FURTHER BMBC COVID-19 COMMUNICATION FROM PASTOR DAVID
Hi church family,
Since I communicated with you on Tuesday, further directives from government and health authorities have been given along with additional developments at many different levels across our community, country and world. Our church leadership has also met again via phone hook-up. As a result we have made the decision, effective immediately, to no longer hold services where people gather together on either site until further notice. We will, however, be providing an online service from Beaumaris site on Sunday with only our technical ministry team and a few other people assisting in the service present in person, but with as many of you as possible present via the online link through our website. The details of what you need to do to access this are outlined below.
Let me first, however, state the three over-arching reasons why we have taken this step. Firstly, our government and health authorities have as of yesterday morning, placed a ban on indoor gatherings of 100 people or more. It is important that we play our part, along with others, in limiting the speed of the spread of this virus. Secondly, we are also making a statement of care in this decision, communicating that we as a church place a high value on people and their health, particularly those who are vulnerable, elderly or who have other health issues. Thirdly, the leadership team recognise that the degree of safeguards and restrictions we would need to implement as part of even a reduced number of people gathering, to both run and attend a service would become impractical, if not impossible.
The content of the streamlined service that you will be able to access online will involve communication, prayers and bible reading, a message, and a limited amount of musical input. It is important to us that even those who might feel like they haven’t embraced online technology up to this point are given assistance to do so, and Pastors Andy and Tom will be facilitating a team of people that assist those of you that may need that over coming days and weeks. The giving of your offerings can also be done online, and we encourage everyone who gives as part of our services usually to transition to electronic giving (the church bank details are as follows: Beaumaris Mordialloc Baptist Church CBA Mentone BSB 063 144 A/C 1055 4980).
On Sunday, instead of driving to the church
building for church, you simply need to visit our church website http://www.beaumarisbaptist.org.au
using a computer, phone or tablet and follow the links there to watch the
service online or listen to the podcast.
Alternatively, follow this link directly to the church YouTube channel to view any service videos: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkfEaylt_HyIGgRIntQLuBA/
I want to particularly acknowledge the work being done behind the scenes by our technical team to make this a reality.
I want to also communicate to you that our pastoral and ministry teams will be active through this season, functioning in different and diverse ways. The great challenges faced in the present situation provide great opportunities for ministry.
PRAYER: I met yesterday afternoon with our prayer ministry leader David, to begin to plan the preparation of prayer focuses and resources for you through these times. Prayer focuses and resources will be available in the weeks ahead.
OUTREACH: Pastor Andy, as our outreach ministry leader, has provided a resource to use with others around you in your immediate community that reaches out to them with God’s love and practical care at such a time as this (also attached to this email).
CHILDRENS, FAMILIES AND YOUTH: Pastor Michelle is preparing resources for families to use with their children, and Pastor Tom is developing ways for youth to connect in different ways through this season.
SENIORS: Pastor Andy is consulting with Dorothy and Juney to provide increased ministry and care to Seniors into the days ahead.
SMALL GROUPS: I, along with Christine and Gary, will be providing resources for our small group leaders and facilitators so that our small groups can connect with one another in creative and caring ways through these times.
CONNECTING AND CARING: And of course, our connecting and caring ministry across the church family, which I will be overseeing, will play a vital role at such a time as this in people’s lives.
Ministry will go on, and in many cases be more important than ever, at the moment and into the days ahead. I will communicate weekly with you as a church family in this way instead of our regular newsletters you would receive at our services.
I will also be praying and trusting that you continue to know the peace of God that passes all understanding, and look forward to sharing further with you on Sunday and beyond as we seek to connect together online.
BMBC COVID-19 COMMUNICATION FROM PASTOR DAVID
Hi church family,
I spoke on Sunday about the measures and plans we have put in place as a church in the midst of all that is unfolding in our community, country and world, and now want to update you further on these things as well ensuring that those who were not present on Sunday are fully aware. I expect to update you further on Thursday, and perhaps even on Saturday, as from day to day the situation can change. We will use multiple forms of communication and care, including through our small groups, email, the creation of a closed church family facebook group, our church website, and good old fashioned phone calls for any who may not be connected through any of the other ways.
