Last week, in announcing the next step of Victoria’s COVID-19 road map, the State Government eased some restrictions. However, little was changed in restrictions to public worship: in step two of the COVID-19 road map, Melbourne’s doors of faith remain closed.

People of faith are not asking for special treatment, simply parity across the sectors as the community seeks to return to a COVID normal. 'We weren’t expecting a great opening up of every sector,' writes Archbishop Peter A Comensoli, in the Herald Sun on 19 October.

'However, it was noticeable that additions to step two restrictions allowed for a return to pet groomers, swimming pools and locations 25km from your home, but no return to your place of worship in any meaningful sense.'

'Why would pool water shared by 30 swimmers at a time be considered safer than baptism water poured over one infant child?' the Archbishop writes.

'Why would sitting down without a mask and socialising informally with up to 40 strangers inside an eatery be considered less risky than the formalised, masked and appropriately spaced gathering of a faith community?'

Many communities of the faithful around Melbourne have been asking themselves the same questions. Here are some ways you can exercise your voice on behalf of God’s people in the public square.

As with any such ‘raising of the voice’, we do so prudently, never attacking individuals or using language of anger or aggression, but showing boldness and conviction about what is ultimately reasonable and fair.

  • Call your local State Member of Parliament
  • Encourage your people to call their local Member
  • Follow up a call with a letter to your local Member of Parliament
  • Use this letter template as a helpful guide for you and your parishioners.
  • Personalising letters or handwriting them is always encouraged

To find your local Member of Parliament, click here. When using the link to find your local Member, simply enter your postcode on the website and then click on the link for ‘Find Member’. There you will see the relevant email address to add to your letter.