Welcome back to in-person church – new COVID-safe requirements
19 November 2021
In light of the announcements on 18 November, regarding the easing COVID-Safe restrictions from Thursday 18 November at 11:59pm.
We would like to remind our St Michael’s community that to attend St Michael’s, you will need to show that you are fully vaccinated or that you have a medical exemption.
The Chief Health Officer has advised that as of 12 November, only exemptions on an Australian Immunisation Register medical exemption form are to be accepted at venues.
Click the link below to find out how you can obtain evidence of vaccination status, either electronically or in print form. Please note that card you received from your doctor or the vaccination hub is not acceptable as proof of vaccination.”
The Church Council is developing welcome and check-in procedures to facilitate ease of entry into the church, but realistically it will take longer than usual. We will continue to observe COVID-safe protocols for distancing, masks when singing, QR codes and sanitising.
We want to assure people who are not yet able to attend in person, that care for your well-being is equally a priority for the Council. We are pleased to confirm that our minister, Rev Dr Mayman, will continue to offer an online Service as well as the Service at church, and support from the Contact and Care Network is available for all St Michael’s members and friends.
Complying with the government requirements and the guidelines of the Synod of Victoria and Tasmania is important. We also believe that this is the right decision to ensure the health and well-being of our congregation. As we continue to live with community transmission of COVID-19, we understand that this is how we love our neighbour, serve our community with compassion, and follow Jesus in prioritising the needs of the vulnerable. We ask for your prayers as we move forward in this significant step.
Sharing the Voices of our Community on St Michael’s Day
Read/Download “Lament, Healing and Hope” Booklet here
This St Michael’s Day, in celebration and recognition of the challenges we face, we present “Lament, Healing and Hope” a booklet which gives us voices from our community as we journey on together (even while we are apart).
Mindfulness Meditation Sessions
To help you during this time, St Michael’s has prepared two free Mindfulness Meditation Sessions with Karen Ellis.
Find them here
A Just Recovery – Post-COVID-19
The Uniting Church in Australia has outlined a set of principles and key actions that will guide the way to a better future as Australia recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.
To read or download the document in full click this link: UCA Vision Statement post-COVID-19
Resources for Mentally and Emotionally Challenging Times
As we slowly recover from our time in lockdown some people are doing well in themselves, others are struggling, and others still feel like they are on an emotional and mental roller coaster. It is hard to make decisions, be productive and connect with others when our nervous systems are anxious and struggling in regular times – it is especially hard during times of crisis. The following resources may provide some pastoral (not counselling) support for folk during this difficult time – for themselves, or as they recognise the signs in others.
- Great resources available online and through Apps that support mental and emotional well-being:
- Head to Health – Australian Government Department of Health COVID-19 support.
- MindSpot – Online assessment and treatment for anxiety and depression – recognised by the Australian Government.
- Beyond Blue – with extra support during COVID-19 – see the Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service; see also The Check-in App (while designed for young people, it has some great suggestions for anyone concerned for a friend or family member of any age), and resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
- Smiling Mind – including Thrive Inside which offers specific support as we spend extended times at home; and Digital Care Packs to support kids through COVID-19 and beyond. Also available as an App.
- Headspace Australia – with specific links for COVID-19 support.
- Black Dog Institute – general mental health resources, with some targeted support for COVID-19, including Working from home: a checklist to support your mental health.
- Bite Back – Black Dog Resources for Youth.
- Emerging Minds – including a toolkit for supporting children’s mental health during a pandemic (with skills applicable for all!)
- Headspace – also available as an App.
- Calm – also available as an App.
- Taking some time to be still and quiet to slow down and listen to nature can work wonders. The following are some ideas that can be practiced at home, in front-yards, in back-yards, in other places (given lifting of restrictions). Some benefit can apparently be gained even by watching nature videos with these practices in mind if you can’t go out.
- Dadirri – an Aboriginal practice of inner deep listening. The linked explanations come from the Northern Territory. Where you have connections with local Aboriginal people and you can connect with them in these times, take the opportunity to ask them about their practice of inner deep listening.
- Forest bathing or forest therapy – a spiritual practice that originated in Japan. See how it looks in Melbourne/Victoria.
- Home gardeners world-wide are finding their garden helps keep them more balanced generally, but especially during COVID-19 (I know being in mine helps me very much!)
- Ambiguous loss, disenfranchised grief and COVID-19. Many are feeling grief and loss that is unclear, full of uncertainty, not knowing what is coming next – at home, work, church, society, etc. For some, this is linked to anxiety because they do not know exactly why they are feeling loss, or whether it is ok to feel that way.Back in the 1970’s, Dr Pauline Boss developed the term, “ambiguous loss” in her work with people who had family members away at war. She then developed this work further with those who had a family member experiencing dementia. Dr Boss’ work on ambiguous loss has application to trauma and the time we now face due to COVID-19. Researchers in Australia are also studying what has been termed, “disenfranchised grief”.Professor Jane Fisher and Senior Research Fellow Maggie Kirkman from Monash University are seeking to understand COVID-19’s impact on Australian adults, including the effects of disenfranchised grief.Some useful resources around ambiguous loss and disenfranchised grief are:
- COVID-19 and its Ambiguous Losses: How to Cope with the Stress and Anxiety – a YouTube clip where Dr Boss speaks about COVID-19 and ambiguous loss (a great listen with some PPT slides).
- COVID-19 and Ambiguous Loss – a written explanation about ambiguous loss generally and how this relates to living in a pandemic.
- Grieving life and loss – from the American Psychological Association. This is more aimed at therapists but there are some important points in this too.
- Coronavirus: Recognising disenfranchised grief amid COVID-19 – from Monash University.
- Disenfranchised Grief – from The Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement.
More information on COVID-19
For the latest advice and information please go to health.gov.au
For health enquiries please utilise the Australian Government Department of Health Coronavirus Information Line 1800 020 080 or the healthdirect hotline 1800 022 222