These are unprecedented challenges that we are facing, and I want to assure you that the church pastoral and leadership teams are doing all we can to care well for all people and communicate well with all in the church family, and are taking advice from both the health and government authorities alongside the Baptist Union of Victoria to guide all of the decisions we make.
Our leadership team met last week, and will be meeting again via phone link-up this evening, while I met with Gary and Christine as a small group leadership team early this morning. In addition, a specially formed taskgroup consisting of Paul Ratten, Malcolm Garnham, David Alabaster and Rob Jarvis met with me on Sunday evening and are seeking to implement appropriate ways of using technology to bring services to people through livestreaming as soon as is practically possible. It is our hope to have that in place for this Sunday, but accessing appropriate equipment is proving as challenging as accessing toilet paper at the present! I will communicate again to confirm developments there one way or the other before Sunday
What steps have we taken thus far?
- We have introduced a new way of greeting one another through elbow or toe bumps instead of handshakes or hugs
- We have put safety signs and sanitiser throughout our church building foyer, rooms, halls and toilets.
- We initially removed food of any kind as a part of church morning tea ministries, but have now stopped morning tea as a whole including tea and coffee
- We have changed the way the offering is collected in our services and encouraged people if they are not already doing so to switch to electronic giving so as to ensure consistency in giving even when we may not be able to gather together in the same way (the church bank details are as follows:
Beaumaris Mordialloc Baptist Church CBA Mentone BSB 063 144 A/C 1055 4980)
- We have cancelled the Easter Community Festival at Mordialloc site
- We have reviewed all of our ministry areas, and either taken extra preventative and precautionary measures or cancelled the meetings of groups indefinitely. This includes as of this afternoon cancelling our playgroups across both sites indefinitely following the recommendation from Playgroup Victoria today.
As far as our services, the situation is constantly changing, and while we fall under the 500 people recognised as a mass gathering, we expect gatherings of smaller sizes to be unable to take place into the days ahead at some point, probably sooner rather than later. We also recognise that already there are both those who are unable to gather as they usually do either because they have lower immunities than most or because they are uncomfortable in the current environment in doing so. It is important that we care well for everyone and are respectful of all in this, recognising that there will be a variety of different perspectives people have and choices people make.
At this point in time, our services will continue for those who choose to come, albeit in scaled back ways, but we also recognise and respect those who choose not to come, and are developing a comprehensive plan that is proactive in looking at ways that we can continue to help people stay connected, be well cared for, and be receiving spiritual nourishment.
It is important that everyone, whether continuing to gather with others or not, continues to hear from God, and my message this Sunday, which we encourage everyone to listen to either via the planned livestream at 10 a.m. Sunday or the podcast available from lunchtime Sunday, will be from Psalm 46 on ‘The shadow of fear and uncertainty”
At our streamlined services from this Sunday onwards, we will also be proactive in encouraging those who come to practice ‘social distancing’ by leaving a gap of a few chairs distance between them and others.
Above all, can I encourage us to do three things.
Firstly, let’s make sure we care well for one another as well as others around us in the wider community. The current challenges facing people present a great opportunity to live out our core values of ‘caring for all people’ and ‘looking beyond ourselves’.
Secondly, let’s make sure we still connect and communicate well with one another, albeit in different ways, over this season. When we may not be able to all meet together in the same ways, we can still all connect and communicate in other ways with others in the church family.
Thirdly, let’s make sure we remain connected to God. While we will be hearing many updates and messages from the media, let’s not neglect what God wants us to be anchored in as His followers. Be prayerful, and let’s continue to trust God in all things and see God at work even in the midst of all the challenges around us and before us.