Part of the very definition of being a church is that we congregate together. In fact, that’s what the original word church meant: an assembly of people! So in this time of heightened risk regarding serious infection with the Coronavirus, churches need to take particular precautions to lessen the risk of infection. Please take the time to read the following so that our meetings together become safer places to congregate. These precautions are based on an information sheet provided by the Archbishop’s office. We will update this information as new advice comes to hand.
– At this stage ministries are continuing as per normal, with the exception of our Wednesday morning English conversation classes and our Thursday morning Playtime for young children and carers. These two ministries will aim to recommence in term two.
– WASH YOUR HANDS WITH SOAP! Especially before serving others or handling food.
– It’s best to avoid shaking hands for the next little while.
– Cough into your elbow, or a tissue or handkerchief.
– If you have cold or flu like symptoms, stay home!
– Consider bringing your own Bible to church, or use a digital version on your phone.
We will continue to take communion together at our normal frequency, except with the following differences:
– At 8:30am the common cup will not be available until further notice. Individual cups will be handed to you by the minister.
– At 10:00am and 5:00pm those taking communion will leave their seats and file up to the front where they will be served the bread and grape juice.
Morning and afternoon teas, and refreshments
– This may be the most complex area of adjustment. The main idea is to lessen the amount of exposure our food has to the air and to limit both the amount of food handlers and the touching of shared surfaces.
– We will need extra helpers to serve food after our services, rather than allowing people help themselves. We will have a new roster were people can volunteer to serve morning tea to others using tongs. Perhaps as many of our morning tea providers are women, this is something some men can volunteer to do?
– We will also need someone to serve others from our coffee pots, rather than have everyone pressing down on the top.
– If you are providing morning tea, please consider foods like individually wrapped biscuits, or food items that are easily handled by a pair of tongs.
– If you are setting up morning tea, please WASH HANDS THOROUGHLY, and then cover the platters with gladwrap.
– If you are a parent of young children, please consider providing your own snacks, or serve your children yourself.
– For midweek ministries (including growth groups), please appoint one person to wait upon others, or proportion refreshments into individual serves.
Children’s and youth ministries
– Leaders, please note the following from the Archbishop’s letter: “Wipe down toys and equipment with antiseptic wipes before and after sessions”. I understand this sounds arduous. However, it is the advice we have received. In order to enact this directive, we will need to limit the equipment we use. Victoria Cameron has set aside a small section of equipment that we can regularly clean. This equipment is marked “Limit activity to this equipment: regularly cleaned”. If you wish to use other equipment, please clean it before and after use using alcohol-based disinfectant (often marked ‘ethanol’). We have some ethanol-based surface cleaner at church (Mclintock’s Vanilla Fresh, plus a couple of cans of ethanol-based disinfectant spray: Glen 20 and Oomph). We’ve also bought some alcohol-based cleaning wipes. Non-alcoholic products aren’t as good but are better than nothing. Please also ensure tables are disinfected before and after use.
– For C4K leaders: please ensure one leader is checking students in, rather than having multiple parents handling the pen as well.
– For midweek ministries, please appoint one person to handle the food and to serve others, including tea and coffee.
– Parents, please allow a leader to check your child in for you, rather than taking up the pen and doing it yourself.
– Please consider packing snacks for your own child.
English conversation classes
– Our Wednesday morning English classes will be suspended until at least the beginning of Term 2.
Thursday morning Playtime
– This ministry has been suspended until Term 2. Parents who have paid for the term’s fees will be able to transfer their fees until Term 2.
Preparing for the coming months
– Pray that the virus might be contained, and that church ministries all around the world will suffer minimal disruption. Pray God will grant us patience as we ourselves adjust!
– Looking at what is happening in other countries, it may be that we are told to stop meeting altogether. If this does happen we will have to do church online! One thing you can do now in preparation of this is to start giving online rather than through the church offertory. When we have a bad weather week at church our giving does suffer, so low attendance does make a negative difference to our financial situation. Things might become very dire if we have to cease meeting! Setting up a scheduled payment through your bank’s website is relatively easy to do. Our account details are: BSB 062-181; Acc number 10006018.
Is this over the top?
Some may think that taking all these precautions is going ‘over the top’. Perhaps it is, but then again perhaps not given we are in uncharted territory. But three things to consider are:
– Many people in our society are nervous about what’s happening and appreciate organizations who take precautions. By responding seriously we are building public trust – something the church needs more of;
– We don’t want our church to be known as a focus point of infection, so taking precautions seems wise;
– We have a Christian calling to consider the vulnerable in our society, so a bit of effort at critical times when such vulnerable people are in greater danger is spiritually appropriate.
Thanks for your patience in all this, as the situation changes we’ll keep you informed.