Like the rest of the world we have found ourselves in a difficult place as a result of the coronavirus, known as COVID-19. In an attempt to ‘flatten the curve’, our Australian Federal and State Governments, like governments around the world, have put in place strategies limiting our movements, and for very good reason. We fully support efforts to do whatever we can to protect the vulnerable, especially the elderly and those with chronic illness. This is no truer for our wider community than it is for our beloved members, our playgroup families, our craft group participants and Op Shop volunteers.
All of our groups have been suspended and worship is now being placed on-line. TUNE IN ON SUNDAYS AT 9 AM HERE. This is something quite new for us and for me, as lead pastor, quite challenging. The biggest challenge however is in how we continue to connect in this time. The church has indeed left the building, where so much of our together-life happens. We are taking extra steps to ensure our pastoral connections stay strong, requesting our pastoral care providers to maintain regular contact across all our activities.
Perhaps the positive out of this will be a deeper sense of the need to look out for one another as it so easy for people to ‘fall through the cracks’ and become disconnected. How sad it is to hear on occasion, “I didn’t attend worship for four weeks and nobody bothered to get in touch to see if I was okay.” Perhaps too we will never again take our times of fellowship for granted and will appreciate the opportunities we have to join together in lifting our voices to give glory and honour to God. I guess, through all this, that is my deepest longing and prayer.
During this time of physical separation we are inviting our members to uphold the world, the nation, the local community and the church in prayer daily, and specifically at midday on Mondays. Prayer is our most strategic weapon against the enemy, and yes, this is a war in which we are engaged.
Finally, this is a time for the church to rise up and delare to the community that there is hope to be found in all this. Jesus is our sure hope and strength, an anchor in the storm, the rock holding us steadfast and firm. No matter what, no matter where, we are assured of his eternal presence. Let us put our faith in him and shine our light into the present darkness.
Rev Leo Newell