UPDATE 28/06/2020

COVID-19 STAGE 3 UPDATE

We continue to work through the requirements associated with the path to reopening activities at our property. The information below has been updated to reflect the progress made this week.

Government COVID Sage Step 3 Plan – became effective on Monday 29 June, with 1 person per 2sqm. Sign in sheets and hand sanitiser are at all entry points. Signage on doors indicates room capacity. Cleaning schedules and procedures are in the final stages of completion.

Worship – worship for 9:15am and 6:00pm resumes on 5 July. A tentative date for the resumption of worship for 11:00am is 19 July. The new 1 person per 2sqm rule means that we will most likely be able to accommodate everyone in the church without the need for an overflow are. Live streaming of worship services will continue.

Vulnerable people – all people are welcome to attend worship. People who are vulnerable (aged over 60 with health conditions, or aged over 70) are encouraged to use their common sense. It may be prudent to seek medical advice to determine if it is safe to participate in worship, volunteering, or other church activities. If you family are concerned about you re-engaging at the church you may wish to discuss it with them so they don’t become angry toward the church (or even God).

Sickness – please remember the vulnerable in our community and if you are unwell in any way please stay home (even if all you have is a cold) and let us know so that we can support you.

Social distancing – people will be watching how we social distance, so please give a good witness to our neighbours and passing walkers by maintaining the 1.5m distance (including while queueing to enter) and avoiding hugs and handshakes (despite the temptation).

Entry & Exit – the main doors will be ‘entry only’ at the start of worship and ‘exit only’ at the end of worship. If you wish to move again the flow, please use the doors near the choir.

Seating – those who live in the same house can sit together. Chairs will be set up as singles and doubles. If you need more chairs you can drag them from nearby,

Morning Tea – we are not resuming morning tea at this time and there will be no access at all to the kitchen. Please bring your own bottle of water.

Small groups – small groups can resume face to face meeting in homes (provided they meet the 2sqm rule) or at the church. Small group leads should communicate their intentions to the Office so that we are aware of what the different groups are doing.

Craft – craft is resuming at the start of Term 3. There is not enough room (using the 4sqm per person limit) to allow all 250 members to be present at once, so there will be two sittings each week with cleaning in between.

Fit & Focused – Fit & Focused recommenced on Friday 26 June. Fit & Focused is limited to 20 people at a time (using the 7sqm per person limit for indoor fitness activities).

Playgroup – Playgroup is planning to resume at the start of Term 3.

Bourne Youth & JAM – our two youth groups are planning to resume at the start of Term 3.

Other Activities/Ministries – please contact the Office for information and watch this space for further developments.

We thank you for your patience and encourage you to continue staying in touch with one another however you feel most comfortable. Thank you for how you are seeking to care for each other, for the continued connection and the worshipping of God in new and different ways.

 

 

UPDATE 31/05/2020

THE CHANGING PATH OUT

The government has released a Road Map for lifting restrictions in Stages. Since the release, they have made refinements and alterations. The Synod Crisis Management Team are preparing information to help congregations to plan for moving into Stage 2. Before any congregation moves into partially reopening under Stage 2, they must complete the government COVID Safe Plan. So what does this mean for our own church community?

Stage 2 – Commencing 1 June

Mandatory – social distancing regulations, hand washing, signing in and out of the building and cleaning between activities at the church are government requirements for all activities at the church.

Vulnerable people – people who are vulnerable due to health conditions, or age (over 70 years) are strongly encouraged to seek medical advice to determine if it is safe for them to participate in ministry, missional or other activities.

Government COVID Safe Plan – must be completed online by each congregation, before reopening under Stage 2. We have not yet done this for WPUC, so cannot yet move to Stage 2. We hope to complete this by Friday 5 June.

Worship – churches will only be able to have 20 people maximum at worship. This isn’t enough to allow us to resume face to face worship, so Church Council has decided that we’ll wait until Stage 3 before the congregation returns to the building for worship services. Live streaming of worship services will continue.

