Our team has been seeking to find ways that we can resource congregations in maintaining connections across their groups.
While we acknowledge that some people have been good at maintaining bulk communication within their congregations, some consideration about how congregations may maintain personalised contact with their members and people that are connected to their activities is important at this time.
The situation with regards to government regulations is one that is rapidly changing, but our responsibility to act with proper care for ourselves, our families and our communities remains a constant. To update Church Councils and Ministers with the changes announced on April 26, we have worked with Culture of Safety team to produce the following document for consideration: Implications to ministry with changes to regulations regarding COVID-19.
As of Monday May 18, we have been able to reopen our worship centres as long as we prepare a COVID Safety Plan. There are a number of issues congregations will also need to address in this space, so we have worked with the Culture of Safety team to produce the following document Health and Safety Guidelines as Restrictions Ease.
We have also received some queries regarding the particular needs to consider if re-opening an op shop in the life of the congregation, and we have worked with the Culture of Safety team to produce a set of guidelines: Op Shop Health & Safety Guidelines as COVID 19 Restrictions Ease that would need to be considered in addition to the approval self-approval process for the re-opening of worship centres.
We have also provided some commentary on the practices of singing and playgroups in our Additional Safety Information (28 May 2020) and also prepared a poster template (PDF, 237kb) that may assist congregations in meeting their needs.
If you would like further assistance or feel the need for further guidelines, contact Rev Dr David Ferguson.
We would like to invite you to consider how valued aspects of your worship life may be incorporated within the dispersed life of our congregations. One issue that is arising is the multiple uses of our electronic devices, the fact that they maintain multiple connections and the fact that they are often set in home offices or other shared spaces in the home mean that it may be difficult to feel the sense of connection in worship.
One congregation is committing to all dress as if they are going to church and to set up prayer stations including key elements of their life together (such as a Christ candle or Bible) at the places where they are virtually gathering.
Another congregation has found a blessing in having a Zoom based service as they have used their cameras to have a virtual morning tea and visit to each other’s home. A team of workers is currently considering having a virtual dinner party on an evening where they will share with each other and their families.
This invites us all to consider if our congregations have valued worship practices that we may be able to commit to sharing together even when we are not able to gather. Is there a common song, prayer or activity that each of our congregations may be able to commit to engaging with at a particular time as a sign of solidarity in these changing times?
One of the issues that is found in many places is people who have difficulty with both reading and the use of technology to connect.
One suggestion that has arisen has been that people create a shortened liturgy suitable for use over a voice call.
Our suggestion would be that this be simplified and shortened to fit into a 20 minute format and contain:
If there are other groups that would like to be similarly facilitated or for further information, please contact:
Dr Elaine Ledgerwood
Presbytery Minister- VET Sector
Rev Dr David Ferguson