Dear church,

This week we had another wonderful announcement from our state government leaders about the easing of restrictions in various places and ways, but as you might have further heard, unfortunately there was no easing of restrictions for places of worship at this stage. 

Places of worship are still limited to a 20 person limit, or if we seek to adopt the COVID-Safe industry plan, we can have up to 100 persons, but requiring 7 square metres of space per person if we seek to have singing (to give you an idea – St. John’s would only be able to have 31 persons total). The plan also means that there can be no mingling pre or post service, and no morning tea.  

So, in order to foster community (because you can have more persons than is probably practical in your home!) I would like to encourage each of you to gather as you are able, and willing to, in groups (both small and large) to participate in our online worship services. 

Maybe you could reach out to someone who you know is only joining via the phone (which will still be continuing), so that they can see how much of a beard I have grown over this isolation period as you watch together. 😊 

Or gather with those people in your engage group, or your contact group, or invite a friend or neighbour or family member to join you. Maybe you will gather as a group of only a couple, or gather a few families, but as you do, please be mindful of the current government guidelines around physical distancing and continual hygiene for the safety of yourself and our wider community. 

Just because currently we are not gathering together as an physical community in our worship centres, does not make us any less the church, because the church is you and me, the people of God. Which is why we say we don’t ‘go’ to church, but we ‘are’ the church – you are the church! 

So over these coming weeks, I encourage you to continue to be the church, showing Jesus love and grace to those around you and following His call to love God, love others and go and make disciples! 

In time, we will be able to gather together, and I pray, when we do, be able to share stories of people that have come to know Jesus through the Holy Spirit working in and amongst His church (YOU). 

May God Bless you as you continue to be the church! 
Pastor Ben Hentschke

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