Small Groups – our church wide study commences after this date. Small groups of up to 10 people are able to operate face to face in people’s home (provided they have a big enough space to meet government requirements). Small groups of up to 20 people will also be able to meet at the church once the COVID Safe Plan is completed. Small groups leaders should communicate their intentions to Laurena, as it’s important tea there to the correct number of people on sit at one time and Laurena can then manage the bookings.

Other ministries/activities – most other ministries and activities will not be able to resume in face to face format yet due to Stage 2 restrictions on numbers. Leaders of these activities who have imagined creative ways to recommence ‘in person’ activities are invited to contact David Hoffman to discuss their options.

We ask that all communications around the activities of the church be copied into Laurena via the email contacts on the last page of this newsletter to ensure all the people that need the information are getting it. In a time where face to face connection is limited, information can get lost and we would like to ensure that everyone is being considered as decisions often need to be made quickly.

We thank you for your patience and encourage you to connect with one another however you feel most comfortable. Please remember the vulnerable in our community and if you are unwell in any way please stay home and let us know so we can support you.

Thank you for how you are seeking to care for each other, for the continued connection and the worshipping of God is new and different ways.

 

 

UPDATE 24/05/2020

THE PATH OUT

While church will remain ‘online’ for Stages 1 and 2 there are more opportunities for us to connect in small groups face to face. It is important that we remember our vulnerable and older members of our congregation during this time. It has been advised by Synod that those in this category are strongly encouraged to seek medical advice to determine if it is safe for them to participate in ministry and missional activities.

Stage 1 (Current) – allows us to meet with a maximum of 10 people ensuring we adhere to social distancing restrictions (1 person per 4 square metres). The church through this phase will continue to be closed with out staff working from home. For those who do access the church there is a ‘sign-in’ sheet. The purpose of this is to know who has been in the building in the vent of anyone testing positive for COVID-19. This will allow for anyone who has been in contact with that person to be contacted quickly and easily. Please ensure you sign-in and out when on site and adhere to social distancing regulations along with good hand hygiene.

Stage 2 (Commencing 5 June) – allows us to meet with a maximum of 20 people ensuring we adhere to social distancing restrictions (1 person per 4 square metres). The commencement of this stage coincides with our church-wide study. This opens the opportunity (fort has with large spaces) to have face to face gatherings, or run their small group from the church (if space is an issue). If this is something you would like to do please ensure all communications go through Laurena, as it is important we adhere to the correct number of people on site at one time and Laurena can then manage the bookings. Signing in, social distancing regulations and hand washing will still apply during Stage 2.

During Stage 1 and 2, Bourne will continue to be offered online via Zoom. Messy Church and Sunday Church will continue to be live streamed. When Stage 3 is announced we will look at lifting restrictions around church hall hire, Playgroup, Fit & Focused and Thursday Craft.

We ask that all communications around the activities of the church be copied into Laurena to ensure all people that need the information are getting it. In the time where face to face connection is limited, information can get lost and we would like to ensure that everyone is being considered as decisions often need to be made quickly.

We thank you for your patience and encourage you to connect with one another however you feel most comfortable. Please remember the vulnerable in our community and if you are unwell in any way please stay home and let us know so we can support you. Thank you for how you are seeking to care for each other, for the continued connection and the worshipping of God in new and different ways.

 

 

UPDATE 26/03/2020

“SEE I AM DOING A NEW THING!” Isaiah 43:19

Despite the unprecedented rush towards isolation which the coronavirus (COVID-19) has presented us with, there remains a very real and human need for social connection. This provide the church of God with an incredible opportunity to find new ways of connection, new ways of bringing Jesus to others. Although the following programs are suspending their physical meetings, each has its own unique opportunities to forge new ways of reaching into the community with the grace of God.

Messy Church: Exploring ways of taking Messy Church into people’s homes, with online celebration (worship) and home devliered craft kits.

JAM: Considering creative ways of playing games online and staying connected by phone.

