29 May, 2020

We are well placed - 29 May

When will St David's Chruch be open for public worship again?

This question seems to be what many are interested in getting a straight forward answer. The most straightforward response is that we aim to be ready to hold public worship in mid-July.

The Queensland Government has set out in "Roadmap to easing restrictions" a three-stage process. We move to stage two on 12 June and stage 3 on 10 July. Under the current guidelines, public worship can go ahead under limited circumstances.

We have recently received notification from the Archbishop that "It might be possible for parishes to return to some form of gathered worship" in stage 2. In this circumstance, congregations are limited to no more than 20 people, and people will need to "register" to attend. When the 21st person arrives, they will not be allowed to join. Full participation in Communion remains suspended, and it would seem there will be significant limitations for some time ahead. You will have also heard in the media question about practices such as communal singing, etc.. The wardens and I believe that the requirements to proceed in stage two prevent us from offering public worship during this period.

We do believe that we can begin to offer public worship again following the stage three easing of restrictions on 10 July. Under these guidelines, we can have up to 100 people gathered for public worship following further strict guidelines. There is much for us to do before this date in preparation for us to meet the new context we will face. The following are just some of what is shaping our thoughts in preparation.

- Things will not just return to how they were. Perhaps the most obvious example is the need to provide worship both online and for those in the church. Many of our congregations will remain at risk and will not be encouraged to join gatherings with others.

- Some of those who would generally help lead worship will be in at-risk categories.

- The government may need to impose higher restrictions again if there are further infections in the community.

- We are preparing our church to meet hygiene and physical distancing guidelines.

- We are preparing our church for the necessary technical capabilities to stream worship.

- We continue to seek creative ways to keep our commitment to being a caring community as well as grow in our faith.

- What we choose to do from mid-July needs to be sustainable both within our human and physical resources.

We are well placed to meet these challenges. We are blessed with committed and capable people who partner with me in leading this parish. We remain committed to finding ways to move closer to God and one another that lead to abundant life.

God's Peace

Michael

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22 May, 2020

We are well placed

We are well placed!

Numerous voices are telling us about the uncertainty that lies ahead in many aspects of our lives. You may be wondering what that means for our Church. What will things look like in two months, six months or next year? I don't have that kind of Crystal ball, but we are well placed to meet the challenges ahead. I think with creativity, courage and God's leading; we can move into the future with hope.

For some time now, we have been preparing to be adaptable. Much of our Mission Action Plan has been formed and implemented with a fundamental understanding of living in rapidly changing times. What we have done over this time to shape our ministry towards being intergenerational, to develop our facilities and to encourage generosity are now proving beneficial. Beyond this, the ministry partnerships we are fostering and use of technology are also showing themselves as providential.

Let me give you a simple example of how our MAP has helped us be well placed. It is clear that when we return to worship together that we will not be able to use prayer or hymn books because of the infection risk they pose. We can be thankful that we have already installed screens that will become even more important to our worship on Sunday mornings.

It seems clear that in the medium term, our worship and ministry will need to adapt. We will need to find ways of living in a world where some can gather, but others will still find themselves at risk. Over the coming weeks, I will continue to share how we are trying to respond and adapt as a church. To express how we will seek ways of moving closer to God and each other for an abundant life.

God's Peace,

Michael Stalley

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