COVID -19 FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions
Where Can I Find Information About COVID-19?
For accurate up to date information about COVID-19 and Alert Level requirements, please consult the Ministry of Health website by clicking on the image on the right. We encourage everyone to refer to this website regularly. It is very comprehensive, updated regularly and can answer many of the questions you might have.
What is the difference between Social Isolation and Physical Isolation?
Physical isolation is where people cannot meet together in person. like attending a Sunday Church service or homegroup meeting. The Government has stopped people from meeting together like this in order to stop the spread of the Covid 19 virus. Social isolation is where people cannot meet together and cannot talk with each other. Most of us really need social contact and so it is important to provide various ways that people can continue to “meet” socially but without meeting together physically. More information can be found on the Ministry of Health website.
What are the most important things local churches can do for their members and congregation?
Encourage your members and congregation to comply with all the Government’s requirements including:
Practice good hygiene including:
covering coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues
washing hands for at least 20 seconds with water and soap and drying them thoroughly:
before eating or handling food
after using the toilet
after coughing, sneezing, blowing your nose or wiping children’s noses
after caring for sick people.
Get some exercise and fresh air.
It is OK to go for a walk or run or take the kids to the local park, BUT, please make sure you keep more than 2m distance from other members of the public you see, other than those from your own home.
Make arrangements for some sort of Church Service or worship
opportunity for members that does not involve them meeting
We suggest this is best done on-line. This can be done by using YouTube or other readily available applications. Mobile phone video is usually good enough quality. There are many options available and many churches have already started running church services this way. Please ask if you need some assistance or advice. Additional guidance will be circulated shortly on Wesleyan-specific on-line worship resources that you might like to utilise to supplement other initiatives you may be offering.
People need ongoing social contact.
Because this is impossible to do face-to-face, it is important to ensure that all members are contacted by others from your church by phone to check how they are. This contact should check whether people have any worries or needs and let them know they are not alone. A good idea is to set up a phoning roster so that no-one is missed. If anyone discovers that someone is having a difficult time it is possible that they might be assisted by having the opportunity to talk with a Trained Pastoral Care person. The National Church has arranged several people who can offer professional assistance. Please contact Peter Benzie in the first instance to discuss how to proceed.
Read all the communications that are sent from the National Church and put any requests and recommendations into effect.
What if we discover that one of our Church members who is classified as being “at-risk” needs some supplies and cannot get out to buy them themselves?
It would be great if someone from the congregation could get the required supplies or food and deliver them to the house, leaving them in a suitable place outside and then phoning the person so they can get the goods and take them inside.
Please remember that you must be careful not to come closer than 2m from this other person. Also, please make sure that you have practised good hygiene as indicated above before handling the goods and all up-to-date guidelines from the Ministry of Health.
If someone is in need of food, we would encourage the provision of ingredients but not the provision of cooked or prepared meals because of hygiene reasons.
How can we replace Home Groups, Prayer Groups or other small groups?
People cannot meet "face-to-face" but it is important to try to arrange a way that small groups can continue to “meet”.
With the physical isolation being required by the Government, there is still a strong need for social contact to continue including the functions of Small Groups and Prayer Groups.
One way this can be done is to meet using Social Media or other computer applications that allow groups to meet on-line. This can be done using Zoom, Skype, GoTo meeting or Messenger Meetings. It is best if each person has access to a computer that includes a camera and microphone, but people can still join on-line meetings like this by using their mobile phones. Youth are often very familiar with this type of technology and may be able to assist to set it up. However, if you would like some assistance please contact Peter Benzie, will put you in contact with a Technical Resource person.
If you are able to set up your small groups to operate in this way, one suggestion is that you arrange for them to meet immediately after the weekly on-line service has ended on Sunday. This would be like the social time that usually follows weekly services. People could enjoy a cup of tea or coffee in their own house while they have an on-line chat and perhaps discuss the message that has just been delivered within their small group.
How do churches ask questions?
If you have questions about your local church's response and obligations, please contact:
What about the Church finances?
Good Stewardship of Church finances is very important during this time.
Some people will lose their jobs while almost everyone will probably lose income from their investments or the value of their savings will reduce. It is likely that a number of Church members may need to reduce their regular tithes and giving to the Church.
This means that each church will need to avoid expenditure that can be delayed and minimise costs as much as they are able. It will also be important to keep a close eye on the finances of your church to make sure that there is enough cash to pay the bills.
If your church is experiencing difficulty with finances, please contact:
I have left some equipment or paperwork at Church. Can I go into the Church building to pick up what I need under the Level 4 requirements?
Under the Level 4 requirements, all businesses, except for Essential Businesses, must be closed by 11.59 pm on Wednesday 25th March. After that time, the Level 4 requirements prohibit accessing the building.
I would like to go to the Church Office on my own to do my work there. Is this OK?
In a word, No. The Government has strongly requested that businesses close and that we all go home and stay home except to go to the Supermarket or go for a walk. It is the Government’s hope that many will be able to continue their work from home but they do not offer the option of a single person going back to the Office to work.
Our Church will not be meeting during the lock-down period.
Do we still need to pay our minister?
Should we require our minister to take Annual Leave during this time?
If at all possible, you should continue to pay your Pastor. He/she will be needed more than ever over this time as he/she pastors you as a people through this and so, no, please also do not require your minister to take Annual Leave through this period. This is a strong recommendation from the National Church. In the end, the Servant Leaders must make the final decision.
However, if you believe you have a serious financial problem because of reduced giving and that you cannot afford to pay the minister, please contact Peter Benzie to discuss options before making a final decision.
The Government is offering some financial support to allow staff (including Ministers) to continue to be employed and receive an adequate income to survive the Lock-down and Peter will be able to assist you to make the required application for this funding.
What if there is a need to arrange a funeral?
Funeral Directors continue to operate as an “essential service” however, people gathering together for any purpose related to the bereavement is not permitted. It is not permitted for a Minister to visit the family of the deceased to offer pastoral care.
Funeral Directors are able to advise what options are available including holding an on-line service, deferring the Funeral/Tangi/Reguregu/Ala/Putu until the Level 4 emergency is lifted or holding a memorial service later.
We will continue to update this page as further questions arise. The information provided is not intended to replace the guidance from the New Zealand Government and Ministry of Health. Rather this information intends to clarify questions that have been raised around the official guidance.