To the Diocese of Waiapu,
E te whanau a te Karaiti o Waiapu,
As we all face into a new lockdown, I wanted to extend my support and thanksgiving to you all for the efforts you are making to accommodate our life as a church during a challenging time.
In the short term we have been advised by Government that the lockdown will last until Friday midnight however I think that it is entirely reasonable to expect that the Level 4 lockdown will last longer than that initial timeframe.
As such I think it is important that we plan to not hold any services in any churches in Waiapu this Sunday. The Pakeha Bishops met this morning as we regularly do each week, and it was agreed across all Dioceses that we would not be proceeding with services in person for this weekend. It is sensible preparation given the circumstances of the spread in Auckland.
Your local parish Vicars and ministry leadership teams will be contacting you to offer opportunities for online worship in the manner that we did in lockdowns last year. Those online services were a special part of our expression of God’s mission through the Church and I know that they take extra effort to prepare and engage with, and I appreciate all the effort that goes into making them possible.
The Parish of Taradale and the Archdeaconry of Hawke’s Bay Cities is making available a link for a service on Sunday if you would like to follow and participate in that service:
We are reminded of the importance of being kind to one another and respecting the lockdown by staying at home, wearing a mask and maintaining distance when we leave home for essential services.
I encourage you to reach out by phone or text throughout your parishes to those who are isolated and alone to check in on them and see what support can be offered within the constraints of lockdown. Let us also maintain an attitude of prayer for one another and in particular those in our community with the virus.
Lastly, I encourage you all to take up the opportunity to be vaccinated against COVID-19. It is safe and effective and long-term will be the key to us combating outbreaks like this as a nation.
May God be with you in peace and grace,
The Right Reverend Andrew Hedge
Bishop of Waiapu