Coronavirus email #7: Starting back with 3 services

It’s only been a couple of weeks since the ‘Roadmap to the new normal’ was released by the NT Government, outlining a 3-stage relaxing of Covid-19 restrictions. At the time we made the decision to wait until the guidelines for stage 3 were released, in the hope that we might be able to return to meeting physically in 2 services, at 9am and 5pm.

Unfortunately, ongoing physical distancing requirements mean we have too many people at St Peter’s to continue to meet in 2 services. This is true no matter how we arrange the seats (including more or less conservatively to allow for household groups) and it is true even allowing for overflow spaces at church. After extensive thought, prayer and discussion we have come to the conclusion that there is no way around it, and so from the 7th of June we will begin meeting in 3 services. 

Ordinarily if we made such a change there would be time to grieve what is left behind, as well as embrace what lies ahead. Unfortunately, we are hindered from properly farewelling our 2 gatherings for the same reason that we are hindered from continuing to meet in them: size. While our size is an extraordinary blessing from the Lord, it is also the reason we must undergo even more change as we return to physical gatherings. We hope you will recognise and mark this transition, allowing yourself time to feel grief, as well as opportunity.

After discussing the matter at Parish Council last night, we decided our 3 services will meet at 8.30am, 10.30am and 4.30pm. Changing the time of all 3 services (rather than adding an extra timeslot to our current 2) recognises this as a new beginning for everyone, as each service will be different to what we have offered in the past. 

We would like you to prayerfully consider which service to join and indicate your preference by filling in this simple survey. Once we have received sufficient replies, we will confirm with you which service we expect to see you at, before 7 June. 

You may have a number of questions and/or concerns, and rather than address them in the body of this email, we refer you our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

It is our hope that St Peter’s will continue to be a special church family, made up of people of different ages and stages and cultural backgrounds and giftings. We are excited to physically gather as God’s people, around his word, and encourage each other in Jesus. We will be praying for you as you digest this news, grieve what is past and look forward to the future. 

Love in Christ,

Joshua, Laura and Jenny

Coronavirus update #5: What is the new normal?

The NT government has today released a document called ‘Roadmap to the new normal’, which outlines a 3 stage plan to relax Covid-19 restrictions in the Territory. You can find a copy of it here

Please be advised that St Peter’s will be live-streaming both services again this Sunday and we will update you then on how this ‘roadmap’ will affect us into the future. As the stage 1 approach (from 1 May) includes a provision for having visitors to your home, with physical distancing, you might like to invite someone to watch the livestream with you. 

We are currently seeking clarity about physical distancing requirements for when churches are able to be open again (which is not expected before 15 May). On Sunday we will share our thoughts on when church services, Youthgroup, Playgroup, Bible studies and FRESH might be able to resume, as well as the way forward for food, kids church, communion and singing.

If you have other questions you would like answered, feel free to email Joshua (joshua@stpetersnightcliff.org) or Laura (laura@stpetersnightcliff.org) and we will address them on Sunday.

Thanks and blessings!

Coronovirus update #3: Pastoral Care Plan

Hello,

Thanks to so many who have been in touch since Sunday, to send encouragement about our first online services. It has also been wonderful to see church family caring for each other in many ways over the past week, and we encourage you to keep thinking creatively about how to do this. 

We are making plans for 3 levels of pastoral care: 

  1. How we care for those with specific needs,
  2. How all of us care for each other, and 
  3. How staff care for everyone. 

This email is primarily about the first aspect. 

How we care for those with specific needs

Thank you to those who have already offered to help others in need. Joy and David Brabham (jbrabham@bigpond.net.au / 0447 801 614) have agreed to coordinate this for our 9am congregation and Caleb Muggeridge (caleb.muggeridge@gmail.com / 0427 079 305) has agreed to do the same for 5pm. Their primary role will be receiving requests for help and offers of help, and connecting people.

Please get in touch with Joy and David or Caleb:

  • If you can provide emergency meals or if you need emergency meals. 
  • If you can grocery shop for someone who is unable to get to the supermarket, or if you need someone to grocery shop for you. 
  • If you can make a phone call to check in with someone and pray, or if you would like a phone call. 
  • If you have spare devices which we can offer those in need, if you are able to help connect devices to the internet and demonstrate how to use them, or if you need help getting or using a device in order to connect with church online. 

Note: in anticipation of our movements likely becoming more restricted in the coming weeks, we see the opportunity to provide technical help as a high priority. 

We have also decided to reactivate the St Peter’s prayer chain. If you would like to be part of this, please send your name and preferred phone number to Lynne Bigg (lbigg@bigpond.net.au / 0400 738 125). Being part of a prayer chain commits you to 4 actions: receiving a phone call, making a phone call, praying, and keeping the content confidential. Please contact Lynne with any prayer requests for the chain, whether or not you are a part of it. 

