It is our desire that no one should be excluded from faith-based gatherings, based on their choices around vaccination. In response to this, as a leadership we are contacting our Local Members of Parliament and communicating that churches should be classified as an ‘Essential Service’. We would encourage you to do the same.
Currently in the State of Victoria, vaccination requirements apply to everyone aged over 12 years and two months, unless you have a valid medical exemption from an authorised medical practitioner.
There are many tensions around this. Every Victorian is being impacted by these requirements and before we respond, we consider the following tensions.
- Everyone needs to feel welcome and be included at church
- We still need to maintain the discipline of being good citizens
- Individual conscience has consequence
- We have a moral and legal duty of care towards physical/mental well-being
- We need to act with integrity towards the community we want to share the gospel with
While we are actively pursuing a process to see church classified as an ‘essential service’, we do not intend to break this requirement before the decision is overturned. This allows people to engage in church currently in the following ways:
- In person indoor services for double vaccinated people (12+) with no density restrictions. (There will be a QR code for check in and we ask that you present your vaccination certificate on arrival. Masks are not required, but you are welcome to wear one)
- In person home gatherings, Small Groups, Prayer Breakfasts for people of unknown vaccination status (up to 50 people – as per current restrictions 23/11/21) with density restrictions of one person per 4 sqm.
- Online via YouTube and Facebook watch parties.
These options reflect the many tensions between the church community, the wider community we are trying to reach and our duty of care towards both groups. They do not reflect our faith position which is that God is sovereign, and our lives are safely in His hands.
We will make every effort to support those who are struggling with their mental health or faith crisis around this issue. We understand this may be difficult for some, and for others it may encourage them to attend mass gatherings again. We will communicate any changes as they arise.
Bright Church Board of Management, Eldership and Leadership Team