our church and coronavirus

21 March 2020 – This Sunday’s Sermon, Prayer Gatherings Cancelled

Dear Church Family,

I love you, Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Psalm 18:1-2

While we cannot gather together in our usual Sunday morning services, we can gather around God’s Word to worship the Lord who is our rock!

 

SUNDAY SERMON

The sermon will be loaded on to our YouTube channel tonight. Here is the link to our YouTube channel.

 

GATHERING TOMORROW IN SMALL GROUPS

The new mandatory social distancing measures announced by the Prime Minister have impacted some of our Growth Groups. This afternoon our Growth Group Leaders have been working out how each group can meet. Your Growth Group Leader will be contacting you to let you know what the plan is. Please be patient as the situation has been changing on nearly a daily basis. We will get there!

 

SUNDAY EVENING PRAYER TIMES AT ELDERS – CANCELLED

The prayer times that were planned for tomorrow evening have been cancelled. We will be evaluating this week how we can engage in prayer.

We love you. And more importantly, God loves you! So lets encourage each other to continue focusing on our great God.

The Elders

18 March 2020 – Youth, Kids Club & Playtime Cancelled

To all families connected with Eastside Youth, Kids Club and Playtime ministries,

In light of further restrictions on indoor gatherings announced by the government and health authorities this morning, we have made the decision to cancel Eastside YouthKids Club and Playtime ministries until further notice.

While we are sad to end the term prematurely, we believe this is the best way to support the efforts of our government and health authorities to contain further spreading.

We will continue to update you regarding plans for next term. At the moment everything is changing on nearly a daily basis. We expect by the end of the upcoming school holidays we will have a much better idea of what term 2 will look like.

You and your family are important to us. We are praying for you at this time. Should you require any assistance or have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us at office@eastside.org.au.

May God bless you,

Andy Robbins
Pastor for Youth & Kids

17 March 2020 – Alternative Plans for Sunday

Dear Church Family,

While our current circumstances are changing on nearly a daily basis, praise God that He never changes! The Psalms reminds us that God is our rock in times of trouble: “God set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand” (Ps 40:2).

Having such a God requires a response. Jesus says that people who listened to his words and put them into practice were like a man building his house “who dug down deep and laid foundations on rock” (Lk 6:40). At a time like this when staying informed is important, let’s make sure that we’re filling our heads and hearts more with the Good News than the Headline News. May the word of Christ dwell in us richly!

 

ONE LOCATION FOR ALL UPDATES

We will continue to send emails like this. But our church website now has a new page for all coronavirus related communications. When you visit the website, a pop-up window will appear. Click on the read more button and you’ll be taken to this page. Alternatively, you can click here to go directly to this page.

 

THIS WEEK

All Discipleship Groups (Growth Groups and Building Foundation Groups) will meet this week as usual. At this stage Eastside Youth is still on, but we are monitoring the government’s decisions carefully. If anything changes, we’ll let you know ASAP.

 

SUNDAY SERVICES CANCELLED

As already communicated, all services for this Sunday are cancelled. We are doing this out of a desire to support the efforts of our government as we seek the good of our community – particularly the elderly and vulnerable. But this does not mean the church is cancelled! The church is not a building or an event but a people.

 

PLANS FOR SUNDAY

We are encouraging all Discipleship Groups to meet on Sunday. The elders have suggested that up to two groups might decide to gather together on Sunday for prayer, worship and to listen to God’s Word. The Sunday sermon will be posted on our Eastside YouTube channel for all groups to watch and discuss.

If you and your spouse attend different groups, then chose one group and attend as a family. We want all families worshipping together!

If you’re not part of a Discipleship Group, now is the time to sign up! Please click here to get connected into a group.

 

PLANS FOR SUNDAY EVENING PRAYER

On Sunday evening, the homes of various elders will be opened up for prayer. We will advise you of the locations and times. Our prayer time last Sunday evening was a great way to direct our hearts towards our all-powerful God and brought great peace and hope.

 

SPEAKING TO OUR CHILDREN

A time like this provides valuable opportunities to have gospel conversations with our children. Parents, remember that God has appointed you to disciple and shepherd your children, so use the moment! Click here to check out some ideas on where to start.

