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Covid-19 Response Plan

Support Information

Support Information

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At All Times

Practice kindness

This is a time of stress for all of us and some of us cope better than others.
Be kind with your words and actions.
Consider what other people are going through.


And be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving each other, just as God also in Christ forgave you.        Ephesians 4:32


Good Hygiene - Helping Others

The most important thing those of us who are not infected can do is to reduce the strain on the health system. We can do this two ways:

1.    Not getting sick with any other bugs:

  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with water and soap and dry them thoroughly, regularly throughout the day.

  • Try not to touch your face or rub your eyes

  • Use hand sanitiser if hand washing not available or on exiting or entering public spaces

    [Soap is useful for viruses with a fatty exterior like COVID-19,

    hand sanitiser is good for other bugs, but needs a very high alcohol content to kill COVID-19]

2.    Not transmitting any other bugs we may have:

  • Staying home at the first sign of illness in you or your dependents

  • Sneeze into your elbow

  • Use tissues for nose-blowing, only once, and dispose of in rubbish bin

  • Avoid the following: shaking hands, hongi, hugging, or otherwise touching the faces or hands of people you are not living with

  • Maintain physical distancing and wear facemasks if you have to go out. 


Food and Drink

Morning/afternoon tea and kava sessions etc.

Hand and serving hygiene are of the utmost importance.
Always aim to reduce the risk of cross contamination. 

Food hygiene is of utmost importance.


  • ensure hands have been thoroughly washed and dried before touching the glasses, cups, plates serving tools and other utensils

  • ensure hands have been thoroughly washed and dried while preparing the food and drink

  • or wear food-hygiene standard gloves

  • always keep your hands away from your face


  • handle the food as little as possible

  • offer the food in such a manner it is easy to pick up

  • ensure people don't need to use their bare hands

  • offer the cups, plates and utensils in such a way that recipients need only touch their own


  • where possible, use a dishwasher or steriliser to clean dishes

  • ensure hands have been thoroughly washed and dried before touching the clean dishes

  • clean and dry the cleaning/drying cloths often


Face masks

A face covering will need to be an actual mask and attached to the head by loops around the ears or head. This means scarves, bandannas, or t-shirts should not be used.


When to wear a face mask

  • In health care settings

  • In aged care settings

  • Ideally when visiting health vulnerable people

  • When you want to

Who should wear a face mask

Able breathing people who can remove the masks themselves.

Who should not wear a face mask

  • young children or people who need help to remove the masks

  • people who have trouble breathing

  • people providing service to lip readers

How to put on a face mask

  • Use clean hands

  • Use a clean, dry, undamaged mask

  • Hold the mask by the ties or ear loops

  • Place over your nose, mouth and chin 
       - Fit it comfortably and securely against the side of your face

       - Ensure you can still breath easily!

  • Clean your hands again!

How to remove a facemask

  • Use clean hands

  • Use the ties or ear loops to pull the mask away from your face.

      AVOID TOUCHING your eyes, nose and mouth

      AVOID TOUCHING the front of the mask

  • Clean re-usable masks in a washing machine with detergent at 60°C.

      ensure mask is fully dry

      use a dryer or dry it flat to maintain shape

      if possible, dry in direct sunlight

  • Responsibly dispose of single-use masks in:

      rubbish bin with closed lid

      sealed bag (and then dispose of the bag)

      AVOID re-using or disinfecting single-use masks.

  • Clean your hands again! 

When to change a face mask

  • if it gets damp or soiled

  • at least each day

  • if you cough, sneeze or dribble into it

  • wash before using again (resusable masks)

  • wear only once (single use masks)


Uniting Parishes

Care for Our People

All participating partner Churches care for the wellbeing of their people, and it is difficult for uniting parishes having multiple sets of advice. 

If you have questions or all the different advice is causing conflict, please contact Trudy Downes.

Please email Trudy with any other differences between our advice and our CV partner churches so we can help make information sifting easier for you.

The Methodist Church of New Zealand welcomes you to share your stories of this journey so we may all learn.


Contact Details

Connexional Office

The Board of Administration will continue to offer services during any lockdowns or restrictions.

You may contact staff by email or telephone 0800 266 639 and follow the auto prompts.

Connexional Office phone list



Business Interruption

There is no cover for Business Interruption for the Covid-19 as there is an infection disease exclusion under the policy. This exclusion is common and standard across property policies in New Zealand.

