Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update
Wednesday 18th March, 2020
Dear Church Family,
I wanted to give you an update regarding our response as a church to the advice from the Government and Department of Health about the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. If you haven’t yet heard, the Government has now placed a ban on indoor gatherings of 100 people or more and has called on all of us to employ preventative measures in our social interactions. In light of this and because of our commitment to honour the authorities (Rom. 13:1-7) and to care for the vulnerable (Mic. 6:8), we have been led to make the following decisions.
What’s the plan?
Sunday gatherings will be streamed online
Instead of our usual Sunday gatherings being held in our building, we will be providing a live stream of our services (with all its regular content) on Sunday at 9am and 6pm. Even though we might not physically gather together, we can continue to gather together spiritually; to sing, to pray, and to open up God’s word. We realise this isn’t ideal, and it’s certainly not the same as being together physically, but it won’t be forever. So, let’s open ourselves up to the opportunity before us; to worship God with our families, to be good citizens, and to help protect the most vulnerable among us.
You can access the live stream at https://bpcc.sermon.net/live at 9am and 6pm starting this Sunday and continuing on subsequent Sunday’s until further notice.
Ministries and events will be suspended for the time being
All of our ministries, including Kidz Church, Playgroup, Cadets, GEMS, Inspire, Friday Youth, Senior Social Groups, and Conversation Club have been suspended through to the end of Term 1. At this stage, we’d also advise against physical gatherings of our Growth Groups, but would encourage you to explore other ways you can remain relationally and spiritually connected to one another (consider using Zoom, Facebook, or Skype). We will continue to provide updates via email and social media regarding our events and ministries.
If you have any questions, contact the church office (firstname.lastname@example.org. 3882 1989) or your ministry leader.
What can you do?
Let me encourage you to do three things in the midst of this ongoing situation: look upwards to God, look outwards to others, and look inwards to your own heart.
Look upwards to God
Above all, let’s put our hope and trust in God. We don’t need to be scared or anxious. The coronavirus is a reminder that we live in a broken world and that our lives are fragile and fleeting. But it’s also a reminder of the good news that because of Jesus’ sin-bearing death and life-giving resurrection, we can have hope in the midst of all things because there is nothing and no one that can separate us from the love of God (Rom. 8). In the coming days, we will provide further resources to help you dive into God’s word and lean on God in prayer but for the time being, you may like to pray the prayer at the end of this letter.
Look outwards to others
As those who know the love of God and have eternal hope in Jesus, this is a historic opportunity for us to show Christ-like love, to serve each other and our wider community, and to care for the weak and vulnerable. So, let me encourage you to take a moment to look around you. Are there people in your life that may be thankful for a helping hand during this time? Could you offer to run errands or buy groceries for those who have high-risk health concerns? Could you send a note of encouragement? Could you check on the elderly people you know and ensure they have what they need? The tendency is to go into self-protection mode, but as the people of God and followers of Christ we are called to selflessness and sacrifice.
Look inwards to your own heart
Let’s be honest about our own feelings and fears in a time like this. If you feel particularly anxious or afraid, bring it God (1 Pet. 5:7) and make sure you share your feelings with someone else. It’s good and appropriate for us to lean on one another in a time like this. If you do need help or someone to talk to, let me encourage you to reach out to us, to a trusted friend, or to another member of our church family. We are not alone and now more than ever, we want to care for each other well and pray for each other regularly.
These are uncertain times and these are unprecedented measures, but I am so thankful that we have a sovereign God who has given us the unchanging truth of his word and the unfailing promise of his love. Let’s turn to him, let’s lean on one another, and let’s keep moving forward, for his glory.
Grace and peace,
Lord God and Heavenly Father,
We praise you for your sovereign care of your world. We recognise that all things are upheld and sustained by your powerful and loving hand. So, we come before you now and commit to you the global spread of the Coronavirus. Events like this remind us of our own limited control even of our own lives, so we ask for you to act mercifully in this situation.
Please halt the spread of the virus. Protect those who are especially vulnerable; heal those who are sick; prevent any further death.
Give wisdom to those who lead and govern that they may take every necessary step for the good of those who serve. Calm the hearts of those who are anxious and please grant your comfort to those who are isolated, or who have lost loved ones from the virus. Exercise your sovereign power in your great love and bring an end to this sickness, we pray.
And we pray for your people in this time. Please strengthen us to be salt and light in the world. May our lives be characterised by peace and not by panic; by faith rather than fear; by self-sacrifice and service rather than self-seeking; by the proclamation of the gospel to a world that desperately needs the good news of Christ. May our lives be a witness to the firm foundation of Jesus and his life-giving words.
Rescue our world from this sickness. Even more so be rescuing people from the terrible sickness of sin.
In the name of King Jesus, we pray, Amen.