Updated - as per a letter from Bishop Garry Weatherill to the people of our Diocese - on 27 May 2020

Limited opening of Sunday Services in the Diocese of Ballarat –
from Monday 1st June 2020.

As government restrictions are slowly being lifted, services can once again be offered in local churches, including Sundays, with up to 20 persons able to be present from 1 June 2020.

However, we are not heading back to how things used to be.

Your safety is our first priority.  A range of practical measures must be observed in order to minimise the chance of infection from this virus.

We need to be responsible for and to each other.

In the time before 1 June, you should work on a COVID-19 Safe Plan for your church/es. Our insurers have provided an excellent guide & template along with some very helpful posters that I recommend all parishes use.

COVID SAFE PLAN INSTRUCTIONS: https://app.box.com/s/wlqozoq4pceu18gygjjgahw6ixw8vbh1

COVID SAFE PLAN TEMPLATE: https://app.box.com/s/et62ln8b9k88b5m8yq2x68ec6ra6ehpu

COVID POSTERS: https://app.box.com/s/e534pxm40y3x40kp2s69pzuqcq5bq0yy

The Registry is sourcing a small supply of suitable cleaning/sanitizing products and can put together a “kit” for your church/es at cost. Contact Cheryl Pierce at the Registry if you want to take up this opportunity.

Registering to Attend
Those wishing to attend services must Register beforehand by “booking” with the parish priest by phone or email. If more than 20 people register to attend, the Priest will inform those whose bookings have failed. If you turn up hoping for a seat and there are already 20 people attending you will be asked to leave. YOU MAY NOT STAY. Details of all worshippers must be kept on standardised sheets.

ATTENDANCE REGISTER: https://app.box.com/s/ek0ff38udi3aibib91ah39roieodkf0z

The Four Square Metre Rule
If your Church is very small you must calculate its floor size in Sq. Meters. If the total is less than 80 sq. meters you will have to calculate the total number of worshippers you can admit by dividing the total sq. metres measurement by 4. e.g. if your total floor space is 60 sq. metres, you may only admit 15 worshippers.  This may mean that use of a side chapel is not possible at this time.

Attending Church 

  • Please apply hand sanitiser upon arrival at and departure from the church.
  • Please keep a minimum of 1.5 metres from others you are not immediately related to.
  • Please do not shake hands or touch before, during or after services.
  • Service booklets, hymn books, prayer books etc should not be used unless they can be disposed of as the worshipper leaves church, or they are privately owned and removed by the worshipper.
  • Please sit at the designated points marked on the pews.
  • The collection plate will not be passed but a bowl will be placed near the entrance for your offerings. Electronic giving via credit or debit card is encouraged.
  • Your seat will be wiped with disinfectant after you leave. This applies to everyone, so please do not be offended.
  • Holy Communion will only be offered in one kind to all communicants until further notice. Only the consecrated bread will be distributed.
  • Until further notice, there is to be no hymn singing at services, but music (live or recorded) may be played and a cantor may lead parts of the service.
  • Please understand that you will be asked to leave if 20 people are already present: those who have “booked” will have precedence.
  • All hospitality after services is suspended until further notice.

Private Prayer 

  • Churches may be opened for private prayer, but a supervisory person must be present in the Church at all times.
  • Please apply hand sanitiser upon arrival at and departure from the church.
  • Please keep a minimum of 1.5 metres from others from others if they are not immediately related to.
  • Please wipe down your seat after a time of private prayer and dispose of the wipes in clearly - designated bins.
  • This will be onerous and so it may be wise not to open for private prayer at this stage.

If You Are Feeling Unwell
Please do not come to the church if you are feeling unwell. Please contact your General Practitioner by telephone for advice on what to do and let your parish priest know if your symptoms persist.

Online Services and other means of communication
Online worship and live-streaming of services, letter drops, phone calls, and all the other good things we have been doing whilst our churches have been closed will no doubt continue for some time to come. Many people are still at risk, and many people will be hesitant to resume attendance immediately. I encourage you to continue to offer a broad range of ministries to all.

If you are a person “at risk” please try to stay at home. Likewise, if you feel you are just not ready, do not feel pressured into making an early appearance.

Parish Groups and Meetings
Groups and committees wishing to reconvene on church property must first consult with the Parish Priest or with the Registrar / Safe Church Officer, to ensure compliance with government and Diocesan guidelines.

Parish Offices and Op Shops

  • Parish Offices may be open from Monday 1 June. Those visiting the office are not permitted to congregate on the premises and social distancing and use of hand sanitiser must be observed.
  • Op Shops should still be closed, unless you have made special arrangements approved by the Bishop and The Registrar.

I look forward to the day when we can all gather together in safety and thanksgiving.

If you have any questions please contact Peter Jarvis, our Registrar or Fr Glen Wesley, our Safe Church Officer.

With all good wishes and blessings,

+ Garry Weatherill
Anglican Bishop of Ballarat

Enquiries to:

The Registrar
Peter Jarvis
Mon, Tue & Thurs at the Bishop’s Registry (5331 1183)
Wed at home (4343 1405)
Email - registrar@ballaratanglican.org.au

The Safe Church Officer
The Rev’d Glen Wesley
Mon-Wed at the Bishop’s Registry (5331 1183)
or 0429 146 566
Email - safechurch@ballaratanglican.org.au

In addition:

Weddings and Funeral changes as of 1 June:

  • 20 people in addition to the celebrant and couple being married can attend a wedding. If a wedding is held in a home, a maximum of 20 people is allowed, including the celebrant and the couple.
  • 50 people can attend a funeral in addition to the officiant and funeral staff, subject to the four square metre rule. If a funeral is held in a home, a maximum of 20 people can be present (including the officiant and funeral staff).

General Synod Advice re Streaming & Copyright

CCLI live streaming licence

Each church that intends to conduct live streaming must have its own individual CCLI Church Copyright live streaming licence. This licence allows you to stream or podcast your live-recorded worship service music on your church’s website or other streaming services. Group licences are currently not available. Further details see https://au.ccli.com/copyright-licences/.

APBA copyright

Copyright for the use of material from A Prayer Book for Australia should be acknowledged during live streaming and a graphic added to end of any published videos.

Use of music during live streaming services

Those who are using contemporary songs will need to purchase a licence via CCLI as noted above. Those who are using traditional hymns played live rather than recordings should not require permission if the music is in the public domain, which much of it is.

Choral music will need to be in the public domain otherwise a license will be required. Parishes should seek the advice of their person who usually coordinates music in their parish in this regard.

Use of video during live streaming services

Showing film scenes, videos or clips will require specific licencing to prevent against any breaches of copyright.


Privacy law should also be considered in the case of live streaming. Ensuring that you have the permission of those who may appear in your live stream will minimise the risk of a privacy breach.