Churches of Christ in Western Australia are an association of autonomous member churches that facilitate relationships and resources with Churches of Christ leadership, so that local churches grow and multiply.
We use the phrase “On Mission” to describe our movement because it captures why we exist. We are all witnesses for Christ, on a mission to reflect the love of Christ to all people.
Churches of Christ in WA (COCWA) is an organisation with a purpose to remove obstacles so churches and ministry partners can fulfill their purpose. We are a movement compelled and propelled by the mission of Jesus. We look to plant new works, extend community services, and strengthen our partnerships.
Our goal is to support, affirm and encourage the churches through our values of unity in diversity and the mission ministry that engaged all of God’s people.
COVID-19 ADVICE UPDATE
19 October 2020
We encourage Churches to maintain their COVID safety plan and ensure safe hygiene practices are in place. Now is not the time to become complacent. While we are fortunate in WA, Churches should remain vigilant.
UPDATE – PHASE 4 RESTRICTIONS
Key announcement for Phase 4 restrictions include:
On the advice of the Chief Health Officer, the WA Government will modify and extend Phase 4 of the COVID-19 roadmap but will now allow exemptions to the 2 square metre rule at selected venues that primarily hold seated events.
From Saturday, October 24 (or 11.59pm, Friday, October 23) selected venues that predominantly hold seated events are exempt from the 2 square metre rule.
These selected venues will be permitted to reach up to 60 per cent of their usual maximum capacity for seated and ticketed performances.
Specific venues include:
- concert halls
- comedy lounges
- performing arts centres.
These venues are deemed ‘low risk’ as they are seated and ticketed.
At this stage, Churches have not been included in the selected venues announced. We note that some of our larger churches are currently using a registration system for their Sunday services and are currently restricted in their capacity to have their whole congregation attend due to space requirements. We are currently seeking further clarification to determine the implication for Churches and will forward this information as soon as is made available.
In the meantime, please continue with your church’s current COVID19 Safety Plans and facility restrictions as per the 2sqm rule.
For more information see the New exemptions introduced to continue WA’s strong recovery media statement.
Further information is available at: COVID19 – Phase 4 Restrictions
PLACES OF WORSHIP – RE-OPENING
From 27 June 2020, places of worship are permitted to open with capacity limits of 2sqm per person limit, based on the size of your facility/room, excluding the people required to conduct the service. Note that if your church has the capacity based on sqm limits to hold more than 500 people, in this instance staff/service teams are to be included in the total person count in the church facility.
As you begin to re-open your Church and expand meetings, please ensure that you undertake the following:
- Limit the number of people on site to 1 person per 2 square metres (density requirement)
- Update your COVID19 Safety Plan to cover the new restrictions and requirements
- Update your COVID19 Safety Plan Certificate
- Observe, and encourage, social distancing (1.5 metres rule)
- Facilitate good hand and respiratory hygiene, including by offering hand sanitiser at entrance and exit
- Frequently clean and disinfect facilities
- Keep records of attendees, including names and contact details, to assist with contract tracing if required (read below for more on this)
- Update signage to support compliance with current restrictions and advice (including the use of floor markings to help remind attendees of social distancing requirements)
REGISTER OF PEOPLE ATTENDING SERVICES AND EVENTS
Places of worship are not required to keep a patron register as part of their COVID Safety Plan in Phase 4.
However, churches that kept patron registers previously are required to keep the information in the register until 28 days after the State of Emergency has been fully lifted.
MORNING TEA & COMMUNION
Churches are encouraged to maintain high level of hygiene practices when serving morning tea and communion. Some tips may include:
- wear gloves and face masks for food preparation
- promote hand washing/sanitising before morning tea
- eliminate finger foods
- control the serving of food/drinks- you may have a select number of people pouring drinks and serving food
- use of utensils for serving
- avoid home made meals
- do not hover around the food/drink table
- use pre filled communion sets
- space out the juice and bread on the trays
- have a select number of people handing out the elements, wearing gloves and masks
In WA there is a low risk of transfer of COVID19 via aerosolized droplets – however, it is important for people to maintain their social distancing (1.5m) and capacity limits for each facility (1 person per 2sqm). In WA we have no government requirements not to sing in Churches, so essentially it is OK to do so.
STAY UP TO DATE
Phase 5 easing of restrictions tentative date is 24 October.
COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving situation, and all Churches are reminded to stay on top of the latest information. Learn more by referring to trusted sources, such as:
- Australian Government
- Australian Department of Health
- WA Government – Coronavirus-Community-Advice
- Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s website