LCA/NZ members have ‘risen to the occasion’ amid unprecedented community restrictions due to the COVID-19 crisis, say the church bishops.
All churches in Australia and New Zealand were closed to public worship, group gatherings and meetings by government orders in late March. The ban was put in place as part of measures to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives. Since that time rules for holding funerals (a maximum of 10 people) and weddings (a maximum of five people) and for using church venues for pre-recording and live-streaming worship services have been clarified.
Church members, leaders and pastors have employed technologies such as internet video conferencing and social media platforms to worship, remain connected, provide pastoral care and share resources, while stepping up the use of communications such as email, telephone, mail and letterbox drops.
LCA/NZ Bishop John Henderson said he was heartened by the response of church leaders to the current crisis. In a COVID-19 eNews bulletin to pastors and congregational leaders on 15 April, he said, ‘I write today in appreciation for the work you are doing to maintain congregational life and help your congregations flourish under difficult circumstances. The bishops want to encourage you, and they give thanks for the way the LCA/NZ has risen to the occasion.’
On 31 March, in an eNews to LCA/NZ members, he said: ‘It is heartening to see all this energy and resourcefulness. I want to affirm this activity – thank you! – and our renewed commitment to continuing worship and pastoral care, keeping the church open in people’s hearts using the means we have available to us at home.’
With people unable to make regular offerings via the Sunday collection plate, there has been a record uptake of the LCA’s Regular Electronic Giving (REG) direct debit facility. For more information on REG, click here.
For the latest information on the LCA/NZ COVID-19 response and to receive regular LCA eNews updates, including further COVID-19 communications, go to www.lca.org.au/covid-19
For resources especially created for this season of isolation, visit www.lca.org.au/churchhome