Extract from the policy for your reference:

This policy does not insure loss, damage, interruption or inference animal or human disease and/or any pest management plan under the Biosecurity Act 1993 or any subsequent amending legislation or replacement Act.

Travel Insurance

Medical / Repatriation

Provided that the insured person did not commence their journey against the New Zealand government's advice or against local government advice at their overseas destination medical cover as per the policy schedule will apply if you or your travelling companion contract or are suspected of contracting a pandemic disease such as Covid.

Loss of Deposits, Cancellation and Travel Disruption Expenses

Provided that the insured person did not commence their journey against the New Zealand government's advice or against local government advice at their overseas destination, cover under Section 6 (Loss of Deposits, Cancellation and Travel Disruption Expenses) is extended to the following circumstances which occur within the period of insurance:

a) the insured person or their travelling companion are diagnosed with an epidemic or a pandemic disease and as a result the insured person cannot commence or complete their journey;

b) the insured person is quarantined or ordered to isolate prior to, or, during their journey by order of any government or local authority based on their suspicion that they or their travelling companion have been exposed to an epidemic or pandemic disease;

c) the insured person is denied boarding on any scheduled public transport service based on the suspicion that they or their travelling companion have an epidemic or pandemic disease, and as a result of the denied boarding, they incur the costs of additional accommodation and meals.
The maximum amount we will pay for any claim under Section 6.6c) is $200 per day up to a maximum of $1,400.

There is no cover for claims arising from any lockdowns, changes in government alert levels, quarantine or mandatory isolation that applies generally or broadly to some or all of a population, vessel or Geographical area or that applies based on where the insured person is travelling to, from, or through.

Further travel information MFAT Safe Travel

Please contact Wendy Anderson if you have further insurance queries.


Office 365

Microsoft provides the Church with free access to its cloud based Office solution, Office 365. It is available to all Parishes and Synods but accounts need to be set up by the IT personnel at the Connexional Office.

With Office 365, members of the Church or employees of the Church are able to use the web based applications of Outlook, Work, Excel, PowerPoint, etc. to continue with their work. Multiple users can log onto Office 365 and share the same documents stored on OneDrive.

All you need is internet access, a computer and a login.

If this is of interest please contact any of:

Peter van Hout

Bruce Johnston

Sarah Andrews 


Enhance our Connexional Network

Current communication efforts are based on current government media releases, personal knowledge and best efforts.

Tell us your concerns, give us your queries. Let us build our Connexional network to target what matters to you.

Email Trudy or text: 027 457 4196

Church Services

Online Resources

Online worship resources are available from various sources.



Zoom - Connexional Account

A Connexional Zoom account is currently being negotiated. Please contact Peter van Hout if this would be useful for your parish or church entity.

Vice President 'Etuini Talakai also held a webinar to help people with some of the basics

Liturgical Services

Holy Communion

When we are in more restrictive circumstances, the mechanics of food service advice is generally:

  • serve food individually
  • only have one person touching a utensil rather than multiple people
  • maintain hygiene of hands and utensils

What will be a new Communion normal moving forward in times of threats of infections?

Guidance from Faith and Order

A Theological Statement

Celebrating Holy Communion or the Eucharist has been at the heart of worship for the overwhelming majority of Christian communities. However, Christians and members of other faiths hold the insight that our worship forms and rituals are core aspects of celebrating faith and honouring God. Yet, God is not honoured by practices that are unjust or diminishing.

A practice that risks the health or life of clergy and worshippers is an unethical one. Therefore we should take steps to ensure our experience of celebrating Holy Communion is safer for all of us.

Therefore we should ensure:

  • The person preparing the elements must thoroughly wash their hands and wear gloves.
  • Unnecessary handling is minimised. The bread and cup should be on the Communion table and veiled before the start of the service.
  • A sanitiser gel is offered to every person who comes to church as part of the ministry of welcome. On Communion Sundays, this reduces the risk to the celebrant and those who assist them.
  • Communion ware, cups, chalice, paten are cleaned and dried thoroughly by people wearing gloves.
  • The Sign of Peace is suspended or altered to avoid close or physical contact.

Before distribution, the celebrant and those assisting with distribution will wash their hands with soap and water and then keep their hands cleansed with a sanitiser gel.

Often we receive Communion in both spiritual and physical closeness. The gathering around to receive the elements is a moment of deep fellowship. However, we must continue safe practices  even in receiving Communion.

What that looks like will be contingent on the worship space, the numbers of communicants and their mobility. One option might be to adopt the Presbyterian practice of taking the elements around the church.


