Wednesday 18th March 2020
Dear BCUC family,
Last night, at an special meeting, the Church Council took the difficult decision to suspend all face-to-face worship services, meetings and activities where we gather together as a group, effective immediately and until it is safe to resume them. We did this as an expression of love and care for our people, many of whom are in vulnerable groups in the setting of a viral pandemic.
We are working on other ways of presenting worship and of ensuring that we provide pastoral care for our people. We are sending this message to all who have email and we would ask each of the pastoral carers to phone those in their groups who do not use email to communicate. In fact, we suggest that the initial strategy to maintain pastoral contacts is by regular phone calls, and relaying this message will be the first opportunity.
In terms of worship this Sunday March 22nd, we will be broadcasting our service at 10am on Sunday morning on the BCUC YouTube channel. You can take a look at our channel now by clicking here. We will email you more about this in the next few days.
We will also be mailing sermon notes, readings and prayer notes to those who cannot access live streaming. More details will follow. We have a number of plans for different ways of presenting worship over coming weeks. Council is meeting again next Tuesday to continue to plan how we can engage with each other over coming weeks.
We will be establishing video conferencing platforms so that committees can meet virtually and so that people can keep in touch with each other. We have begun planning how we will provide programs for our children and youth so they can continue to engage while being protected by adhering to a social distancing policy.
At this stage, the church building will remain open as before for individuals to pray in the open spaces while practising good hand-washing hygiene, social distancing and keeping away if you are at risk or unwell.
This is an anxious time. Please contact your pastoral carer, the church office or myself if you feel particularly distressed over the rapidly changing world around us because we will need to support each other. But our reassurance and hope comes from Christ, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age”. We pray God will use this new period at our church for unexpected fruitful opportunities to raise Children of God.
I encourage us all, while we are in the community, to be the peaceful presence of Christ to our friends and neighbours.
If you missed my sermon on a Christian response to COVID-19, you can listen to the sermon here on our website.
Your brother in Christ,
Burnside City Uniting Church
0427 792 869