How all of us care for each other

In addition to caring for those with particular needs, we trust you will continue to look after each other and provide ways for others to connect with you. While a more formal system may be helpful in the future, we are thankful for an organic approach which already sees many calling, cooking, and checking in with each other. 

Please consider filming a short clip of you or your household for us to include in a supercut one Sunday. This might involve you simply saying hi, sharing a short encouragement or showing us how your household is coping with changed conditions. Please film in landscape mode and email to laura@stpetersnightcliff.org 🙂

How staff care for everyone

If you need help connecting with others in our church family, please reach out to myself or Joshua. It is our intention to contact every household in the church family in the near future, via a phone call from Josh or myself. We look forward to talking with you! 

That’s all for now. The website continues to be updated with the most recent information about services and additional ministries. 

Coronavirus update #2 – information for Sunday 22 March

By now you will be aware that we have made the decision to cancel our Sunday services at St Peter’s in response to the spread of the Covid-19 virus and in line with national guidelines. 

We know this is an uncertain time and many of us will be feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information we are consuming each day. We will endeavour to keep our essential communication as brief as possible, and direct you to the FAQs section of the website if you have further questions. 

What are we doing on Sunday?

This Sunday we plan to livestream a 9am and 5pm service. It will include prayers, Bible readings, a sermon, family news, parish council report and an interactive question / comment time. We have decided not to sing this week due to copyright and health concerns, though we intend to think creatively in the future about how to include music in our online gatherings. There will also be no Lord’s Supper this week.

Our plan is to start small and build on our livestream in the coming weeks and months. The model for our service will be similar to holiday church, where we are mindful of all ages being present. We trust you will be patient with us as we adapt to these changes and try out different ideas.

How do I access the livestream?

The livestream page of our website will have a link to our new YouTube channel.

If your present circumstances mean you will be unable to view this, please contact Joshua on 0421 235 055 or Laura on 0402 125 532 and we will help make arrangements for you. We expect to experience some teething issues as we all adapt to this new technology. If this happens to you on Sunday, please check our website for updates and an alternate plan to follow.

Who should I watch this with?

We encourage you to watch the livestream with other members of our church family. Our advice is to watch it with at least 1 extra person and no more than 10. We hope that households will watch it together and invite another group or some individuals to join them. See our website for suggestions about hygiene for those who host livestream gatherings.

Why should I watch it live?

While it may be possible to watch the service at a different time (or virtually join in with another church service happening around the world) we believe the experience of gathering ‘live’ with your St Peter’s family is of greater value. In these times of social distancing, relational bonds are increasingly important, and we encourage you to virtually lean in to your church family by setting aside the usual time you would attend church for viewing the livestream.

Our goal at St Peter’s continues to be to help everyone grow in Jesus. Our prayer is that we keep prioritising our Christian growth by valuing personal devotions, thinking creatively about disciple-making and evangelism and encouraging others in our church family. We recognise that caring for others in the present climate comes at a cost and we are all figuring this out together as events unfold. If you would like to offer to help with the many implications of these changes for our church family, please email admin@stpetersnightcliff.org

Air-con and solar panel pledge

At St Peter’s we want to help everyone grow in Jesus Christ. One way we do this is by meeting to encourage one another centred on God’s Word. I am convinced that air-conditioning our main building will not only make our church services more pleasant, but improve our ability to hear and respond to God’s word.

Air-con is not mandatory for church. It is not a godliness issue. Nor will it convert anyone. Rather, it is a desired extra on top of our regular ministry costs. The solar panels are environmentally responsible and will generate income for the church.

I want to invite you to prayerfully consider what you currently give to support the ongoing ministry at St Peter’s. If this is your church, I hope you regularly contribute financially to our church. Each year Jo and I review what we give to various ministries.

After that is sorted, could you additionally support either air-conditioning, or solar panels, or both? This is over and above your ongoing commitment to regular ministry costs.

Our parish council has researched options for air-conditioning and solar panels for almost two years, engaging Ashburner Francis as an independent consultant. Parish Council supports the consultant’s recommended solution, which will cost $15,800 for air-conditioning and $26,000 for solar. The estimated income at current rebates for solar is about $5,000 each year.

Jo and I have personally pledged $1,000 for each, and individuals from parish council have collectively pledged over a quarter for each. You can either put this pledge form in the offertory bags or give it to me personally. I will collate the total and parish council will decide whether or not to go ahead based on the pledges received.

Thanks in advance,
Joshua

Your Name

Air-con

Solar

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