2020-03-18 Corona virus update

Dear Congregation,

Last week we announced that we would meet as a leadership to decide on our church’s response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. We met last night and after praying for God’s guidance drafted the following plan. We drafted our response plan with the expectation that the government would ban gatherings the size of our regular church gatherings, and indeed this morning the government did just that. As such, we are now enacting our response plan. Based on the government’s advice it is likely that we will be ‘doing church’ like this for at least a few months.

These are the policies we will be adopting as a church, effective as of today (18th of March).

Weekly Church Meetings and Services:

  1. For the foreseeable future, we will not be meeting together as a whole church community on Sunday mornings. This includes this Sunday (22nd of March).
    1. Instead, we will be live streaming our church services via a video link up. You will be able to join in with the online service by a live streaming service called Zoom.
    2. We will endeavour to replicate as much of a normal Sunday service as is possible. We expect to have some worship songs, a children’s talk, a sermon, an offering and announcements section etc.
    3. We will send out separate instructions for how to get connected to Zoom as soon as we have this set up.
    4. This will be set up for this week’s Sunday service.
    5. We will postpone our audio only streaming via Mixlr for the time being.
  2. All our existing on premises activities will be cancelled or moved online. This includes Ignite Youth, GEMS, Kids Hope, Women’s Bible Study etc.
  3. During this time of isolation, we want to keep fostering our church community. To this end we are asking the church members, where possible, to still meet up in small groups of around 10 (max) people on Sunday mornings. We hope to start this as of next week (29th of March). We envisage that in these groups you stream the weekly service together then unpack it as a group using the provided discussion questions.
    1. To make this happen we are asking for volunteers to open their homes to host a mini church group. Your main task will be connect to the live stream and have the space to accommodate a few guests. Please let Annandra know if you can host (admin@wpcrc.org.au)
    2. We will also be asking a few people to be the designated leaders of the groups. We will still be publishing discussion questions for the Bible text and sermon as we currently do. The group leaders will be in charge of facilitating some of this discussion.
    3. If you would like to be a part of a mini church group, please email Annandra (admin@wpcrc.org.au). Once we know where the groups will be, and how many people we need to allocate to groups, we will let you know where to meet on Sundays.
  4. Recognising that not everyone will be able to attend a small group like this due to either quarantine or because of health risks, we will also be doing the following.
    1. We are making the live stream available to everyone, not just the small group hosts, so anyone who needs to stream from home can do so.
    2. The eldership will also be contacting each family in our congregation regularly via the phone. This is to help us keep in contact with each other and allow all of us to still feel part of the church family even if we have to be isolated.
    3. We will still be producing the weekly newsletter.
    4. We will be sending out a daily email with a prayer point and a Bible verse to keep us connected and praying for the situation.

Diaconal and Pastoral Needs

We still fully expect to care for our community’s pastoral and diaconal needs. I will be preferring phone contact rather than face to face visitation in terms of pastoral needs for the time being, since I am in the high risk category for this virus, but we will continue to adapt as the situation develops. Our deacons will also continue serving in their regular capacity. The deacons have also started a grocery swap initiative. So if you are missing particular groceries and are in need as a result, please contact Margreet Day on 0491 117 900.

What can you do?

  1. Please respond to this email. We want to make sure that everyone gets the message, so please just respond and let us know you got it. We will be phoning everyone who doesn’t respond by Friday to make sure the message gets out.
  2. Pray for the church. This is a very different way for us to “do church”. Pray that God will encourage us and help us grow during this time.
  3. Move to digital giving. During this time we are asking our church members to make use of our online giving options, either via bank transfer or via the church app. The reality is that our costs as a congregation don’t really decrease when we don’t meet. However many of our congregation members give during the church services, an income stream that we now won’t have. So we are asking you to please either set up a direct debit from you bank account, or regular giving via the church app.
  4. Contact Annandra to volunteer your home as one of our mini church locations.
  5. Contact Annandra to be allocated to a mini church group.
  6. Keep your eyes on your email both for diaconal needs, and for the daily prayer points and devotions.

While these are unprecedented measures, we believe that this is the best way to preach the Gospel, pray, and meet together as God’s people in this current climate. We understand that these changes will be distressing for some, and if you want or need to debrief or discuss them, please contact Pastor Chris on 0423 889 913, or speak to any of our elders. If we pull together as a believing community, we believe that we will come through this time stronger both spiritually and as a church community.

As the situation develops, we will continue communicating with the congregation.

In His Service,

Pastor Chris
pastor@wpcrc.org.au
0423 889 913