contact as you need. We will keep in good touch with you all as things progress. Please use my mobile 027 4505273 to phone or text, or send me an email on . All the office emails are being attended by the staff team who are set up at home as are TML staff.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God.”  (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

May God bless you all.

Kia Kaha

+ Philip

No Tangihanga and Funerals During Lockdown

E ōku hoa Pīhopa, tēnā koutou,

We hope that this email finds you all well.

Following a meeting with the Anglican National Pandemic Advisory Group and consultation with advisors we offer the following advice for Aotearoa New Zealand. We acknowledge this will be for you to implement appropriately within your local context, But what we offer we believe reflects the base line standard on the advice received.

No Tangihanga and Funerals during Lockdown

The Ministry of Health has today determined that there be:

No Public Funeral Services

No Tangihanga

No Private Family Funeral Services

permitted under alert level 4.

We had been working with the Funeral Directors Association to allow clergy to conduct funeral services, and they were very supportive of including clergy as being an essential pastoral care provision. 

The Ministry of Health decision rules this out. 

What this means now is that the Church and its clergy are not allowed to conduct tangihanga or public funeral services. 

Individual Funeral Directors may choose to allow a priest or celebrant to be present on their premises, under very strict guidelines. to offer prayers with the deceased. This would be entirely at the discretion of Funeral Directors, but given the Ministry of Health’s determination the option of a priest being present at the time of burial or cremation is now considered unlikely.

Some Local Authorities are imposing very strict conditions on who may be present at graveside or at Crematoria – for example “apart from Local Authority staff and contractors, only two Funeral Directors in full protective clothing are permitted at graveside or crematoria”.

We know that this will be distressing to our clergy and to whānau who lose loved ones during this time. 

We will need to find new ways to support grieving whānau and communities without breaching Govt protocols. This will include making liturgical resources available online, as well as praying for people over the phone and via social media.

Our prayers are with you all as you care for your clergy and people. We will continue to update you as developments unfold.

Kia tau te rangimārie ki a tātou,


++Don, ++Fereimi and ++Philip

Archbishop Philip Richardson

Bishop of Waikato and Taranaki

Archbishop and Primate

Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia

A message to all General Synod Members

To all GSTHW members,

The Archbishops have taken a number of decisions last night in light of yesterday’s further restriction on public gatherings in A/NZ to under 100, and of course the continuing  strict social distancing and hygiene precautions around any gathering.

This was added to by the closing of A/NZ international borders last night, including for the Pacific.

In summary:

  • A National Pandemic Advisory Group for our church in Aotearoa New Zealand has been established to liaise directly with the Ministry of Health and to provide consistent and consensus advice. They will also be monitoring legal and financial consequences. A parallel group is being established within the Diocese of Polynesia. These are to be the primary points of advice and public statement on behalf of this Church.
  • All provincial Church face-to-face meetings have been suspended effective immediately with as much business as possible to be transacted by Video Conferencing or other means.
  • This includes the planned Three Tikanga Bishops Meeting from 1 – 2 April.
  • General Synod Te Hīnota Whānui 2020 has been postponed until later in the year. We will advise proposed dates as soon as possible. A further advisory will come through about how the work of the provincial Church and some essential key decisions of the General Synod Te Hīnota Whānui might be achieved, namely how the Title D revisions can be handled.

The Archbishops and Bishops have agreed to the suspension of public worship after this Sunday 22nd:

Meantime, current guidance regarding the conducting of services, limited now to under 100 people, around personal and community hygiene and social distancing should be strictly followed until then.

The Archbishops have appointed the following to their Advisory Group above:

General Secretary as convenor.

Mr Maui Tangohau, Ven Dr Hirini Kaa, Ms Susan Wallace, Dean Anne Mills, Mr Andrew Metcalfe, Mr Bruce Gray QC, and Mr Grant Hope.

That group has already convened for the first time mid-morning today, Friday.

With the postponement of GSTHW, all current appointees to 3T bodies remain in office until GSTHW does convene, including GSSC which now continues until further notice.

Let us hold each other, our church, and our communities in our prayers, more particularly at this time.


