17 March 2020
Dear brothers and sisters of our church family,
We are writing to give you an update on our response to the escalating Coronavirus situation.
The elders, ministry staff and board members of our church have prayerfully considered how we may best love each other, and our community with our efforts to curb the spread of the virus. This will mean changes in our church ministries and gatherings, which may be inconvenient. However we are committed to doing all we can, not only in the interest of public health, but that we continue to make and mature disciples of Jesus together.
We are therefore making the following changes with immediate effect:
The Sunday services (10:15am and 6pm) will be by online streaming starting from 22 March, until further notice. There will be no service on-site on Sundays. We will still have songs, prayer, Bible reading and the sermon. You are encouraged to join in worship at the same time by going to our website www.shp.org.au.
Creche and kids church will also be postponed until further notice. We will endeavour to provide parents with teaching material for their children.
We encourage Growth Groups to continue to meet over Zoom or Skype or any other application. We are leaving this to each group’s discretion on the format you choose.
• We will endeavour to have a technology team to provide assistance for Zoom and Skype meetings
• We are hopeful that your meeting over the internet will still be fruitful and edifying as you spend time in prayer and opening up the Word of God
• We encourage you to not stop meeting, but to take every opportunity (even though over the internet) to spur each other onto love and good deeds (Heb 10:24-25)
MID-WEEK MINISTRIES (YOSHi, Mainly Music, ESL, Homework Help Club)
All mid-week ministries are postponed immediately until further notice. This is unfortunate and inconvenient given our desire to meet in fellowship and to serve our community.
UPCOMING MINISTRY EVENTS (Sharing Christ in our story, Holiday Club)
The training event planned for Sat 21st March will be postponed until further notice.
ANY OTHER MEETINGS
In the event that you plan to have any meetings with people from church it is important that you adhere to the ‘meeting protocols’ (see below). We are however trying to do our part in social distancing.
We are encouraging the following:
We want to encourage everyone to continue to love, care and look out for each other, especially the elderly and those who contract the virus.
• stay in touch with each other over phone, messaging and Skype
• offer to help each other with supplies, food and prayer
• if you are sick or need help with supplies, please inform you Growth Group leader or the elders
BE A GOOD NEIGHBOUR
We want to encourage everyone to be thoughtful and wise in our community. It is an opportunity for us to love our neighbours by buying responsibly and not in excess at supermarkets, where many items are already in short supply. Do also support local businesses who will find this a very difficult time. Think of creative ways to love your neighbours, and hopefully God will open doors for you to commend the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Though the gatherings will be restricted for the foreseeable future, take the opportunity to deepen your time of personal devotion, and spending time in the Word of God and prayer. Do make use of our Bible studies which can be made available (email firstname.lastname@example.org). You may also find encouragement from the following websites where you will find sermons and articles:
We have been studying the book of Esther as a church, and perhaps God has raised us up for such a time as this, for some kingdom purpose. With much uncertainty and anxiety in our community, we must remember that our God is Lord and remains sovereign over all. Where there are worries, we cast our worries upon our God (1 Pet 5:7), where there is fear, we remain unafraid for our hope is in God (Ps 33:20), where there is anxiety, we bring it to our Lord in prayer (Phil 4:6), where there is restlessness, we rest in the peace of God (Phil 4:7), and where there is selfishness, we remain Christlike in selfless, sacrificial love and service (Eph 5:2). This is the time for us as Christians to shine and to live out the gospel of Jesus Christ for the glory of God.
Yours in Christ,