As the COVID-19 situation intensifies, and the world takes important steps to contain the outbreak, we want to make sure we are doing everything possible to care for our community thoughtfully and responsibly.
At this point in time we will continue to gather on Sunday, however we will be closely monitoring the advice coming from experts and the government, and will reassess this decision on a weekly basis. We are also taking extra precautions when it comes to hygiene and social interaction at these gatherings. We will temporarily suspend passing the peace, Communion and morning tea. We will also ensure soap and hand-sanitiser is available at the doors.
We know that many in our community fall into the at-risk category and have made the understandable decision to self-isolate, or at least to avoid large gatherings. If this is you, we will be taking steps to ensure you remain connected with your church family. The following are some of ways in which this will happen:
As of now we will be live-streaming our 9:45am service each week. You can watch this live if you have a Facebook Account, or you can view the recording at a later point on Facebook or Youtube. Sunday’s service is available here.
We will endeavour to share extra content and updates about what is happening in the life of our church, via Facebook, Youtube and email
We will look for extra resources to share with you to assist you with worship at home
We will continue to send the weekly newsletter and our monthly Church Connect (which comes out on the 2nd week each month).
Our Pastoral Care team will suspend in-person visits but will continue to have pastoral meetings over the phone. If you feel lonely and need to talk to someone, please send us a message (email or phone) and we’ll call you back asap.
If you are wondering what you can or should be doing during this time, there are four key things that we would recommend:
Firstly, listen to advice coming from the experts. There are lots of good articles available, full of helpful information. This article, for instance, explains what the symptoms are and what you should do if you are concerned. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-15/coronavirus-symptoms-australia-covid-19-fever-sore-throat/12056930#What
Secondly, we need your help to look after those in our church community who are isolated and/or vulnerable. There are simply too many for our staff to manage alone, so this will need to be a group effort. If you notice that someone you usually talk to in a service has not been coming to church, pick up the phone and check in. If you need contact details, let the church office know and we will request them for you.
Thirdly, avoid panic. We know this is possibly the hardest thing to do at this time, with so much uncertainty, but it is also the most unhelpful thing to do. Instead, focus on what you can do. Be extra hygienic, practically plan what your strategy will be if you are required to stay home for 14 days (if you are concerned about this please talk to us), and most importantly continue to love your neighbour. It is natural, in times such as these, for us to turn inwards and even become hostile towards others as our survival instincts kick in. We have already seen this come to light with the awful racism against our Chinese community, and of course the infamous toilet paper wars. We all need to look past our fear and remember the love and compassion that Jesus calls us to.
Last, but certainly not least, is to pray. Ask God for guidance. Seek God’s help as we fight to contain the spread of this disease. Ask God for comfort for those around the world who have lost loved ones. Talk with God about your fears, and find peace in God’s presence.
These are trying times, but by taking sensible measures, staying connected, and seeking God’s help, we will get through this together.
If you have any questions, please contact Richard, the staff or any one of our Eldership team.
Blessings from Terrigal Uniting Church