Pastoral Services


Supervision must be maintained. It is a significant opportunity we have to share caring pastoral ministry. We can only do this if we look after ourselves.

We are aware that some Presbyters have compromised immune systems. Please take special care of yourselves and as a team of leaders across the church, try and share the load.


Pastoral Visits

Phone first if possible

  • Confirm people are well, and assure them you are also
  • Be upfront about hygiene and keeping each other safe at this time 

Distance and hygiene

  • Wash your hands before and after if you are able
  • Carry sanitiser and use it before and after your visit
  • Keep your hands away from your face

Food and drink

  • Practice good hygiene and food handling habits
  • Truly consider if sharing food and drink is OK if someone is unwell.
  • Consider alternatives like using a cafe or waiting for a better opportunity

Play it safe

  • Only allow visits if you are sniffle and illness free
  • Be guided by Hospital and Rest Home rules – they are in charge and may still be locked down
  • Wear a face mask if you are unsure


Mental Wellness Support

Call 111 in an emergency or if you or someone else is at risk.

For many of us, the changes inflicted on us can feel overwhelming. Please reach out if you need to talk.

Everyone needs support at times, and we encourage you to reach out and ask for help when it's required. If you are struggling, you can talk to your Presbyter or one of the caring agencies listed below. Presbyters and Deacons, you are not immune to stress, and if you are Stationed, you can access EAP.

Your GP is a good start point. GPs are trained to assess, treat, and manage many mental health challenges. Most services are free and provide information and confidential advice from qualified professionals. A range of other services is available, spanning phone, online, and in-person support.

    Not All Right? - 1737 – free call or text any time, 24 hours a day

    Healthline - 0800 611 116

    Lifeline - 0800 543 354 or free text 4357 (HELP)

    Samaritans - 0800 726 666

    Alcohol Drug Helpline - 0800 787 797

    Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)

    Mental Health Foundation 

    The Fono (Auckland based) 
    Vaka Tautua 

    Youthline: 0800 376 633 (24/7) or free text 234 (8am-12am)

    What's Up: Online chat (1pm-10pm) or 0800 WHATSUP / 0800 9428 787
                      Helpline (12pm-11pm weekdays, 3pm-11pm weekends)
                      Kidsline (ages 5-18): 0800 543 754 (4pm-9pm weekdays)

    Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155 

Ola Lelei helpline

0800 OLA LELEI (0800 652 535) Auckland region freephone service

Talk to a trained Pacific mental health or social worker about any worries, issues or concerns they may have due to COVID-19 (coronavirus). If they aren't able deliver a specific service, then they are able to refer the callers, with caller consent, to one of their many partner organisations. This is the first known service of its kind for Pacific peoples in New Zealand. It is supported by funding from the Ministries of Health and Social Development.

Mentemia app

Mentemia from John Kirwan is an app that coaches mental wellbeing and is free to all New Zealanders. It's packed with evidence-based ideas and tools to help you learn how to be well, and stay well. It includes the most common stressors experienced today - poor sleep, anxiety and stress.

Xero's employee assistance programme

Free, confidential counselling sessions to Xero subscribers and their staff. (Peter van Hout, Sarah Andrews and Bruce Johnston have confirmed availability on the plan MCNZ has with Xero).

Employment Advocacy Programme 

Available to Presbyters and Deacons in appointments, and their families



Sharing the Load

It is possible that some of our parishes or families may be significantly affected. Please advise your Synod Superintendent or the General Secretary if this is the case.


Op Shops

Hygiene and sanitisation

  • Encourage customers to touch with their eyes before they use their hands

Ideas for incoming items

  • Use clean gloves while handling incoming goods
  • Sanitise hard goods prior to sorting and displaying

Play it Safe

  • Only open if you have willing and able bodied people
  • Maintain enough people for standard security protocol



In our buildings

Work safely

  • Use alternative ways of working if needed. Such as if customers are not on site, keep staff working from home.
  • If workers are sick with symptoms of Covid-19, tell them to stay home.
  • Talk with your team to identify risks and ways to manage them.
  • Ask everyone, workers, contractors and customers, with cold or flu-like symptoms to stay away
  • Reduce the number of shared surfaces, and regularly disinfect them.
  • Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Wash your hands.


Sharing buildings with others


Facilities – cleaning and hygiene

Please ensure facilities and building cleaning occurs between groups and that hygiene facilities are available for everyone to use.

Play it Safe!

  • Stay at home if you are unwell
  • Wear a mask if you are at high risk of severe illness