Who we are
We are the Liberal Catholic Parish of St Thomas, an association registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ABN 15 344 610 096). We are the only Liberal Catholic Parish in Canberra. We conduct religious services and provide pastoral support, mainly in the Canberra region of Australia. We maintain this website to allow people to learn about the distinctive teachings of the Liberal Catholic Church and to allow our members to discuss religious topics & Vestry matters on our private members’ forums.
More information about our Parish and the Liberal Catholic Church can be found on the About Us page and other sections of this website.
Our Commitment to Privacy
In order to pursue our mission and provide the services that we provide on this website, we may need to collect your personal information. We are committed to treating all personal information we collect in accordance with the Australian Privacy Principles in the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act). Personal information is defined by the Privacy Act as any information about an individual whose identity is apparent or can reasonably be ascertained.
From the outset, we wish to emphasise that we do not collect, store, use or disclose your personal information for any purpose involving gain or profit. Not only are we a registered not-for-profit organisation, but profiting in this manner would be contrary to the principles upon which the Liberal Catholic Church operates.
The Purpose of Collection and Use
We only collect your personal information for purposes necessary to provide the services that we provide by way of this website, or any other services (including pastoral care services) that you may request from our Parish.
More specifically, the purposes of collection include the following:
- The provision, improvement and enhancement of this website’s functionality, including public-facing functionality and the functionality provided only to registered members who participate in our private online forum.
- The protection of this website (and any data associated with our Parish and its members) from spam, malicious attacks and cyber threats.
- Analytics conducted for the purposes of improving our online services.
- The facilitation of the public’s participation in religious services conducted by our Parish and our members’ participation in activities conducted for the benefit of the St Thomas community and the broader public.
- The provision of pastoral care to those who desire it.
- The administration & preservation of the Holy Sacraments, namely the Holy Eucharist, Baptism, Confirmation, Extreme Unction (Last Rites) and other forms of Spiritual Healing, Confession and Absolution, Holy Matrimony and Holy Orders in accordance with the rites of the Liberal Catholic Church.
- Other purposes that are necessary or incidental to the purposes listed above.
Types of Information We May Collect
The personal information we collect will vary depending on the services that we provide to you. In the digital age, it is inevitable that you will share some personal information simply by browsing the web. We strive to ensure that beyond information needed to provide and maintain this website, you have a choice about whether you provide anything other than anonymised identifiers that we use for analytics and security purposes.
Below are descriptions of the types of information we may collect through various activities.
Information collected automatically
By visiting this website, we may collect limited personal information about you for the purposes of conducting analytics and protecting the website from cyber threats. This includes information such as your IP address, browser user agent and anonymised IDs generated for session and traffic tracking. Unless you have a registered account with our website, this information will be anonymised – that is, it will not be attached to your name, contact details or other information.
We use Google Analytics to track website traffic and visits – we only use this analytics data for the purposes listed above. Google Analytics collects information about your browsing habits that Google uses for purposes such as ad personalisation on other sites (we do not display advertising on our website). This means that when you visit our website, information such as the URL you visited and your IP address will be sent to Google Analytics, which may be associated with your Google advertising identifier if you have not opted out of Google’s personalised advertising. Google may also set an analytics cookie on your device. It is possible to opt-out of Google tracking and personalised advertising, though this is administered by Google. More information about Google’s privacy policies, how their technologies work and how you can opt out of Google Analytics can be found on their policies website here.
If you visit our login page, we will set a temporary cookie to determine if your browser accepts cookies. This cookie contains no personal data and is discarded when you close your browser.
We may embed content from third parties including YouTube, Google, Facebook and others from time to time. Where content is embedded from a third party source, this will generally be apparent as the third party’s logo and branding will appear with the content. For details relating to how such embedded content collects data about you, you will need to refer to the third party providers’ respective privacy policies.
Information collected by us for technical, analytics and security purposes will not be shared or disclosed by us with anyone (although the service providers such as Google and Microsoft who help us collect this information will have it), subject to the exceptions defined in the Privacy Act (such as where the law compels us to disclose the information).
Information provided voluntarily by you
If you would like to join our forum community, you may complete our contact form or email us to request an account. Likewise, you may choose to contact us with enquiries about our Church, our services or other matters. The information you choose to provide in this manner is entirely up to you. In the event that you are granted access to our members’ area and forums, you may provide more personal information by creating a profile and participating in the forums.
In the event that you take part in our members’ forum, we will collect additional information about you in order to manage your account and administer our online community. This includes:
- Your name (which may be a pseudonym);
- Your email address;
- Your contact number;
- The content of any profile information that you provide (e.g. biographical information), posts, replies or comments that you create on the forums;
- The content of any media you post in the forums, which may in some cases include embedded location data (EXIF GPS data) if it exists in the media that you post; and
- Hashes and identifiers used by any external services that you use (for example, the anonymised hash created from your email address created by the Gravatar service if you use it and hashes and identifiers in any embedded content that you post).
Please note that if you sign up for a members’ account, then the data collected automatically about your use of this website (such as your IP address and browser user agent) will be linked with your registered account and will no longer be anonymised. We link this information for the purposes of protecting ourselves and our website from spam & cyber threats and to enforce our Terms of Service. It is not sold or shared with third parties and we do not use Google Ads, Facebook Ads or other services to derive any revenue from your personal information (although your visits to our site may influence Google Ads you see on other websites if you have not opted out of Google’s ad personalisation service).
