The global situation with COVID-19 has impacted the way that we operate as a church family at St Mark's. Now more than every we have become keenly aware that the "church" is not a building. We know this is an incredibly difficult time for many, emotionally, health-wise and financially. One thing that has been so wonderful to experience is the way people in our Church family have rallied together (by phone, email, videoconference) to work out a plan forward to serve and support one another in our faith.
This is an evolving situation and we will continue to adapt and pray for connectedness as a church family as we journey through this situation together.
To learn more about the Lutheran Church of Australia is responding read more here>> At St Mark's here's how we are adapting:
Services via Youtube
St Marks Dalby now has a Youtube channel! We have commenced a new online worship service released each Sunday at 9.30am (and look out for Easter service times) which is a video compilation of readings, music, service order and sermon - provided by the members of our congregation. (If you are rostered on for readings and prayers you are invited to participate - just contact Gayle 4662 2364 to find out how.) The videos stay on the YouTube channel so you can return to them if you wish. This is another avenue for Pastor Joel to deliver sermons to us, as well as thoughts and information, during the Covid-19 crisis, and into the future.
The link you need to the YouTube channel is https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC__v7f6S9oBaPpT3c9aFKMA/
If you go to this page and bookmark the page, or put it in your favourites, you will be able to come back to it to check for updates. Please subscribe to the YouTube channel.
Embrace calm and hope
As Christians we can show calm, hope, faith, positivity and leadership. We can celebrate the mighty power of our God and remember that all things are possible through Christ who strengthens us! Even in relative solitude we can pray, praise, sing and meditate on the Word! We can use the amazing gift of technology to email, phone, facetime and skype others! Share love and kindness to others however we can (given the physically limitations). Nothing is stopping us from writing old fashioned cards and letters. Let’s enjoy the blessing that a forced “slow down” (through self-isolation or home confinement) provides us. Embrace the opportunity to spend time with your immediate family or in solitude in devotion and prayer.
Stay informed but not alarmed
As a church community, we want to make sure that we are displaying kindness, hope and love, not fear and panic. Please avoid using and sharing unverified hoax information. Instead we encourage you to rely on Govt public health sources. Australian Govt: https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert Qld Govt: https://www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19 There is good information on these sites in relation to hand hygiene and practical measures we can take to help avoid the spread.
Look after the vulnerable
It is important that we as a church community make sure that elderly members and/or young families in our community are able to access grocery supplies, and that their practical, emotional and spiritual needs are being met. If you are in need or know of someone in need, please advise Gayle at Church office or an elder so that we can ensure you/they are provided practical support. If cooking or shopping for someone please take extra measures in terms of hand and general hygiene, follow any Government directives including physically distances of at least 1.5 metres (keep in mind these rules may change so keep up with the latest Australian/Queensland Government guidelines).
Cancellation of usual worship services, groups gatherings and meetings
We made the decision just ahead of the Government's instruction, to suspend worship services at St. Marks Dalby and Redeemer Macalister, (including Lenten Midweek services at St. Marks). We have also cancelled church activities where people gather such as youth, Holiday Fun Time, Cards night, ladies fellowship etc. In all of these decisions, the focus is on protecting those who are most vulnerable in our church family, which is those over 65 years of age, or those with depressed immunity. All of these groups are working on different ways to stay connected through telephone, facetime and other video conferencing means if possible. Each group is adapting in the way that works best for them. We are all on new learning curves! If you are usually part of one of these groups and you'd like to make sure you are on an email and/or phone list please contact Gayle in the office 4662 2364.
Stay connected with our faith community through online resources
While we are isolating, take the opportunity to explore the wonderful resources provided on line by LCA’s Grow Ministries www.growministries.org.au – the team is currently putting together some free resources for families to use – so keep an eye on their site for this. We are also working on putting free resources on St Mark’s website so keep checking back at www.stmarksdalby.com.au over the next few weeks as we will be adding material you can use at home. Pastor Joel's sermons are being made available on St Mark’s website www.stmarksdalby.com.au or can be emailed to you. There are also online sermons you can read provided for lay readers posted online with the church year themes and readings available at https://www.lca.org.au/worship/wpp/prepare-services/ so there is no need to feel disconnected. Of course, you can always turn directly to the Bible! if you know someone who doesn't have internet access, please let Gayle know and we can make sure printed copies of resources are delivered to them.
Add your family members to the St Mark’s email list
If you have a family member who does not receive St Mark's emails, or you'd like to join our email list, please advise Gayle at Church office and we can have you added. Email may become an important way that we can quickly and easily share information for our members.
Join the St Mark’s Facebook page
Have a look at www.facebook.com/stmarksdalby - this will be a place that we can update members on what’s happening and provide ideas for bible study, devotions, links to sermons and songs.
Don’t ignore symptoms and put others at risk
We know many members are willing to put others first and this means people tend to work through pain/illness as they don’t want to be seen as letting the team down. However, if you suspect you have symptoms, please respect the health of others and ensure you distance or isolate yourself as per health authority recommendations. The Government has been very clear. If you are sick for any reason, please stay at home. You can always help by praying while keeping a safe physical distance. Please do not attend worship or any other activities if you are unwell, or are worried about the risk of infection.
The LCA has provided the following prayer suggestion: Heavenly Father, bring healing and comfort for people around the world suffering from Coronavirus COVID-19. Speed their recovery and slow the spread of the virus. We thank you for the efforts of all those involved in treating, testing and caring for patients, and ask your protection over them as they go about their work. Give wisdom to governments around the world as they manage this outbreak. We ask for your peace when we are tempted to panic or become anxious about this disease. Help us to place our trust in you, knowing that our life is safely hidden in you and that you are the Lord of all creation. Enable us to show your love to others, sharing the hope we have in you, praying and caring for the sick and needy as best we can in the name of Christ. Amen.
Reach out - If you have any concerns, please contact Pastor Joel (4669 7061) or Gayle at the Church office (4662 2364).