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Worship, community, care & mission resources

Here you will find resources for the community of Christ in a time of pandemic, to release ministry for creative opportunities.

For general health information and latest updates on the COVID-19 pandemic go to the Victorian government’s page here or the Tasmanian government’s page here.

Church is always the people, not the building. We are called to be open to the Spirit for new ways of ministry and mission in this time of physical distancing and social connection in different ways. During this disruption we are finding new ways of being church to ensure we live into the call of being “sign, foretaste and instrument” of God’s kingdom in our world.

As many of us are forced to consider new ways of doing and being church from our homes, the metaphor of “home” can offer life-giving perspectives and starting points for our new ways of gathering, care and mission.

God’s offer of Jubilee in Leviticus 25 includes the words “you shall return, every one of you, to your property and every one of you to your family”. Jennie Gordon, in her Psalm 23 prayer (below), talks of “sheltering at home”.

Many leaders, congregations and presbyteries are creating great resources for this time. Some of them are linked or reproduced here. This page will change over the coming weeks – and we would value your feedback, and suggestions for additional resources. Please contact Nigel Hanscamp at nigel.hanscamp@victas.uca.org.au

Worship service ideas

Going online

Live streaming worship services is a simple and effective way of participating in worship that doesn’t involve physically going to church. Facebook and YouTube are two platforms you can use. For more information on how to live stream a service or church event, click here.

If you intend to live-stream worship from your church building, please follow the latest advice from official government sources about the numbers of people who can be involved, and appropriate physical distancing.

The latest directive from the Victorian and Tasmanian state governments is that up to five people can be involved in a live-streamed service, provided social distancing guidelines are maintained.

That rule also prohibits people who are unwell from participating as well as people who are deemed vulnerable, such as:
· People who are immuno-compromised
· People aged over 70
· People aged over 65 with a significant medical condition
· Aboriginal Tasmanians aged over 50 with significant medical conditions.

With in-church worship now on hold for the foreseeable future, more and more congregations are looking to broadcast their services in other ways. Some are:

  • pre-recording, such as Manningham UC
  • live streaming, such as Hobart North UC
  • podcasting, such as Richmond UC.
  • using Zoom to connect children together for Godly play, such as Nourish from Brunswick UC (more information in 'Online Churches' below).

If you have found other ways to broadcast your worship, please email Nigel Hanscamp. We’d love to spread the word.

For a more complete list of VicTas congregations streaming, see ONLINE CHURCHES below.

Congregational worship at home

Here are some resources you may use to encourage people to worship and pray together, using common resources in their homes.

Window Installation

  • An online exhibition created by participants at Boroondara Community Outreach (BCO), a mental health ministry of the Yarra Yarra Presbytery, based at Kew. The Installation invited the artists to reflect on parts of the Easter story, and to tell their story alongside the artwork they created – a ‘stain-glass window’. (note: large 28MB Video)

Holy Week

Good Friday

  • The Shearwater ministry team (Gippsland Presbytery) offers a “Worship@Home” service and reflection for Holy Week. This resource is ready to print and be distributed.
  • Julie Perrin offers a visual Collect for Good Friday.

Easter Saturday

  • The Shearwater ministry team (Gippsland Presbytery) offers a “Worship@Home” service and reflection for Holy Week. This resource is ready to print and be distributed.
  • Julie Perrin offers a visual Collect for Easter Saturday.

Easter Day

  • The Shearwater ministry team (Gippsland Presbytery) offers a “Worship@Home” service and reflection for Holy Week. This resource is ready to print and be distributed.
  • Connectible – Easter Day resources from Strandz, Children and Families ministry, Aotearoa.
  • Julie Perrin offers a visual Collect for Easter Day.
  • Sally Douglas offers a Table Liturgy for Easter Day - "Come and have breakfast"

General Resources (For this week, and those who want to work ahead)

  • By the Well podcast from Rev Fran Barber and Rev Dr Robyn Whitaker (eLM and Pilgrim) explores one of the lectionary texts to equip preachers to proclaim the Word.
  • Passing the Peace using AUSLAN.
  • Engage Together (Free Lent download from CTM Resourcing)
  • Spill the Beans (Downloadable Resource for Lent, Easter and Pentecost – Payment required)
  • Connectible – Easter Day resources from Strandz, Children and Families ministry, Aotearoa
  • East Gippsland Easter Reflections 02 - A Carpet of Green. Rev Ian Ferguson reflects on Palm Sunday with word and image.
  • Julie Perrin offers a reading of Psalm 118 and a Collect.
  • Mustard Seeds – Palm Sunday resources from Ann Scull, Boronia Road UC.
  • Church at Home – A general resource of ideas for growing faith at home (Downloadable resource).
  • Lost Sheep – Retelling Bible stories in a fresh way. Free resources are available here (Free Subscription required).

Readings

Resources related to the readings for this week, including reflections, and audio-visual versions of the readings.

Each week on the By the Well podcast, Rev Fran Barber and Rev Dr Robyn Whitaker explore one of the lectionary texts to equip preachers to proclaim the Word.

RCL Readings

 

Holy Communion

Communion is a key part of our celebration of the Church’s faith and life. During times of physical distancing, this brings opportunities to think differently about the sacraments.

The Assembly Standing Committee has offered resources to help Ministers and church leaders to think theologically and practically about how we offer worship with Holy Communion.

Sally Douglas offers a Table Liturgy for Easter Day - "Come and have breakfast".

Prayer and faith practices at home

Could this time of social distancing and isolation be Jubilee, Sabbath or Retreat? This could be a time to explore some different ways of being Christian and being Church.