Michael Hughes (Rev’d Canon)

General Secretary 

Press Release: March 20, 12pm

The Archbishops and Bishops of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand have together made the decision to suspended all public services of worship until further notice. This suspension will take effect following those services being held this coming Sunday 22 March. 

Those parishes that regularly have congregations of more than 100 are already making arrangements to ensure that Government guidelines and regulations are met. Assistance will be offered by each Hui Amorangi and Diocese to those parishes holding services this Sunday to ensure their people gather in smaller groups with appropriate social distancing. 

We wish to stress to our priests and leaders that all current Church and Government requirements about the conducting of services must be strictly observed. 

We have made this decision prayerfully and with a sense of abundant caution and care for our people. 

We know that the Church is more than just the buildings that we worship in. The Church is made up of believers who pray for others, care for others, serve others, love one another, and love their neighbours as Christ taught them.   

We ask our people to continue to pray and serve wherever they may be. We encourage them to care for their communities and ensure that the most vulnerable are regularly checked on and supported. 

Plans for online worship services are under way and will be widely publicised by each Diocese. Bishops commend to all Anglicans and all people of good will the call of the Archbishop of Canterbury to join in a world-wide action of prayer. 

At 7pm local time on Sunday 22nd and at 7 pm every Sunday that worship services are suspended please light a candle in your home and pray with and for others. Pray for your families, your neighbours, our country, and those ill with the virus. Pray for our health professionals and all those on the frontline who are working tirelessly to care for our community. Pray for the lonely and the frightened. Pray for the courage and grace to be a comfort and a light to the world. 

“I roto i te pōuri te mārama e whiti ana; heoi kihai i mau i te pōuri
The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.” 
John 1:5

Anglicans act to halt COVID-19

Anglican churches across Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia are being asked to modify their Sunday worship practices to protect the most vulnerable members of our society from the spread of the Coronavirus Covid19.

Last week the registrars of Pīhopatanga (Māori Anglican Bishoprics) and Anglican Dioceses around Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia met to coordinate this Church’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

On 13 March the bishops agreed to communicate the following precautions, taken directly from Health Ministry advice, to be implemented immediately across their regional groupings of churches:

:: Ask churches to require that any church members who are sick or have any flu symptoms will need to stay away from religious services

:: Advise all church members to frequently wash hands thoroughly with soap and to use good cough etiquette, especially around food

:: Request church members to use a non-tactile way of greeting one another at the passing of the peace in the Eucharist/Holy Communion service (this means maintaining a safe distance from others and not passing the peace with hand-shaking, hongi-sharing, cheek-kissing or hugging)

:: Remove the common cup from Eucharistic services and offer individual communion wafers or individual pre-cut portions of bread only

:: Ask Anglo-Catholic churches to remove holy water from stoops at doors (churches in the Anglo-Catholic tradition offer a bowl of holy water at church entrances where people may dip their fingers and press the holy water from their fingertips onto their forehead, chest and shoulders in a sign of the cross as a personal blessing)

In a statement on the churches’ reponse to Covid19 today, Bishop of Dunedin Rt Rev Dr Steven Benford – who was a medical specialist before becoming a priest – has affirmed the Health Ministry’s precautions need to be taken by all parishes, and reminded his flock to remain alert to developments as they work together to halt the spread of the virus.

“There may come a time when physically meeting together may not be possible.” he added to his advice, and called on Anglicans to look for other ways to support each other and help each other to grow in the life of faith without having to be together in person.

“Who in your faith community needs a daily phone call? He asked.

Who needs shopping done – possibly to be left at the front door?

And who would value your prayers and a chat?”

For those who may find themselves in isolation in the coming weeks, Bishop Steven also challenged them to look for how the social distancing restrictions may become an opportunity for personal spiritual intimacy with God.

The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia will continue to closely follow Health Ministry advice on how to best protect our church communities – and especially our most vulnerable community members – from the spread of this disease.

General Information on preventative action on Covid19 transmission for public event planners is here

The Ministry of Health’s Covid19 update page is here

The Diocese of Dunedin’s Covid19 Update page with specific information for Anglican churches is here