making disciples of Jesus
While the whole situation with Covid-19 remains fluid, as we have seen with its drastic re-emergence in Victoria, we are aiming to resume in-person services for most people on Sunday August 2nd. To enable this there will be some changes to the way we gather and the services we offer – and we will need your help!
Some more details…
The Deloraine Anglican church exists to make disciples of Jesus, building for eternity. Regardless of what else has gone on in the world, Jesus is still the head of our church and has still given us the same disciple-making mission. The strategies that we have used in the past to be active in this mission may need to change, and the strategies that we use in the future may not even be recognisable yet – but we are confident that God is still at work in and through us.
It’s not just us who have had to change. The COVID19 pandemic has changed our world. Lockdowns, social distancing, economic downturns, fear of getting sick, fear of death, inability to travel interstate let alone overseas. These are just some of the new things we are all coming to terms with. Some of these changes will be with us longer than others. Some things will return, others will not. What is certain is this experience has changed how we view the world. We need to move forward in light of this new situation and its ongoing effects on us all. As restrictions ease, we won’t go back into a pre-COVID world and a pre-COVID strategy, but forwards into a new normal of a post-COVID world.
Initially when the Tasmanian Government released its 3-stage timeline, Stage 3 restrictions were due to lift on 13th July. Obviously, Tasmania has made great headway in reducing the spread and risk of the virus. This has meant that restrictions have eased and lifted faster than we anticipated which is wonderful. However, as we’re seeing on the news this week, things can very rapidly change and whole swathes of Melbourne are now locked down due to the spread of the virus. Once the interstate travel restrictions are lifted it is highly probable that new cases of COVID19 will be detected in Tasmania. It is also not outside the realms of possibility that we could have another lockdown here or that more restrictions could be imposed on gatherings of people in Tasmania. Let’s pray it isn’t so, but as we move forward we simply must consider the risks still present and plan accordingly.
As I’m sure you’re aware, the Government has legislated a number of conditions on workplaces to allow them to re-open as safely as possible in the ‘new normal’. There are a number of these conditions that we must comply with, prior to reopening our Church and hall for any activities. This legislation requires us to implement a formal COVID19 safety plan, including at least:
1. Regular surface cleaning/disinfection
As you can see, things have changed and the requirements placed on our church in order to gather for worship are significant.
Please be aware, our restart may be delayed.
With all of the above in mind, we are setting out the following plan to resume in-person worship. It is our intention (subject to government health advice) to resume in-person worship from Sunday 2nd of August for the majority of people in our Parish in a COVIDSafe way. Of course, due to the ever-evolving nature of this pandemic this date may be delayed. In order to facilitate in person worship in the safest, simplest, flexible and most sustainable way there will be a few changes to our services.
1. Live Streaming will continue
There are 3 reasons why we will continue to have our worship services online – perhaps even permanently:
2. Soft Opening
As I communicated prior to going on leave, at 2pm on July 19th and July 26th we will hold an in-person gathering at St Mark’s. This is primarily to allow us to make sure that our systems are working and to adjust anything that we need to before coming back to worship on a regular basis in August. The service will be a repeat of the service that will be streamed on those Sunday mornings and is primarily aimed at those unable to access online worship.
Singing is a higher risk activity, due to increased droplet spread, however we have been advised that it is currently allowable in our services, provided there are no active cases of Covid-19 in our community. This will need to be checked each Sunday before our gatherings, and we will need to be prepared to be flexible about removing singing from our services if the need arises. Combined with the spread out seating arrangements, we won’t have a formal choir for the time being – this is something we will review in due course.
Similarly, Communion is a higher risk activity with regards to the spread of germs. This means that there will be changes to the way we celebrate communion (which I will communicate in due course), and I have made the decision that we will celebrate communion once per month in the current environment (further details below).
5. No tea and coffee post services
Initially there will be no food or drinks served following the services. We hope to add this in due time. In the meantime, as there are less restrictions on gathering in our homes, perhaps some of you might like to invite a few people to share a cup of tea or coffee and a biscuit at your house after our worship services.
6. Seating arrangement
In order to enable ease of cleaning, keeping people from different households 1.5m apart, and enabling a safe people flow, some pews have been blocked off, seating is indicatively marked on the open rows, and there are arrows on the floor to indicate the flow of movement. Please only sit where marked.
7. Limited numbers in the building.
With the 1.5m rule and 2m2 per person rule there are a limited number of people who fit in the church. What this number is, actually depends on the number of ‘households’ who turn up. If we get lots of individuals then less people fit, if we get more household groups of twos, threes and fours, then many more people fit. If we begin to have problems with too many people turning up (what a wonderful problem!) we will investigate a ticketing system of some kind.
8. Children’s and Family Ministry
Our services will continue to have a Children’s talk in them, and as families join in we will provide suitable activities to help develop the young people in our community as disciples of Jesus. We are working on a return for our Family Together ministry in the near future.
Reviewing and Changing Arrangements
This is just our first step back to in-person worship. We are expecting changes in governmental requirements over the coming weeks, months and year will require us to tweak and change our service times and seating arrangements, as well as the many other aspects of this plan.
Part of our new normal is going to be getting used to change that is forced upon us by the world we live in. And in fact, that’s not such a bad thing as we seek to be innovative and flexible in how we present the good news of Jesus to the world around us and help each other grow in our faith.
We need your help
If you are willing to help with various roles in services, or with the regular cleaning procedures, and are in one of the vulnerable categories (over 70, over 65 with an underlying health condition, over 60 and of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island descent), we need you to first speak to your doctor and get clearance to volunteer. It is our responsibility to ensure that you are not putting yourself at unnecessary risk. You will need to let Josh know that you are able and willing to help so that new rosters can be drawn up – we especially need help with cleaning, check-in (formerly sidesperson), bible reading and prayer rosters.
** Please note: you do not need a doctor’s clearance to simply come and worship with us**
Please let people know how to connect to us.
Please communicate with us, especially if you are feeling uncertain.
Please be patient with us – for some we will be moving too quickly, and for others this process will feel interminably slow.
Please stay home if you are feeling unwell at all – we don’t want to put our volunteers in a position to have to turn people away.
And most importantly, please pray for us!
Worship at Deloraine Anglican July / August
Sunday 12th July – 9:30am Live Stream
Sunday 19th July – 9:30am Live Stream & 2pm In-person ‘soft opening’ for those
unable to access online worship
Sunday 26th July – 9:30am Live Stream & 2pm In-person ‘soft opening’ for those
unable to access online worship
Sunday 2nd August – 9:30am Live Stream from St Mark’s
(finishing with Holy Communion for those present)
Wednesday 5th August – 2pm Holy Communion at St Mark’s
(for those unable to come on Sunday)
Sunday 9th August – 9:30am Live Stream Morning prayer from St Mark’s
Sunday 16th August – 9:30am Live Stream Prayer, Praise and Proclamation from St Mark’s
Sunday 23rd August – 9:30am Live Stream Morning Prayer from St Mark’s
At this stage we will make our 9:30am timeslot the regular meeting time, however this will also need to be reviewed once we get a better idea of how smoothly our morning runs.