Response to COVID-19
Updated 18 March, 2020
Dear CityLight Church North Adelaide family,
Over the past few days the elder candidates at North and myself have had discussions about how CityLight Church North Adelaide can respond to the challenge of COVID-19.
The decisions we have made have not been taken lightly that I hope reflect a cautious, wise, and loving approach to how we continue as a church while caring for those in our community.
Initially we are aiming to do five things:
1. Changing how we meet
The Scriptures call us to meet regularly for mutual encouragement, the teaching of God’s word, and prayer. We will continue to do so but how we meet will look different. From this Sunday, 22 March 2020, we won’t meet in groups larger than 20 people. This means we will not be able to meet for our regular Sunday service at 5.15pm in North Adelaide. Other groups that are not over 20 people in size, such as our Discipleship Groups (DGs) will continue to meet at this time.
2. Live-streaming church online on Sundays
We will be live-streaming a service online starting this Sunday, 22 March 2020, at 5.15pm. This service will be accessible to all people even those in isolation or quarantine. The service will be run by myself and other volunteers. It will include singing, Bible readings, a sermon, and prayer. We are encouraging DGs to gather together on Sundays to watch the live-stream, to sing, and to pray. You may even like to invite a neighbour to come and watch with you.
3. Pastoral Care
Pastoral care will be provided during this period by myself, the elder candidates, and our DG leaders. I am working hard to provide resources and support for our DG leaders. We are also seeking to establish a pastoral care team who will work in conjunction with myself, to assess how we can best care for one another, especially those who are vulnerable or particularly anxious. This is actually something that we need to commit to doing together.
4. Increased online connection and prayer presence
We are seeking to have an increased online and prayer presence. We will be looking to provide opportunities to gather online, either corporately or in small groups for mutual encouragement, prayer, and mission. We are hoping to provide online resources for our whole church family to enable us to grow in trust and love of the Lord Jesus Christ.
There are key reasons why we at CityLight Church North Adelaide have taken these steps. Firstly, our church is a community that is more likely to need to make changes earlier than other communities for we have people who travel overseas and we have several people who work in the area of healthcare provision. Secondly, by acting sooner it allows us to prepare thoroughly and without unnecessary panic. Thirdly, social distancing helps slow the spread of COVID-19, flattening the curve, and helping to avoid over-burdening our local healthcare system.
In light of all these changes we must remember that God calls us to respond as followers of the Lord Jesus. Let me suggest three ways we can respond as a group of believers at CityLight Church North Adelaide: think, love, pray.
Instead of responding with fear and panic, the gospel calls us to think and remember. The Bible reminds us that our God is good and sovereign; our God loves us and nothing can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8.28-39). In the words of Psalm 46.1, ‘God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.’ Jesus Christ is on the throne, sin and death are defeated, we are safe through faith in Jesus. I invite you to find comfort in these great truths.
Panicked, self-preservation is blind to the needs of others. In 1 John 4.8 we read that ‘perfect love drives out fear.’ Our Lord Jesus commands us to love God and love our neighbours as we love ourselves. So let me encourage you to look for opportunities to love and serve others in practical ways. Also, let us look for opportunities to proclaim the hope that we have in the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is crucial that we prayerfully entrust each other and our world into the hands of our Heavenly Father. Understandably this is a time of increased anxiety and concern but we are reminded in Philippians 4 that we ‘need not be anxious about anything but in but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.’ Sisters and brothers we ought to be praying regularly that God would have mercy on this world, that he would bring respite from this virus, that our Lord would heal those who are sick, and provide support to those who are caring for them. We should also offer prayers of thanks for all God’s blessing toward us.
Please continue to follow all the current guidelines and orders from government and health authorities. In order to slow the spread of COVID-19 regularly wash your hands with soap and water, use hand sanitiser, and restrict contact with others if you are experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms.
If at any stage you do need to self-isolate for an extended period then please let us know so that we can care for you.
If you become infected with COVID-19 then please contact me and your DG leader so that we can help care for you.
We are not able to say with any certainty how long this situation will last, it may be weeks but it could be months. We also don’t have all the answers as a local church so we need to draw together, brothers and sisters, with patience, courage, and grace, trusting in our good, good Father. Let me conclude with the wonderful words of the Apostle Paul;
‘Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 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.’
May God be glorified through us, as together we live for Jesus and love like Jesus in this time.
Your brother in Christ,
Lead Pastor, on behalf of the CLNA Elder Candidates.