PCV COVID-19 Response

11 April 2020
REV PHILIP COURT
Convener,
Health & Community Chaplaincy Committee

ASSISTANCE DURING THE CURRENT COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Here are some ways chaplaincy, counselling and pastoral support can be provided to those in our PCV congregations who need it.

  1. VOLUNTEER HOSPITAL CHAPLAINCY

Since mid-March, our HCCC-authorised volunteer hospital chaplains have been prevented from making their normal rounds of hospital visits to Presbyterian patients.  This does not prevent them from “doing what chaplains do” by phone or internet.

If you, a family member, or a member of your congregation is hospitalised and could benefit from some “virtual” chaplaincy, send the details to our Chaplaincy Support Worker, Ashley Manly.  He will seek to put one of our authorised volunteer hospital chaplains in touch with you.  Contact Ashley at chaplaincy@pcv.org.au

2. CHAPLAINCY SUPPORT FOR HEALTHCARE WORKERS

Frontline healthcare workers are under particular stress at this time.  Our NSW counterpart, Jericho Road, now has an open chat time with its Senior Chaplain, Rev Ian Schoonwater.  He has graciously extended availability to all healthcare workers who are part of any PCV congregation.  Ian has worked as a hospital chaplain and has some insight into how difficult this time is for our healthcare workers. 

Ian hosts a live chat on Tuesdays 9-9:30am and Thursdays 5-5:30pm where anyone can just drop in.  He leads a short devotion and there is opportunity to pray together, to share concerns and to generally support one another.  The chats are held via Zoom and the Meeting ID is 654 470 888.

3. COUNSELLING

Ministry families are also likely to be under extra stress at this time.  Our Ministry Family Assistance program provides up to four free counselling sessions per family in any financial year.  It applies to ministers, home missionaries and working licentiates, their wives and their children under 18.  All inquiries and referrals are done in strict confidence.

Although the HCCC budget only extends to counselling costs for ministry families, our Chaplaincy Support Worker can put anyone else associated with a PCV congregation in touch with one of our recognised Christian counsellors.

Contact Ashley Manly at chaplaincy@pcv.org.au

4. PASTORAL SUPPORT FOR MINISTRY WIVES

Our Pastoral Support Worker, Robyn Johnson, is, in effect, our chaplain to the wives of PCV ministers, home missionaries and working licentiates.
If you are a ministry wife, and you need pastoral support at this difficult time, feel free to contact Robyn on 0413 275 555 or robyn.johnson@pcv.org.au

6 April 2020
REV PHILIP COURT
Convener,
Health & Community Chaplaincy Committee

ADVICE TO MINISTERS, ELDERS AND OTHER PASTORAL CARERS
VISITING AGED CARE FACILITIES FOR END-OF-LIFE CARE

During the current COVID-19 pandemic, ministering to parishioners resident in aged care facilities who are approaching death presents a much higher degree of precaution than normal.

The following advice is offered to ministers, licentiates, home missionaries, elders and others with responsibility for the pastoral care of members of their congregations.

  1. When you are requested to attend, if you are unwell or immunosuppressed, do not attempt to visit.  Pass the request on to another.
     
  2. Contact the aged care facility before visiting to confirm that you are permitted to visit and under what conditions you can visit.  It is also advisable to check the latest advice on the facility’s website.
     
  3. Use the front entrance and report immediately to reception.  Be prepared to be questioned regarding recent overseas travel, other risk exposures and your current wellness.  Your temperature is likely to be taken, too.
     
  4. From 1 May 2020, the Department of Health has directed that everyone entering an aged care facility must have been immunised against influenza.  Show your Record of Immunisation at Reception upon your arrival.
     
  5. Hand sanitiser must be used, all personal protective equipment (PPE) offered for your use must be worn, and visitors books signed.
     
  6. Go only to the room you are directed to.
     
  7. All current Government social distancing rules must be observed throughout your visit.
     

8. Upon leaving, wash or sanitise your hands and remember to sign out.


updated 14 April 2020

1. General Office Operations

With effect from Thursday 19 March 2020 the office of the General Assembly of the PCV will be closed. Staff will be working from home on their regular working days.

The phone number for PCV 03 9650 9311 has been diverted to an office staff member.

Please email your enquiries to: office@pcv.org.au

Mail through Australia Post will be redirected which will lead to some delays. Email is preferable wherever possible.

We trust that these arrangements will not significantly inconvenience anyone and that we will be able to continue to serve the church community during this challenging time.

We appreciate your understanding and cooperation.

2. The Lord’s Day gathering

Following the Prime Minister’s declaration on 22 March 2020, churches in the state of Victoria are to close from midday, 23 March 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The following links are to both Commonwealth and Vic state government COVID-19 websites. The moderator encourages the use of them to keep up to date with the latest announcements. 

Federal: Prime Minister: https://www.pm.gov.au/media

Commonwealth department of health: https://www.health.gov.au/

Victorian Premier: https://www.premier.vic.gov.au/category/media-release/

Department of Health and Human Services (Victoria): https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/victorian-public-coronavirus-disease-covid-19

The moderator issued a statement on 24 March 2020 clarifying rules relating to meeting together here.

3. Advice for gathering and meeting online

This is not a comprehensive list but here is some advice for those who are planning to gather and meet online.

PIM Congregation Connect

Presbyterian Inland Mission is offering the use of the PIM Congregation Connect, an internet-based video conferencing program, free of charge to all PCA congregations during the COVID-19 situation.

PIM will be hosting a demonstration of Congregation Connect at 4pm AEDT on Wednesday 25 March. To participate click on the link https://pimcongregationconnect.org/b/and-jyu-zyj at about 3.45pm.

If any church is interested in using PIM Connect, please contact Dennis Rayson via the PIM website.

Live Streaming

Live streaming is quite involved and beyond the scope of this page. Please check out this guide, or your favourite search engine for more answers.

Sharing Pre-recorded Sermons

Some congregations are recording videos beforehand and sharing them via the internet. This can be done via the local church’s website, a facebook page or group, youtube, vimeo, email or a plethora of other ways.

Please be aware that your church must be compliant with CCLI to re-broadcast music online including songs from Rejoice.

Meeting Software

For a more interactive approach, more suited to Bible studies, meeting software like Zoom, Skype or Jitsi (free) may be more useful. Zoom and Skype have low cost plans for small groups, larger groups who want to meet for longer periods will need to sign up for a paid plan.

If you are having a Bible study online using meeting software please take note of these tips:

  • Online meetings need someone to lead, who is aware of who has spoken and who needs to speak
  • Look at the camera, not the screen, so that you make eye contact with the other participants
  • Establish a clear protocol of how to signal that you wish to say something, different software has different ways of doing this
  • Have Google chat or Facebook group chat open at the same time so that if there are technical difficulties you can still communicate with each other.

4. Commission of Assembly

The Commission of Assembly is now scheduled for Tuesday 16th June 2020.