Greetings in the name of Christ,
Events have clearly been evolving at a rapid rate over recent days. I wanted to touch base with our parishioners and assure you that the Wardens and I, along with our other church leaders, are working hard on the Covid-19 issue. Before outlining our response can I encourage us all to pray that out of the uncertainty and chaos of our times, people all around the world will start to re-think their lives and that many will once again be open to the love, the grace and the call of God.
As per the Diocesan requirement our last public worship services will be held this Sunday at Tewantin and Sunshine Beach, and Peregian has already suspended worship. Public worship is on hold throughout the Diocese from Monday, 23 March, until further notice.
Some Connect groups have already gone into abeyance and we will leave it up to individual groups as to whether or not they continue and, if so, in what form. The new density requirements (1 person per 4sq. metres) will make continued group meetings difficult.
We are exploring the continuation of our services via video link and will inform you of progress as soon as possible. For this coming week there will be at the least an audio reflection on the website under ‘Sermons’.
Pastorally, you may be aware that Anne Jobling (5455 3481 or 0417 192 531) and Marg Hansen (0488 994 687), have launched the YOU ARE NOT ALONE ministry to assist parishioners, even in self-isolation. Anne and Marg are only a phone call away and can provide help in many ways, including shopping, prescriptions filled, or just a comforting voice to talk to or pray with. I, like the Wardens, am also available and only a call or email away. My mobile is 0419656377 and email <email@example.com>.
The church at Tewantin will be open for prayer from 10am – 2pm daily. Marg will also be available during these times subject to emergencies. Samaritan gifts can also be delivered at this time as the needs of the community will continue to grow.
Pastoral care remains a priority for us all and I encourage you to keep in touch by phone with members of your connect group, and others in your community known to you, offering to assist where necessary. Marg and I will also work together to ring as many members of the congregations as possible to assess how things are going and provide aid as needed.
As an act of Christian love and especially if you live in an area that has a contained community, a note as per the following link could be dropped into letter boxes if this is something you feel you can do.
Finally, let’s look after ourselves both physically and spiritually. Perhaps regular walking will assist with cabin fever, and using the opportunity to read the Bible or other books as well as praying for our community, is one way of using the opportunity that God has allowed us to have to grow personally and participate in his work in the world. You can also continue with the Mike Raiter Lenten studies by searching for ‘Mark Calder Lenten studies’ on YouTube or following the links on our website.
Finally, can I encourage you to continue to give regularly and if you wish to bring your gift to the church please come between 10am and 2pm during the week. Please also consider Direct Debit or internet transfer. (BSB 014 706 account no 3843 43159.)
Our Bishop, Jeremy Greaves, has adapted the New Zealand Prayer Book to provide this helpful prayer for us all: –
God of the present moment,
God who in Jesus stills the storm
And soothes the frantic heart;
bring hope and courage to all
who wait or work in uncertainty.
Bring hope that you will make them the equal
to whatever lies ahead.
Bring them courage to endure what cannot be avoided,
for your will is health and wholeness;
you are God, and we need you.
May God bless you all,