Coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic Church News

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20 March, 2020

Dear church family,

Background

This has been a tumultuous week. There have been regular updates and decisions by government around restrictions due to COVID-19 and attempts to slow its spread to reduce the loss of life. On Wednesday we received notification from the moderator of the Uniting Church in Queensland that after consultation with presbytery leaders that the decision has been made to cease face-to-face congregational worship services and meetings. Public children’s and youth activities will also cease at this time. As a result, there will be no public Sunday worship or children and youth events at Emmanuel Uniting Church until further notice.

The Church Council executive met on Thursday and has also determined to close the church complex to meetings until further notice. This affects all groups who use the church including small groups and external rentals. From the advice given we anticipate that this maybe in place for six months or more. The Executive realise that creates a huge challenge for us as a church but also see it has tremendous opportunities and we want to encourage people to grasp the opportunities this offers to grow as disciples and followers of Jesus.

Summary

·        Sunday Worship and children’s and youth groups including Sunday school, Boys’ and Girls’ Brigade, Playgroup and Youth Band are cancelled for the foreseeable future. The congregational meeting planned for next Sunday is also cancelled.

·        Small groups may make their own decisions, but should consider not meeting face-to-face, instead finding other ways to connect online or over the phone.  

·        All other groups who currently meet at the church are cancelled.

·        The office will be open Monday and Thursdays only, or by appointment, if people need to come in. Telephone contact is recommended and is available for normal church office hours 8.30-2.30 weekdays.

·        Community Helping hand and Tiny Town will continue to operate with additional cleanliness measures in place.

·        We remind you at this time that worship isn’t just about meeting in church building on a Sunday, and encourage you to continue to worship, albeit differently. We have provided some suggestions below. You my like to meet as a household, or with 2-3 friends or other families to gather and using some of the resources provided , share in worship yourselves. If you meet in person, please follow social distancing guidelines, limit close contact and ensure regular hand-washing and hand-sanitising practices.

1.     We will continue to record the weekly sermon and post it on our church website and app. We will also provide a list of suggested songs that you can find online or play at home yourself (if you are musically inclined). You can find sermons and the weekly discussion questions at www.emmanueluca.org.au/sermons or on the church app.

2.     We will continue to provide a weekly “Dig in at Home” resource with additional discussion activities, videos and prayers for households with and without children to use. These can be found at www.emmanueluca.org.au/devotions or on the church app. You can use these and the online sermon to create an all-age worship experience at home.

3.     If you want a ‘live’ worship experience, here are some recommended live streams of other Uniting Church services.

Newlife Church  www.church.nu/live 10am, 4pm, 6pm Sundays

Real Life Christian Church www.facebook.com/realllifecc  7pm Fri. 9:30am Sun

Toowong Uniting Church www.facebook.com/toowonguniting  9.30am Sun

·        In addition to the above, the ministry team will be posting daily on Facebook to encourage, equip, and engage with you during this time. Follow us at www.facebook.com/emmanueluca/

·        We will also be encouraging pastoral care and discipleship through our small group networks so please continue to connect with them. For people not in small groups some temporary groups will be set-up. We know that there will be some teething challenges but we will be trying to contact everyone within the next week.

·        We realise that finances will be a struggle for many of us. However, I do want to encourage you to continue giving as you are able. Without a weekly service you can  still give electronically. The details are BSB: 334 040 Account Number: 553 839 228  Account Name: UCA – Emmanuel Uniting Church Enoggera. Please ensure that you include name and a brief reason for the payment.  Alternatively you can use the church app or website https://emmanueluca.org.au/payments link and give online. Please contact Barry (33534551) for more information or if you need help.


This is a developing space and there will be regular updates, new information and constant tweaking of what we do. However, the key message is that while we need to do things differently for the coming few months, we continue to remember the big picture. 

In the current circumstances we still have a vision to be to be real people with a relevant faith for our community, and we still want to grow disciples who will exalt, explore, embody and engage. It is important that we stay connected and take advantage of this time as an opportunity to grow and develop the practices and habits that create better disciples. Smaller gatherings and one on one conversations will provide opportunities for people to deepen their relationships with people. The coming few months will be a challenging time but there is the potential that we can grow a stronger and more resilient church out of it.


Yours in Christ

Rev Brian Hoole

Minister

In behalf of the Church Council and the Ministry Team.