Bourne Youth: Considering creative ways of playing games online and staying connected by phone.

Momentum Youth Camp: Exploring ways to offer online engagement with the speakers, worship and games.

Thursday Craft: Planning for how people can continue to connect with their friends at Craft, through the Facebook page and by encouraging phone calls among the groups for each craft.

Fit & Focused: Investigating online opportunities to facilitate exercises, and collecting email addresses to enable communication.

Playgroup: Investigating ways to deliver Playgroup online, with home delivered crafts.

Pastoral Care: Although the Pastoral Carers Gathering for Sunday 29 March has been cancelled, the Pastoral Care work of the congregation will go on unbated. Pastoral Care is what all of us (what you) are already doing for others in the congregation, by expressing that we care for one another. In this season we’re encouraging every member of our congregation to ring 5 people from our fellowship each week.

 

 

UPDATE 22/03/2020

WORSHIP: CHURCH OR HOME?

Worship is vitally important in our Christian life and witness as disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ. Worship uplifts, centres and refreshes us for the journey. The thought of life without the sustaining corporate fellowship with God found in Sunday worship is confronting at the least. The decision to withdraw due to the threat of the Coronavirus is therefore a difficult one.

Rest assured that we, your church family will do all we can to facility continued connection and engagement with our worship.

We ask if you answer YES to ANY of the below questions to stay home and connect with our worship online and through the Church At Home pack.

  • Is anyone in your family being tested for the coronavirus (COVID-19)?
  • Could you or have you been in close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus?
  • Do you or any member of your household experience symptoms of fever, coughing, sore throat and shortness of breath?
  • Have you returned from overseas since Sunday 15 March 2020?
  • Do you or any member of your household suffer from a chronic health condition or have frail health?

If you have answered NO to ALL of the above questions, we would love you to come here to Sunday worship.

 

 

UPDATE 08/03/2020

LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS

As Christians we have a place to go for any and all crises, including health issues like the Coronavirus. That place is described in the word of God, which reminds us where to put our hope. For believers, this is a good day to remember that our hope is not in what we save or even in our physical healthy. Neither the markets nor our current health status provides the source of our identity. Psalm 20:7 reminds us: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”

God also asks that we not be foolish. There are things that we can do to help protect the health of ourselves and our community. We have put in place changes to our serving of Holy Communion, with individual serving cups as an example of one of these precautions.

I would like to update you on the situation regarding coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the current advice from the Federal Government.

You would be aware of the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus originating in mainland China. While at this stage the number of affected people in Australia is small, we all need to use wisdom and follow basic guidelines to protect those around us who are most vulnerable. Information can be found at health.gov.au and at health.sa.gov.au.

Step we are taking here at Westbourne Park Uniting Church to care for our community, especially the most vulnerable include:

  • Practising good hygiene, washing our hands regularly. For example, cover a cough or sneeze with a tissue or the crook of your arm and wash your hands afterwards.
  • Holy Communion preparation and service will not involve individual glasses.
  • We encourage everyone to greet one another without physical contact, keeping in mind that we are seeking to protect the vulnerable of our congregation.
  • Avoid spreading infections to others by staying home if unwell. As always, please advise us so we can support you pastorally.
  • If you have travelled overseas, please check government requirements regarding isolation instructions. We kindly ask that you consider your personal situation and use wisdom regarding church attendance. If you choose not to attend, please advise us so we can support you pastorally during this time.

If you have any questions about coronavirus disease, you are encouraged to call the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080.

Ultimately, even as we pursue preventative measures and exercise wisdom in keeping ourselves and loved ones safe, our faith and security is in Jesus Christ. We pray His promise of protection over you and your family. Let’s also pray for those affected around the world, and that the virus will be quickly contained and conquered.

One final note to emphasise, this information should not alarm or heighten any distress you may have surrounding recent developments of the novel Coronavirus. Rather, our desire is for you to be informed and known that our heart is to protect and ensure the safety of all, especially those among us who are most vulnerable, so we can continue to worship together.