In the event that our Parish provides you with Sacraments such as Baptism, Confirmation or Holy Matrimony, we may be required to request more personal information from you, depending on any ecclesiastical and (especially in the case of Holy Matrimony) legal requirements. In particular, we may collect details of your residential address and details of other Sacraments that were administered to you in the past, whether by our Church or a different one. Such information need not be related to or associated with your use of our online services and will not be stored on our website; rather, the collection, storage and use of such information is governed by the Liberal Catholic Church’s Code of Canons, laws relating to marriage services and other laws, rules and policies. If you would like more information about what information we may need to collect if you wish to partake in any of the Sacraments, we encourage you to contact us.
Use and Disclosure
We will only use any personal information that you provide for the purpose(s) for which it is collected. As emphasised above, we will not on-sell your information and will only share or distribute it with service providers to the extent necessary to comply with the law, to provide and improve our services and for the purposes listed above.
However, please note that personal information that you provide through your participation in our members’ forum will be available to other members who have access to the forum. By participating in the members’ forum, you consent to the disclosure of any personal information you make available via the forum to other members. You also acknowledge and agree that we and our moderators may use your personal information for the purposes of administering the forums and enforcing compliance with our Terms of Service as well as any applicable laws. Moderators and administrators will have a higher level of access to your personal information than other members. Whilst other members will only be able to see your members’ profile, moderators and administrators will have access to your sign-in history, information you have marked as non-public, your IP address, sign-in location and analytics data relating to you. Subject to the exemptions in the Privacy Act, our moderators and administrators will only use this information for the purposes of administering, moderating, securing, improving and monitoring our website (and if necessary providing you with technical support).
In certain situations, the Privacy Act allows or requires us to disclose your personal information without your consent. This includes situations where disclosure is compelled by law (e.g. court order or subpoena) and other “permitted situations” defined in the Privacy Act, such as where we believe disclosure is necessary to prevent an imminent threat to someone’s life.
How long we retain your data
Cookies and data collected for analytics will be retained only for as long as it is required, which varies depending on the purpose of the collection and the service through which the data is collected. As a general rule, you can assume that analytics and logging data might be retained for up to 90 days after it is generated, though please refer to Google’s policies (see above) for information about Google Analytics, which is subject to change by Google.
If you become a registered member, we may store the personal information you provide in your user profile for as long as you remain a member and for 90 days thereafter, or for any longer period for which we are required to hold any information due to legal requirements. You will be able to see, edit, or delete your personal information at any time (except that you cannot change your username and primary email address yourself – please contact us if you want to do this). Website administrators and moderators can also see and edit your information. Administrators and moderators will be able to see not only the information that you post (say on your profile or on the forums), but also information such as your IP address, approximate usage location and date(s) and times of logins (as explained above).
If you post material on the forums, we reserve the right to keep that material indefinitely and you grant us a royalty-free, irrevocable worldwide and perpetual licence over any intellectual property you own in that material, as per our Terms of Service. However, we will not sell such material for profit or distribute it further without your express consent.
What rights you have over your data
If you have an account on our site, or have participated in the members’ forums, you can request to receive an exported file of the personal data we hold about you, including any data you have provided to us. You can also request that we erase any personal data we hold about you. This does not include any data we are obliged to keep for administrative, legal, or security purposes, which we are not permitted to erase.
If you want to receive an export of your personal data, please contact us using our contact form or by emailing us at email@example.com. Please note that since our church and our online services are operated by volunteers, we will use our best endeavours to respond to such requests as soon as possible, but might not be able to do so immediately. However, we will comply with any Privacy Act requirements that might apply. As per the Privacy Act, you may also have the right to request the correction of any personal information that we hold about you that you believe to be incorrect – the process for the correction of information is governed by the Australian Privacy Principles.
Where we send and store your data
Any personal information that we collect (or that you provide) through this website and its associated functionality will be stored in Microsoft’s Azure datacentres, all of which are located within Australia. However, user account, contact and profile information used for the purposes of registering an account and participating in our members’ features may be replicated to other geographical regions automatically by Microsoft’s Azure Active Directory replication system. Details of Microsoft’s policies with regards to this can be found on Microsoft’s Trust Centre here. The regions to which Microsoft replicates directory information currently include the United States, the European Union, Singapore, Japan and India, but are subject to change from time to time.
Your data may also be processed in other geographical regions by third party services from whom we (or other members) embed content, such as YouTube and Facebook. The regions involved and the data so processed is governed by the policies and practices of these third party service providers and is outside our control. Finally, Google Analytics information is processed by Google in accordance with their policies linked above.
How we protect your data
We take data security seriously and implement all reasonable technical and non-technical precautions to protect your data from unauthorised access or disclosure. This includes ensuring that your data remains encrypted both at rest and in transit and configuring our systems in accordance with the recommendations of our service providers and cybersecurity industry experts. Whilst it is impossible for us (or any online service provider for that matter) to provide an absolute guarantee that your data will never be breached, we will do our best to minimise that risk as much as possible and will at all times comply with the Privacy Act and other applicable laws in order to secure your data and in responding to any suspected or actual breach.