 

A LOVING PRESENCE IN A TROUBLED WORLD

Jesus said: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (Jn 13:35). This is a time for thoughtful and practical love that points to Jesus. This week the pastoral care team have been linking up the older members of our church with younger members to check in on them and possibly run errands on their behalf. Why not pray and look around! Who do you see? Who comes to mind? Call a brother or sister. Check up on your elderly neighbour. Let’s be a loving presence presence in a troubled world!

We love you all dearly.

In the strong arms of our mighty God,

Daniel Walker
(on behalf of the elders)

16 March 2020 – Sermons on Youtube  

Dear Church Family,

Part of our response plan was to start uploading Sunday morning sermons on the Eastside youtube channel.

You can find the sermon from yesterday below.

13 March 2020 – Sunday Services Cancelled 

Dear Church Family,

How good to know that the Lord Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega as we humbly entrust ourselves to him at this time.

The Bible cautions us against both alarmism and complacency. We should not resort to panic—we are children of the King! Neither should we be thoughtless in how to respond wisely as we submit to our government and seek the flourishing of our community. This is a balance we are seeking to strike in how we respond as a church family.

In light of the government announcement today, and consistent with the plan developed by the elders, below is a further update.

 

SERVICES THIS SUNDAY: GO AHEAD

We will be having all of our regular services on Sunday. But we will be doing this with a number of key changes.

  1. If you are feeling unwell, we would encourage you to seek appropriate medical care but out of love for the church family not attend.
  2. Greeters will not be hand shaking or hugging on Sunday. Although this may seem extreme, it is good for us to begin to practice what the government are encouraging.
  3. Although we will remember the death and resurrection of Jesus, there will be no communion bread or juice distributed.
  4. Eastside Kids check-in will be managed by someone from the kid’s church team so that many hands are not touching the iPads.

 

SERVICES FROM NEXT SUNDAY: CANCELLED

As of next Sunday (22 March), we will cancel our regular services for a period. Although our services are not over 500 people, we believe that this is a wise and loving response as we support the efforts of our government.

In place of our regular services, Discipleship Groups (Building Foundation or Growth Group) will become our primary form of gathering. We will also be recording a weekly sermon that will be circulated on our Eastside youtube channel.

A couple of reminders to prepare for this period:

  1. If you are not yet part of a Discipleship Group, we’d encourage you to do this! Below is a link for you to get connected into a group.
  2. If you become sick, please send a message to Pastor Josh (who is the care pastor) so that we can pray and care for you.
  3. Think and pray about how you can love one another and your neighbour well during this period. Here are a few examples: 1) check in regularly with your neighbours, 2) have someone over for a meal, 3) set up a text group within your Discipleship Group; 4) ask elderly friends or neighbours if they need any practical help.
  4. Adopt an elderly person. We want to care well particularly for the elderly folk in our congregation throughout this period. Adopting an elderly person would mean that you’d give them a call, text or visit every few days just to make sure they are ok and to offer any practical help. If you’d like to be a part of this, please email Pastor Josh (office@eastside.org.au)

 

Finally, let’s continue to pray: 1) that we would turn to God in faith; 2) that our government at all levels would make good decisions; and 3) that we would love one another and our neighbours well.

On behalf of the elders,

Daniel Walker

11 March 2020 – Initial Message 

 

Dear Church Family,

What a joy to know that we serve a God that is in control—Jesus is King, the Father’s plans are certain, and absolutely nothing can change this.

Last Wednesday evening, the elders reviewed a plan for how our church should respond to coronavirus. Our great desire is that we would love the Lord Jesus and one another well come what may. The intent behind the plan is to ensure that we are prepared and can implement sensible safeguards.

While at this stage the Government is not recommending limitations that would affect our regular activities, this could change at any moment. Should this be the case, we will advise you through this email channel ASAP.

If you have any general queries or concerns, please speak with one of the pastors or elders. In the meantime, let’s pray: 1) that we would turn to God in faith; 2) that our government at all levels would make good decisions; and 3) that we would love one another and our neighbours well.

Let’s help one another to ensure that fear does not become a spiritual fog that stops us from seeing the truths of the Gospel that are the same yesterday, today and forever.

On behalf of the elders,

Daniel Walker