Dear St Luke’s Friends,
Grace and Peace to you all. First, some wonderful news for our community. Council is very pleased to advise that Shaghek Qassabyan has been appointed as our Community Ministry Worker for 12 months at 16 hours per week. Shaghek will be working with newcomer families to provide support and to help build connections between the existing congregation and those Christians and other friends joining us from other places. Many of you will know her from Messy Church and other small groups in St Luke’s. Welcome Shaghek!
Changed arrangements due to COVID19 pandemic
As we find our way through these uncertain times, we are more than ever aware of the God who holds us in the palm of their hand, who comforts us in distress, and who gives us courage and energy to be the “salt” and “light” of the world, bringing hope and a sense of peace through troubled times.
We make these arrangements understanding that as we are now in a State of Emergency, government directions may require us to quickly make further changes. Please follow Government directions if they are in conflict with these St Luke’s plans.
To slow the spread of infection and to protect the vulnerable in the community, Council have made the following changes to our normal ways of gathering. Some of our people have already taken steps to quarantine themselves to protect themselves and others from infection, and we fully support and understand their decision.
Our strong message to you is that no-one is required to attend any gathering if they are not comfortable to do so. Each person needs to make their own decision about what is right for their situation.
At this stage, Sunday worship will proceed with the following changes:
- A shorter,reflective 30 minute service which will be recorded
- Attendees are recommended to keep a distance of 2 metres apart from one another, and we’ll be encouraging washing/sanitising of hands when you arrive.
- Suspension of Rosters. – there will be no welcoming/ushers/collection/communion tasks, so there are no ‘jobs’ that you have to come to do.
- No morning tea after worship at Church
Church Open Times during the week
The Church will be open for prayers on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings from 9:30-11:00am.
The prayer space in the Sanctuary will be available for people who wish to light a candle and pray. People are advised to keep the 2 metre (about 6 feet) distance and to observe all hygiene precautions.
Those St Luke’s people who are part of a small group that meets regularly are encouraged to support one another and make their own decisions about whether and how to gather. Could all leaders please advise the office of their plans in this regard on 5244 2997 or email email@example.com.
The Pastoral Care team will be checking in with those people not connected to a small group by phone on a regular basis. If you don’t belong to a group and would like to connect with the team, please contact the office on 5244 2997 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pastoral matters over this time will be co-ordinated by Barbara Murphy. Rev. Paul Stephens will co-ordinate arrangements relating to people who are in hospital. Paul can be contacted on 5244 2997 or email email@example.com.
Other ways to gather
A common life – prayers from wherever you are
Leaders are gathering resources we may use for daily prayers that we can commit to pray together even though we are in our own homes, at the same time each day, perhaps in the morning or at a mealtime. We will send these out soon. Your suggestions for prayers are welcome!
St Luke’s has two kinds of social media platforms – those that are “broadcast” platforms which share news from the church to the community, and those which allow us within the church to talk to one another in an online group.
Our broadcast platforms are:
These are the virtual spaces we will use to deliver sermon recordings and other messages.
Our group platforms are:
We will be hosting live gatherings in the Facebook group – please join in!
We are also exploring ways we can link people together by telephone, particularly if you don’t have the internet at home.
If you are someone who normally puts an envelope in the offering plate each week, we invite you to consider a different way to transfer funds if you are choosing to stay at home. This would enable you to still financially support our church community. We do understand that many of you may need to revise your giving in light of the economic shocks that are underway. If you would like to make any changes to your giving arrangements, please contact the office to be put in touch with our recorder Judy.
Weekly News Sheet
The weekly news sheet will be replaced by a short weekly bulletin with essential information only. Copies will not be printed and handed out at Sunday worship but will be emailed via our list. If do not already receive the news sheet via email, you can sign up here: http://eepurl.com/cF8cYb
Office Open Hours
Robyn will be working from home as much as possible and so the office will often have no-one there. The answering machine, post and email will be checked regularly.
The following regular groups have notified the office that their activities are suspended until further notice:
We have also been informed that the SacredEdge festival in Queenscliff will not run this year.
St Luke’s Preschool continues to operate as per Government advice.
Refugee support from the chapel will be co-ordinated between Rae Anderson and Shaghek on an as-needs basis.
Annual Congregational Meeting
The Annual Meeting due this month will be postponed, however the Annual Report including the Financial Report will be emailed or delivered (if possible). We will contact Presbytery as to how we should complete the business we would have discussed at the meeting. It is fairly clear that the Budget for 2020 will need to be adjusted in light of reduced income due to COVID19 impacts.
Finally, if you find that the social distancing measures mean that you have a little more time on your hands, you may like to volunteer to help keep the congregation connected and supported via phone calls, prayers, and practical help – this can include helping with online communication and gatherings. Please contact the office if you would like to help! Thank you to those who have already offered to help, we will be following up shortly.
Care for yourselves and others
I leave you with some wise words from Kirsten, who sends us a lovely box of organic veggies each week, about the simple things we can do to stay well mentally and physically:
Eat simple, clean foods – loads of fresh produce to boost your immune system. I’ve never been so excited about fresh garlic, ginger and lemon water 😉
Go quietly and potter – Time in the kitchen and garden. Fermenting, souping, juicing, cooking, digging and weeding. Or read that book. Minimising time on social media and news watching and doing things to keep yourself grounded minimises stress levels and keeps the immune system happy.
Spend time outdoors in nature – I truly adore sunlight, fresh air, cold ocean dips and time in the veggie patch. It reminds you of all the good stuff in the world!
Help someone – going forward will be isolating times for people. But we are all in this together. Can you do something to help others feel connected? I am a huge fan of leaving goodies at front doors with a little note of love. When we all work together – humanity shines.
Gratitude – It’s a time of great reflection on how as a society, we live, eat and walk through this world. There is so much to be grateful for and also so much room for change.
Go gently this week and spread kindness!!!
May you feel God’s calming presence in the coming weeks,
For Church Council