  • The Banyule Network has created five resources (see Lectio Divina, Examen, Praying With Images and Prayer Practices in RELATED DOCUMENTS below) on learning to pray in different ways. Try a different one each week.
  • Rev Jennie Gordon, Presbytery Minister Gippsland and poet, has written this Affirmation of Faith as we shelter at home, based on Psalm 23.
  • And this one for Psalm 130 “From Cries of comfort, to affirmation of hope".
  • Interfaith Litany for Wholeness from Rev Andy Calder (see Related Documents below).
  • Lent Engage Together (can be adapted for use at home and in small groups).
  • StoryPath (linking lectionary to children’s literature).
  • Weekly Lenten Study Reflections for easy sharing in a dispersed community from Craig Mitchell (Pres Minister Port Philip East).
  • Lent Event is an action from Uniting World that encourages people to connect with justice for those living in poverty. Resources are available, including a Bible Study series on Jesus “the other”, and how to embrace difference.
  • The Abbey of the Arts is giving a Novena for Times of Unravelling – nine days of prayer. To learn more about this free resource, click here.
  • Poetry Unbound – a new, short-form podcast from On Being is presented by Padraig O’Tuama, and may be like a mini retreat in the new structure of your day.
  • Thank You Prayers
  • For families learning about the Lord’s Prayer, When You Pray – Children and When You Pray – Adults

For Ministry leaders

Community support

We are called to Love Our Neighbour, Loving and caring in the world. There are many social media groups and posts going viral. One worth considering is the Facebook group The Kindness Pandemic. This has stories and anecdotes of kindness, compassion and hope. 

Messy Church has created the #MessyNeighbour hashtag in Facebook to share stories of Christ-Centred, all-age creativity, hospitality, and celebration. 

Here is a card you could slip under someone’s door to offer kindness and care. 

Re-imagining Church

At this time of disruption, we have opportunities for rethinking church as church leaders. 

Questions to consider: 

  • During social isolation the typical distractions are not around, so is this a time in which the local church may be able to connect with the dechurched and unchurched? Is this a time when people will think about their spirituality and how would they locate the local church if they did?
  • How does our church address complex social issues without a pulpit?
  • In what ways can we be living into God’s mission at this time?

An excellent resource worth considering is from Traci Smith, who has compiled 100 ideas for ministers and ministry leaders.

Carey Nieuwhof writes about changes in church attendance. This is relevant to the way we think about Church during a pandemic. He also reflects on changing patterns of being church, through a reflection on changes in media.

Financial giving to your church

For many of us, our financial offering is a spiritual practice – part of our Christian discipleship, and a practical response to a generous God. For churches, offerings resource ministry and mission. The costs of our church’s mission and ministry continue during this time, and our ongoing financial support is important.

We encourage you to have a conversation as a church and inform your congregations of the best options.

In a season of physical distancing and forced closures, here are a few options to allow congregants to still give their offering.

  • Put cash in an envelope (plain or a planned giving envelope) in an offering bowl at home. Contact your treasurer or elders to discuss how this should be collected.
  • Mail a cheque to your church’s treasurer or stewardship contact.
  • Use online banking through your bank, or set up a direct debit to your church’s account at UEthical (contact your treasurer for account details)

For more information about some online giving options, click here.

Your Presbytery has also been thinking about this and have specific responses for your situation – please contact them directly for more information.

Worship at home

Prayers

  • The Banyule Network has created five resources (see Related Documents below) on learning to pray in different ways. Try a different one each week.
  • Rev Jennie Gordon, Presbytery Minister Gippsland and poet, has written this Affirmation of Faith as we shelter at home, based on Psalm 23.
  • And this one for Psalm 130 “From Cries of comfort, to affirmation of hope".
  • Thank You Prayers
  • When You Pray – Children
  • When You Pray – Adults
  • "A Way to Worship at Home"(see RELATED DOCUMENTS below) contains some ideas on creating a  worship space, and a practice of meditative worship at home.

 

Faith practices

Could this time of social distancing and isolation be Jubilee, Sabbath or Retreat?

The Abbey of the Arts is giving a Novena for Times of Unravelling – nine days of prayer. To learn more about this free resource, click here.

Poetry Unbound – a new, short-form podcast from On Being – is presented by Padraig O’Tuama and may be like a mini-retreat in the new structure of your day.

As stated above, the Banyule Network has created five resources on learning to pray in different ways (see Related Documents below). Try a different one each week.

  • The Abbey of the Arts is giving a Novena for Times of Unravelling – nine days of prayer. To learn more about this free resource, click here.
  •  Poetry Unbound – a new, short-form podcast from On Being – is presented by Padraig O’Tuama and may be like a mini-retreat in the new structure of your day.
  • The Banyule Network has created five resources on learning to pray in different ways (see Related Documents below). Try a different one each week.
  • Engage at Home are providing daily family prayer and worship activities (or via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag #EngageAtHome.
  • Top five faith resources for households, from the UCA Assembly website
  • Way to Live offers resources for growing Christian practices with Teens
  • Holy Habits offers resources for growing Christian faith and practices for all ages
  • Faith 5 Five simple steps for everyday household engagement in faith
  • Kitchen Table Project Ten easy things to try as a household
  • Faith in Homes Faith nurturing tips, activities, podcasts and resources
  • Faith in the Home Links to ideas to help families through the week

Financial giving to your church

Financial offering is a spiritual practice for many of us - a practical response to a generous God. Offerings resource ministry and mission in our churches.

In a season of social distancing and forced closures ask your Treasurer for direct debit options – or set aside your offering envelope in a jar to give to your visitor from church.

Online churches

Live streaming congregations/Faith Communities

Recorded worship

Pre-recorded or podcast

Recorded worship

 Recorded Sermon

Presbyteries and external links

Presbyteries

 

Synod 

Moderator Denise Liersch and General Secretary Mark Lawrence sent this letter to everyone on March 27.

RELATED DOCUMENTS