The outbreak of the Coronavirus presents an opportunity for us to show the love of Jesus and make a positive impact on our community in the face of difficult times.
As a Church, guided by advice issued by Churches of Christ Vic-Tas this week, we are taking some practical steps to reduce the risk of spreading the virus and ensure we provide a safe worship environment for all of our community, particularly for those who are most vulnerable or at risk.
Effective from this Sunday 15 March, we will:
- Continue with our 10am service on Sundays as usual, and begin broadcasting our Sunday services via Facebook Live. From Sunday, all of our morning worship attendees will be strongly encouraged to sanitise their hands with hand sanitiser as they enter the church sanctuary or head to the bathroom and wash hands with soap and warm water before joining in worship
- Be suspending the serving of/celebration of both Communion (the Lord’s Supper) and morning tea (for the time being). This weekend I will resource everyone with a simple home communion resource sheet that you can use to celebrate communion with your family or LINC, or perhaps with one or two others from church you may wish to gather with, to share communion.
- Encourage our church community to move to online giving (as this reduces the need for money handling). Our Bank account details are BSB: 703810 Account Number: 05300136 Account name: Williamstown Church of Christ. In addition, our offering bowls will be placed on the communion table rather than being passed from person to person.
- We will move to a hands-free greeting/welcoming style for a while – we wont be shaking hands, hugging or high-fiving each other at the moment but provide a big smile, a wave, and warm words of welcome – have some fun with it by encouraging ‘air-fives’!
- We’ll also be disinfecting microphones and other shared equipment each week.
For many people, the decision to stay away from church gatherings is a big one. Many of us will be hesitant to make that call, especially if we are only experiencing minor symptoms (such as you might expect if you have a common cold. However, it is recommended that:
- People should stay home if they have even minor symptoms of cold or flu, including runny nose, sore throat, coughing, sneezing, shortness of breath and/or a temperature above 38 degrees Celsius and should leave immediately if they develop these symptoms while on site.
- People must stay home if they have left, or transited through mainland China, Iran, or Republic of Korea in the last 14 days (they must isolate themselves for 14 days).
- People must stay home if they have been in close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus in the last 14 days (they must isolate themselves for 14 days after the date of last contact with the confirmed case).
- If people are in isolation they should alert our Church Ministry Team (Megan, Jono or Tiff) immediately.
Staying home when sick or in quarantine is for the greater good – we encourage a culture of safety that is calm but proactive.
For more information: National Coronavirus Health Information Line (24/7): 1800 020 080 or https://www.health.gov.au/contacts/coronavirus-health-information-line
Remember, this is a temporary situation. It may not be the ideal way of doing church or being a faith community but making reasonable adjustments in times such as these is the best way to protect our communities and still provide pastoral care and worship opportunities.
The coronavirus pandemic is an ever changing situation, and we may continue to change or do church differently for a while, and will let you know of any further changes via email and our Facebook page as they occur.
Please continue to pray for all those impacted around the world by this disease and all people in positions of leadership and authority as they make decisions for the good of their nation and all peoples of the world.
Lastly, let us be encouraged by 2 Timothy 1:7 ‘For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.’
See you on Sunday!
Megan Jung, Lead Pastor
Personal Hygiene Tips
- Wash hands often with soap and running water, for at least 20 seconds. Dry with paper towel or hand dryer
- Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow.
- Isolate yourself at home if you feel sick. If you take medication, ensure you have adequate supplies.
- Phone your GP first if you need medical attention. They will tell you what to do.
- Don’t wear a face mask if you are well.
- Get the flu shot (available April).
Some other resources/links:
Jacinda Arden has created this video interview which helps answer some questions about the Coronavirus. It’s long (goes for 18 minutes) but is sensible and easy to understand and includes some suggestions for helping kids to understand about the virus too.