Latest church closures: Baptists, Qld Catholics, Qld Uniting

Brisbane’s Catholic priests to celebrate mass with no congregations in the building.

“The celebration of Mass on Sundays (including the Saturday vigil) is suspended with immediate effect and until further notice, and all the faithful are dispensed from the Sunday obligation,” Archbishop Mark Coleridge writes to his diocese.

Priests will continue to celebrate Mass (the Mass for the people) on Sundays without a congregation, with people able to follow Masses livestreamed from the Cathedral here on Sundays and weekdays.

Queensland Uniting (UCA) closes worship gatherings. “After consultation with presbytery leaders, face-to-face congregational worship services and meetings should cease effective immediately,” writes David Baker, Moderator (State leader) of the Uniting Church in Australia, Queensland Synod.

“This is in accordance with new limits of 100 people in an indoor gathering announced by the Prime Minster … and with further limitations signalled to be applied by the end of the week.

“You should comply with this advice and work on alternate means of connecting people for worship, prayer and discipleship gatherings.

“Leadership team meetings, church council meetings, small group and home group meetings in face-to-face format may continue at your discretion in the short term with stringent hygiene and social distancing practices, but Government and public health advice should be monitored regularly.

“We recommend you prepare for the cessation of such gatherings in a face-to-face format and move to different modes of connecting.”

Victorian and NSW/ACT Baptists say suspend large gatherings. “Given the pattern of COVID-19 in other countries ahead of us in terms of infection rates, the more we can do, as soon as possible, to reduce the occurrence of transfer in the community, the better.”

“Transfer happens most when people are in proximity to one another. Therefore, out of love for our communities, there is good reason to suspend large gatherings and non-essential activities now. “