The National Cabinet, through Prime Minister Scott Morrison, has announced that as of midday today (March 23), places of worship are to be temporarily closed. The Church will follow this advice, as is required, in the interests of the safety and protection of the wider community against the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
The Australian Government’s Department of Health website advises that the national discontinuation of non-essential gatherings entails:
“the temporary closure of … religious gatherings, places of worship, weddings, funerals (other than very small groups with the 4sqM per person rule to apply). All of these restrictions apply to outdoor spaces associated with the above.”
Please note: advice has been received from a number of authorities that it is inappropriate to relocate gatherings to homes or other locations.
Further advice about how our ministry may continue will be sent later in the week.
The lectionary scripture readings over the coming weeks tell of God surprising us in love and compassion amidst times of sadness, grief, despair and even death. In our darkest moments, God touches our lives in Christ, bringing hope and new life where we could not have imagined it being possible.
May the God of life uphold you. Grace and peace,
Rev Denise Liersch, Moderator
Rev Dr Mark Lawrence, General Secretary
Thanks Mark, it would be very helpful if the UCA had a worship service streamed or recorded each week that we could share with our folk so they could watch it at home. Rather than each congregation trying to learn how to do it, some with very limited technical resources(including limited knowhow)
Finally. A bit grumpy. Ministers have been left with difficult decisions and not always supportive church councils.
I know it’s a bit late, but we decided that we would suspend services in Orbost as soon as the advice was received from Presbytery. It was too late to cancel the service on 24th March, but we haven’t held a service since then. We don’t have the technology or the know-how to do live streaming or Zoom and anyway, probably half of our members don’t have internet access or pay TV. Church Council chairman, secretary and treasurer (me, who also edits the pew sheets) and our minister met to decide on our strategy. I suggested that I could print out a copy of the order of service each week for distribution to all members on the roll, whether they attend church or not. We’ve done that each week and received a lot of positive feedback. I print the words to the hymns (I also report to CCLI) and the bible reading relevant to the sermon as not all members have a copy of TiS at home and it’s possible that not every member has a bible in their house. Those with an email address get a digital copy and the rest of the members have a printed copy delivered–mainly by hand. It seems to be working for us and we’re reaching people who never attend a church service.