Religious leaders do not need to be vaccinated to organize a service.
“We know that there are certain activities that are essential and necessary to access whether or not a person is vaccinated, and we have considered these in particular contexts, including real estate, hydrotherapy, religion and essential retail “said a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health. Sunday age.
Bishop Peter Comensoli, Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne – who says Catholics are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated – hosted the penultimate opening stage of Victoria from Friday.
But unlike NSW – where unvaccinated people will have the same freedoms by December 1 – Prime Minister Daniel Andrews has signaled to Victoria that they will be banned from most venues and events until 2023.
Archbishop Comensoli believes the Victorians also needed a marker when a unified rally could take place. He says he will continue to work with other religious leaders on proposals that allow vaccinated and unvaccinated people to pray in person safely.
“After long months of isolation, the persistent forms of segregation within the community are deeply damaging. We can’t let this become the only way for COVID-hosting, ”he says.
“As faith communities, we are here to support and comfort those in need, and to be open to everyone, no matter who a person is or why they come. “
Rabbi Gabi Kaltmann of the Ark Center, a modern Orthodox synagogue and community center in Hawthorn East, said most synagogues are unwilling to risk COVID transmission by allowing the unvaccinated to attend services or prayer groups.
But he fears that those who refuse to be vaccinated risk becoming more ostracized and disconnected from society if they cannot attend places of worship.
Rabbi Kaltmann found himself answering calls from worshipers who had watched videos saying that the vaccine should not be trusted because it had not been tested or that they feared the vaccines were coming from a fetus .
Dr Kylie Quinn, a vaccine researcher at RMIT University, says fetal cells are not present in COVID vaccines.
“When the AstraZeneca vaccine is made, it is grown using lab-made offspring of cells derived from a fetus that may have miscarried or aborted decades ago. The vaccine is then carefully purified, ”said Dr Quinn.
“However, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines do not use any cells in their manufacture – they are pure mRNA and lipids.”
Rabbi Kaltmann says he begged the faithful to get vaccinated, but although he was successful on several occasions, there were people who did not want to bow.
Those who were resistant tended to be older men, he said, who didn’t like the government telling them what to do.
“What I see is that the people who need a sense of community the most are the ones who don’t get vaccinated,” says Rabbi Kaltmann. “I see people falling through the cracks of society and becoming more and more isolated. I think once we hit 90% double vaccination, the government will need to reassess.
The President of the Islamic Council of Victoria, Adel Salman, expressed frustration last week that non-essential retail was opening up to the unvaccinated from Friday for a one-month transition period, while the number was capped for places or places of worship.
“It’s clear double standards here,” he said. Mosques had demonstrated very high levels of compliance with COVID protocols with no outbreaks reported in Victoria, Mr Salman said, and provided a safer and more controlled environment than overcrowded retail outlets.
Bishop Paul Barker of the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne is horrified by Mr Andrews’ suggestion that the unvaccinated will remain excluded from Victoria until at least 2023.
“We wish that in society – not just in churches – we do not create a division or subclass of the unvaccinated,” said Bishop Barker, noting that Professor Sharon Lewin, director of the Doherty Institute, had also expressed concerns.
Bishop Barker said he understood that Victorian-era health officials were reluctant to set a date when unvaccinated people could have the same freedom because they didn’t want them to just wait.
“But I personally think if we get to 90% double vaccination and a low number of cases, it should stop then.”
In the meantime, capping services for people with unknown immunization status was a reasonable temporary measure, he said, that balanced health concerns with welcoming places of worship for all.
“Most of our churches will probably offer services for the vaccinated and a separate service for a mixed congregation,” he said. “There are churches that have said that we don’t want anyone not to be vaccinated, they are not welcome, which we are very sad about actually, but we cannot control that even as bishops. . “
A survey of Holy Trinity Anglican churches in Doncaster and St John’s in Blackburn recently found that 98% of parishioners were already or would be vaccinated soon.
“But we believe that Jesus died and rose again for all, that all who believe in him can have the guarantee of eternal life,” says Senior Pastor Andrew Price, quoting John 3:16, one of the most popular verses. famous from the Bible.
“So we want to take care of everyone, including the few who, for their own reasons, have not yet been vaccinated. “
This meant arranging interim services only for the vaccinated and providing additional services open to all, which Reverend Price said the government had thankfully allowed.
“It will be more work, but we want to live our faith and practice the love that Jesus Christ has for all.”
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