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Latest News & FAQ’s from Baptist Churches of NSW & ACT: https://nswactbaptists.org.au/covid19/

Latest Update from Pastor Matt Kennedy

19.3.20

Dear Church Family,
In Parkes we are both a large and diverse community of believers, from many different backgrounds, jobs, and community interests. We have both strong and healthy people in our community who will be impacted by the Corona Virus very little, but we also have many within our church community who would be classed as being in the ‘High risk’ Category, and potentially could be impacted in a very big way. Given our diversity and strong wider community involvement, we also have multiple points of contact in the wider community. This is something that we need to be very mindful of as we also consider our wider social responsibilities.

Given the impact that this virus has had on the world wide stage, it is obvious that decisive pre-emptive action in limiting people from potential exposure to the virus has helped greatly in slowing the spread, or reducing the curve and impact of the virus on our communities. This is necessary to allow our health care groups to be able to deal with and medically treat the expected number of people who will be impacted by this virus.

With the latest advice from Australia’s Chief Medical Advisor and the Prime Minister, gatherings of over 100 people have been banned from meeting together, the Baptist Association have also sent out an advice.

“Currently, gatherings of 100 people or more are not permitted, and any venues hosting gatherings under 100 people need to facilitate a distance of 1.5m between attendees. Be prepared for that number to be lowered at any time. (For churches under 100 people) Given the pattern of COVID19 in other countries ahead of us in terms of infection rates, the more we can do, as soon as possible, to reduce the occurrence of transfer in the community, the better. Transfer happens most when people are in proximity to one another. Therefore, out of love for our communities, there is good reason to suspend gatherings and activities now.”

The Parkes Baptist Church Leadership Team had an emergency meeting last night (Wednesday 18th March), and have unanimously voted to follow the guidelines and recommendations of both the Government Health Expert and the Baptist Association in regards to this evolving issue of the Corona Virus. This being the case, it is with a heavy heart that I now advise all of our Parkes Baptist Church congregation that we will be ceasing all gatherings and ministry activities as of today until further notice. If we were to put a timeline on this situation, according to the Chief medical officer and the Prime Minister of Australia, there is the potential for churches to be affected in this way for up to six months. The Bible in Hebrews 10:24-25 say’s “24And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” This is why we are recommending that we do church in a different way, so we can meet together under a different setting, as specified below:

  • Morning and Evening services: Will no longer be meeting together physically in the church building’s. We will instead be organising an online presence, where we will record our Service/Sermon (in whatever format that may take) and will relay it out on a Sunday Morning at 10:00am and in the evening at 6:30pm. We we start this broadcast from Sunday 29th March. This will also be available for all people to access during the week. With these services we will also have available digital sermon outlines similar to the ones we use at the moment.
  • Kid’s Church: Will also no longer be meeting together, in line with the activities of the church. Instead there will be activities and lessons emailed out to the parents of the children for the kids to continue to do kid’s church, just in a different environment.
  • Tithing/Freewill Offering: While we as a church are doing things differently, we are still operating and have financial obligations to meet. We know that there are people who want to know how they are able to continue to give to God over the period of time that we are not able to meet together. We have a couple of options. The first option, that a number of our congregation already have in place is for you to direct credit your freewill offering to the church bank account. Details as follows: A/C Name: Parkes Baptist Church, BSB 082780, Account Number: 509868304. Alternatively for those who are unable to tithe electronically, please feel free to contact our treasurer Andrew Field (0428637554) as he will be organising a monthly pick up of your freewill offerings.
  • Small Groups/Bible Studies: are being advised to consider no longer meeting, in a physical sense, as of today; We are in the process of setting up a virtual licence for our Church (should be set up by the time you read this letter), where our Bible studies/small groups can continue in a virtual sense, online. We recommend that our Bible Studies/Small groups continue to meet in a virtual way. This will be through an online platform known as Zoom. We will send out details of this platform on how to access it in the next couple of days. If there are any Bible study leaders who would like to learn how to facilitate this, please contact either Nicole Williams (0402609489) or Suzi Hill (0405297563) who are happy to walk you through this process.
  • Ignite: will be meeting this Friday for an information session only, to explain to children and parents how we will do Ignite in a virtual way, through the platform Zoom. We encourage all parents with Ignite aged kids to consider this alternative avenue in how we do Ignite. As this virus isolates more and more of our community, we can see great benefit in our Ignite kids having this platform to continue to meet.
  • Playtime/Ladies Day Fellowship/SRE: have all been suspended for an indefinite period of time.
  • Visitations: Given seriousness of the virus and the restrictions that the virus causes (14 days quarantine) pastoral care/visitations will be more phone based for the next period of time. If you or a loved one is in need of pastoral care, please do not hesitate to contact myself (Matt) on 0417265222, our elder Dan Fredericks or our wider diaconate.

In closing, it is vitally important that we as individuals and as a church community as a whole, continue to build our relationship with God. Please continue to read your Bible, pray for and encourage one another by reaching out and contacting the people in our church, especially those who live alone during this time. As your pastor I also implore each of us to continue to put Sundays aside for God. Please consider taking up the options that we are working on having set in place for church as we do things differently. Please stay safe, be wise in what you do, and keep trusting in God. Remember no matter what it might look like, God is in control and He has a plan.

God Bless,
Matt Kennedy

If you have further questions, please contact Pastor Matt Kennedy on 0417 265 222 or by email:
mattk@parkesbaptistchurch.org.au

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