What a time we are living in! We’re sure you are aware of the Caronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic affecting the world at the moment. This situation is complex and ever-changing, but Rachael and I want to assure you that as a church we are preparing for the weeks and months ahead.
Our calling and mandate as a church does not change in the midst of crisis. We are still the people of God, committed to worship, outreach, community and growth. We will continue to be optimistic and faith filled in these times, choosing to believe in a God that is bigger than any trial and has a plan far greater than we can imagine. We are standing in faith not fear.
This email is to update you on our church’s response to the pandemic and the recent government ban on all indoor gatherings over 100 people. As a church we are constantly seeking God and His leading in the decisions we make. Part of our honour for God is honour for our governing authorities. (Rom. 13:1)
Due to the ban, our normal Sunday Services will no longer be held in the church building as of this Sunday the 22nd of March until further notice. However, this is not the end of us gathering, worshiping, learning, growing and reaching out. Starting this Sunday, we will continue services as an online community. This is a time to lean in, so we are working hard to ensure this is a strong and vibrant time for our church community.
We will be sending out more information over the coming weeks, starting with a follow up email in the next few days.
Note: Because the safety of our church members is top priority, we ask that you do not attend any face to face gatherings if you have flu like symptoms, if you have travelled overseas in the past 14 days or if you have been in contact with someone else with Coronavirus.
1: Communication and Connection
We are encouraging every member who is able, to be part of a connect group. This means gathering as a community in smaller settings. (There will be more information on how to become part of a connect group in the follow up email.) Our staff, team leaders and connect group leaders will be working hard to make sure every person has a chance to stay connected at this time through phone calls, texts or personally in connect groups.
On a broader level we will regularly be communicating with the church via text, email, social media and through our new online services, so you can stay up to date there. This means that now is the time to update your details online here shellharbourcc.org.au/getinvolved/ and make sure you are following the church on Facebook and Instagram.
2: Staying Connected with God
Sunday Services Online
Every Sunday at 9:30am and 6:30pm the Sunday service will be held online. We will all be able to worship and engage with the word of God from our homes, interactively online together.
We are excited about launching our new church online format! This will be more than just watching a video of a sermon – it will be a platform where we can provide community, prayer and even give opportunity for people to respond for salvation. We’re believing in faith that our community will grow at this time!
You will be able to find our online services at https://shellharbourcc.online.church/. If you head to this website just before our service start times, you will be ready to watch with us! We will show you how to use the interface this Sunday in our first online service. Please note that the 9:30am and 6:30pm services will have the same content at the moment.
If you don’t have access to the internet or are worried you might not be able to get it set up? Please let us know by emailing and in the coming weeks we will be in touch to help you find a place to watch or help you set it up for yourself.
We also encourage you to engage with our daily devotionals! We believe as a church this is our time more than ever, to study the word of God together. Over the next few weeks and months we will be encouraging you in your Bible reading through video thoughts from our team, themed around our daily devotional.
Our prayer meetings at 5:30pm on Tuesdays at the church will CONTINUE through this period. We need prayer!
Our children will be able to continue with the BIG Kids curriculum at home. Yay! Each week in the church update email, we will send out a link for the kids videos for the week so our children will be able to grow and learn during this time. They will be starting a new series this Sunday.
Dominion Youth will NOT be running in their current Friday night format. Instead, we will start ‘HOUSE PARTIES!’ Every week there will be a number of homes across the city where our young people can gather for games, food, connection and to learn the Word of God. We will be getting more information out about this to youth and parents of youth by tomorrow morning.
3: Serving Jesus and Each Other
Serving One Another
As Christians we know that we are called to have servant hearts and we believe that this rings true now more than ever. We are encouraging our church members to take initiative in serving one another by staying in touch and offering help to one another.
Food Care will CONTINUE to run as we know there are many in our community who will need assistance at this time. We so appreciate the Food Care team! Many of our volunteers are in the ‘at risk’ category and have had to quarantine, so we are currently looking for more Food Care volunteers. Please email if you would be able to help on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday mornings.
Volunteering and Rosters
Since our Sunday services will not be running in our building at this time, our rostering will look different. We will be in touch with volunteers next week to let you know the changes.
Serving Our Community
This is an amazing opportunity to serve our community. As Shellharbour COMMUNITY Church, the community has always been our focus and we want to lean into that in this season. We will keep you in the loop about how we plan to do this in these changing times.
4: A Time to Give
We have always been a generous church. Let’s continue to be faithful to give at this time, knowing God is at work. We give as an act of worship and obedience to God. As we give, it empowers our church to continue to serve our community and church family, especially through this difficult time.
There are 2 main ways to give from home:
Direct Debit – Direct Debit is the easiest and best way to give!
Account Number: 10000839
And finally, we encourage everyone to pray! Pray for one another, our families, our nation, our church and world leaders and those who are caring for the sick at this time.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Rachael and I want to thank you for your support. What a joy to be part of a church family that loves and stands together through every season. This is a time like no other for us as the church. We are not going to miss our moment to step up and be the light of the world in a dark time. We invite you to join us in the amazing days ahead!
Pastor Shane & Rachael Cook