ANZUUA Statement on war in Ukraine

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The congregations of Unitarian and Unitarian Universalist churches and Fellowships throughout Australia and New Zealand are deeply concerned at the growing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and call for an immediate ceasefire between Russian and Ukrainian forces, immediate cessation of the 8 year civil war in Eastern Ukraine, and withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine.

We call on the United Nations to urgently broker a negotiated settlement guaranteeing the full withdrawal of Russian forces and resolution of the security concerns claimed by both parties to the conflict. Only a genuinely negotiated resolution that addresses the security fears of both can protect the world from the current danger of escalation into a wider and possibly nuclear catastrophe for life on our planet.

We urge our governments to provide substantial and continuing humanitarian aid to respond to the catastrophic impact on the lives of all people in Ukrainian and to support neighbouring countries who are accepting those who are fleeing the conflict.

We call on our governments to offer transportation to our countries and safe haven and refuge for those fleeing this war. We also call for all persons in Australia and New Zealand on temporary visas and who cannot safely return to Ukraine to have their visas extended until a genuine settlement is achieved.

We commend the words of the Unitarian Universalist Services Committee, ‘All powerful states must be held accountable to the principles of human rights.’ ‘We join our prayers to those of people around the globe, who cry out in this moment—we demand peace; we demand an end to the bloodshed; we demand respect for human rights!’.

Authorised by Rev Clay Nelson, President of the Australian and New Zealand Unitarian Universalist Association (ANZUUA), Auckland Unitarian Church.

Press Enquiries: Revd Dr Ralph Catts

Message from our Minister

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While it is disappointing, it is not surprising we are back in a Level 4 lockdown.  We’ve had a good run, but the Delta variant is the trickiest and most dangerous to date, so it was only a matter of time.  A year and a half ago, we were still learning how to defeat the virus.  We’ve learned a lot since then and, fingers crossed, we will be even be more successful this time if we all do our part.
Auckland Unitarians will do ours.  The building is closed for In-person and live-streaming worship until we return to Level 1.  Committees, men’s group, circle groups, and renters may return at Level 2 if they can meet Ministry of Health NZ guidelines.
Not all the news is bad.  We will be open online. We will continue our Sunday worship by Zoom at 11.00am. Some committees and groups can still meet by Zoom. Daily support for anyone who needs to just chat with someone outside their bubble is offered on Zoom at 11.00am, Monday through Saturday. Pastoral support from me is always available. If you do not have my contact details, you can email me from the website, which also has further details on how to gather by Zoom.
Covid does not stop our being a beloved community.  Be kind. Check in on our single members and seniors.  If you need assistance please let Clay or one of our other members know.
Stay safe by following government guidelines to the letter. If you can’t stay home, wear a mask.  Book your vaccine.  Give thanks for all those essential workers who have to risk their lives to care for us.
I look forward to seeing you Sunday on Zoom,

Building use under Level 2

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We have now entered the most dangerous stage of the pandemic. We think we are safe. We dodged the bullet. Life can go back to normal. Even the government says so as we move into Level 2. No need to stockpile enough loo paper to get us through 2025. Raising the number who can gather to 100 has only strengthened this illusion.

But read the fine print. We still need to maintain physical distance. Wash our hands. Keep a diary of where we have been for contact tracing purposes. It is recommended we wear a mask when using public transportation or in any public situation where maintaining physical distance is challenging. Businesses, including churches, have to log via the contact tracing app or on paper forms those who have accessed their facility. Provide hand sanitiser. Businesses need to do deep cleaning whenever facility is used.

I am beginning to get inquiries about when we will open the church again for worshipping in person. Small church groups and renters are asking if they can now meet in the church.

I’m afraid at this time the answer is no, for we do not have the capacity or resources to comply fully with the fine print.

Worship services in the church would be greatly reduced in numbers due to physical distance requirements. We might have to ask you to book that you will be attending the service in advance. Unlike a restaurant or other businesses, we do not have a staff to monitor building use or assure compliance with present requirements.

Due to a significant loss of income the Management Committee has approved a bare bones budget for this year. The cost of cleaning the church after each building use is greater than the income generated through rent. We have a duty of care to maintain a building that is appropriately clean. Even if this was not a government expectation, it is an ethical and moral one. Expecting those using the building will meet these requirements in a consistent manner is unrealistic.

When the government issues notice of going to Level 1 and what will be required, this decision will be reviewed in terms of our ability to comply.


Suspension of services

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I am faced with a difficult decision. The government has mandated today that indoor events of more than 100 be cancelled, including weddings, funerals and religious services. Except for Christmas Eve we never exceed that number. But one hundred is not a magic number. I am interpreting this mandate to mean if gatherings are not essential, it would be best to err on the side of caution and cancel them. While I think the precautions we instituted last Sunday were responsible, I would not want one member to become ill because we continued meeting. I would not like to think that because we met we were responsible for introducing the virus into the wider community.

I know some of you will be disappointed or even disagree about the risk, but I am suspending in-person worship beginning this Sunday. We are in the process of planning for online services, which we hope to have up and running very soon. In the meantime, wash your hands, self-isolate if possible, wash your hands, maintain social distance and wash your hands.

Be safe,

Covid-19 Update

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Dear members and friends of the Auckland Unitarian Church,

Yesterday (15th March 2020) our Management Committee met to consider how to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. There is much more we don’t know than we do know about how the pandemic will play out in New Zealand. Thanks to what I consider strong leadership from the government to contain the virus, we have had only eight reports of infected individuals as of this morning. There is no indication of a community outbreak at this time. However, that does not mean things could not change rapidly as they have in other countries. Therefore, we should be vigilant and take every precaution not to spread the contagion and to protect our most vulnerable members. Part of that means being aware of government advice and applying it to our situation where appropriate.

Continue reading Covid-19 Update