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Church and COVID-19

22nd March 2020

Dear Church Family,

Things have been moving fairly quickly on a daily if not hourly basis regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and how we as a church should respond. In light of this, the Presbyterian Church of Victoria have released a statement regarding COVID-19 and I have sought to summarise relevant parts of it for our church family, although same parts are now outdated.

The best-hygiene practices are particularly important in the present situation.

What we are asking you to do:

  • Anyone entering the country as of Sunday 15th March must self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days after their arrival in Australia.  This means, although not limited to, refraining from attending church services and activities during that period.
  • If you or your children show symptoms of fever, dry cough, or sore throat and have recently been overseas or have had contact with a confirmed case, you should self isolate and seek medical attention.
  • At the moment the Sunday morning worship service will proceed this morning.  From next week we will be looking at some form of live streaming / video conferencing.  We have a number of members who are in the high risk category, so this has been done to ensure the health of all of our church family as best we can.  When the present crisis is declared over, we may still live stream for the encouragement of those who for whatever reason are not able to be present at our worship services.

Our key goals are:

  • All of our planned ministry activities are on hold and will not meet.  The Sunday morning worship service will be live streamed.  Depending on the form of livestreaming there may be 3 or 4 people present at the service.  Ministries on hold include our weekly study groups, Sunday School, and Youth Group.  The Lord’s Supper, monthly fellowship lunches and the International Dinner are also on hold.  The Board and Session will only meet if absolutely necessary.  Although meetings can be held via phone or video conferencing.  The planned painting preparation is also on hold.
  • Everyone is encouraged to follow personal hygiene guidelines including washing hands often with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds. Dry with paper towel or a hand dryer. We are attempting to get alcohol based hand sanitiser to be available throughout the church.
  • Minimise physical contact – maintain at least 2.0 metre distance between yourself and anyone who is not related to you.  
  • When greeting people we encourage you to refrain from physical contact as much as possible (e.g. shaking hands or other forms of embrace). 
  • No morning tea will be served this morning, to avoid any virus contamination, and people will be asked to carry on conversations in the carpark and not the church building.   
  • We encourage everyone to look out for those people who are weak and vulnerable in our congregation at this time.   There will be opportunities for service.  For example, providing meals, getting groceries for those in self-isolation or a phone call for encouragement and company.  The Elders are in the process of putting together a Pastoral Care Team to oversee this.  The minister will still be available for visitation.
  • The sermons will be recorded and placed on the church’s website for you to listen to.  We are investigating the possibility of live-streaming.  For those who do not have access to the internet and the church’s website, paper copies of the sermon and pew bulletin will be delivered.

We do not want to foster panic, however it is important we do our part to ensure our community stays safe and is cared for.

Please ensure that the elders have your email address or mobile number so that you can be informed of any changes.  If you would like to volunteer to help church members who have self-isolated either with a meal or getting groceries or a phone call then also tell the elders of your availability.

Finally, in times like this, let us remember that God reigns, even over pandemics; that nothing in his creation escapes his attention or his purposes. As Psalm 121 reminds us, we need not be afraid for our help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. Also, let us remember to pray for each other, for our community, and for the opportunity to point to our Lord at this time.

In Christ,

Rev Peter Greiner