English & Bible Classes Are Being Suspended
Kia ora everyone 大家好
Class suspension – As the situation concerning Covid-19 has got worse over the last week, on advice from health specialists, we have decided to suspend the English classes on Tuesday until further notice. David and Barbara will be in touch with their own class about the ESOL Bible classes。
We are there to help – We want to keep in touch with our students. If you need help or advice then you can email, text or call your teacher, or email to me.
Stay in touch with other students – We ask students to make the effort to continue to keep up contact with other students that you have met in class. Isolation can be lonely for many people. If you know someone, then call them for a chat regularly. Isolation is only for stopping the physical close contact, but we can continue our emotional connection.
The St Georges church services are also going to be stopped until further notice. For more information about St Georges, visit the website.
We trust that sooner, rather than later, the virus will be controlled and we can meet again in safety and confidence.
Rose and the ESOL team.
As you can imagine, we’ve spent most of this week constantly keeping ourselves updated on the latest developments in the Corona virus situation, which is changing and unfolding by the hour.
At the heart of all our discussions is the crucial consideration of the well-being of all our Church community and not exposing anyone to unnecessary and avoidable risk. The main question in front of us, has been the decision of whether we follow the path of the UK and Australia in suspending Church services for the foreseeable future. It is a tremendously difficult decision, compounded by the reality that we have 4 services on a Sunday and one on a Wednesday, all of different congregational sizes.
With the Government announcement yesterday of new guidelines banning gatherings of 100 people (only a few days after setting it at 500) and with the huge emphasis on the need for us to keep a responsible ‘social distancing’, we are clearly faced with the need for decisive and responsible action. Experts define safe social distancing as being 2 meters apart for a maximum of 15mins. If we gather as church but ignore these guidelines, then we are being negligent with members of our own community and the community at large. Our complex reality is that at one and possibly two of our 5 weekly services this will not be responsibly workable.
With all of these dynamics in mind, we have very reluctantly decided to postpone our Sunday Church services until the situation improves to the degree, that we are no longer putting others at risk by gathering.
We recognise fully, that this will cause enormous sadness and disappointment for us all. Gathering as the people of Christ is core to who we are. It should be said that we have senior widely respected NZ health professionals in our community, who are all adamant that this is the only responsible course of action to take and other churches of our size have taken the same dutiful action. We also need to stress, that this is under constant weekly review and as and when the situation changes, we will not hesitate to resume our services.
In the meantime, we are taking an extremely positive and creative approach to the challenge of how we remain the wonderful community in Christ that St George’s unquestionably is. Life is always about how we respond to challenges and necessity is the mother of invention.
We are all being called to recognise that every aspect of how we do society has profoundly changed for the foreseeable future. For us as the people of God, let us pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance, on how we re-imagine what it means for us to be a community in Christ.
Here are some of the core ways we will continue to stay connected, worship and be nourished in Christ.
· Each week we will release a video that will include all the usual elements of our service of worship i.e Theme and liturgy. Confession, Reading, Sermon, Sung Worship, Reflection, Prayers and a liturgy of Holy Communion. There will be regular communications that give us all the opportunity to connect in different ways.
· We will form a Pastoral team of people to phone members of our community who may feel isolated, not familiar with technology and in need of care, both practical, emotional and spiritual.
· We will explore possible ways to keep the church open weekly for people to come and light a candle, pray or simply abide in the church for reflection. This will depend of course on any new directives the government issues that causes us to revise how we may enable this.
The most important task for all of us, is that we care for each other as the people of God and our wider community. We must mobilise and find new ways to support, enable, inspire and protect every member of our community. We firmly believe that God will be in this period of challenge and with the right response, we have an opportunity to become an even stronger community. In many ways we are in the same situation as the early church in the Book of ACTS. Our overarching vision for this time, is that when we do emerge from this, the Holy Spirit will have taken us all on a journey in which we feel even more deeply connected to God and each other, and have grown in ways we could never have imagined.
Please do not hesitate to contact us with any concerns or questions.
Grace and peace to you all
Co- Vicars, Josh and Gareth
Sadly we have decided to cancel the remainder of our Mainly Music sessions for Term 1.