Yesterday the National Cabinet agreed to move to more widespread restrictions on social gatherings for at least 6 months. The Southern Community Church of Christ is now restricted from opening from midday local time 23 March 2020:
Religious gatherings, places of worship or funerals (in enclosed spaces and other than very small groups and where the 1 person per 4 square metre rule applies).
This means there will not be a Worship Service or any other meetings or gatherings at SCCC until further notice.
The current restrictions mean that unfortunately, most churches and agencies will now be ceasing most in-person activities and functions. – the goal is to reduce the spread of the virus and to save the lives of fellow Australians.
This is a time for putting the care of others first, leading within our communities, being good citizens, and creating safe spaces for God to work through our community. We know that this means we meet less than what we want to, less than we think we should be able to, but, this is about keeping as much physical distance from other people and doing what we can to limit the spread of the coronavirus, not just what is preferable to the situation.
In addition to the the above changes, we are:
Stopping all gatherings/meetings/events
We are preparing staff and volunteers to be able to work from home. This may not be required right now, but preparation is key in the event that further restrictions are enforced on workplaces.
We are investigating using technology – learning how to use the technology that will allow us to hold meetings online, move pastoral care to phone, letters, email, or video conferencing, accept online tithes and donations, and keep in contact with one another.
Congregations across Australia are pausing to pray at 7pm nightly for: 19 minutes of prayer at 1900 hours in response to Covid-19. Given the current limits on gatherings, this is a simple way we can encourage our community to respond in faith, with a call to prayer based on the words of Psalm 104:33,34. (New Living Translation):
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live. I will praise my God to my last breath!May all my thoughts be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord.
For further details see: https://ausprayernet.org.au/urgent-call-for-national-prayer-for-the-coronavirus-covid-19-crisis/
Practical information on the conducting of funerals is still being developed. Ministers and families will consult with the relevant funeral home for advice specific to their circumstances.
Please note that the Memorial Service for Jack Fawcett will not go ahead this week.
Bethel Funerals have provided some useful information on their site www.bethelfunerals.com.au/covid-19.
We will provide more information as changes occur through email and post. “LIfe Matters” will also keep you updated.