March 19, 2020.
After much prayer and consultation, I have made the difficult decision with full Board support that we will be moving out of our church building for worship and meetings for now due to COVID-19. This will undoubtedly bring up lots of difficult emotions for all of us as this building has such a special place in all our hearts. There will be feelings of sadness, of anger, of shock to name but a few. These are very natural reactions. Please know through it all, our God is with us and I'm here to walk beside you through this transition. We are all in this together, and we'll come through it stronger. In the meantime, we will be putting in place special measures to ensure you receive the full pastoral support of this community as we embark upon this unexpected path together.
We have long heard the old adage, "The church isn't the building, it's the people", well, now is the time for us to live into that sentiment like never before. This is a remarkable opportunity for us to grow as a community and to lean into God's faithfulness as we journey these unprecedented days together. I want you to imagine for a moment, that our building is simply closed for renovations for a period of time, and our temporary building is your living room, or smartphone, or local park. It's not forever, it's only for now.
Over the coming months we will still be meeting for worship together at our regular times (10:00am & 6:30pm) via live streaming wherever you are every week. Whilst we may not be physically in the same place, in every other way that matters we will be together. Virtual coffee chats will pop up throughout the week, as well as other opportunities for us to gather, talk, connect and share. We will have phone-in options for those without computers and a team of "Be Upheld" pastoral care leaders (Stephen Ministers) are waiting to assist me in helping to bolster our church's capacity to care for everyone during this time.
Over the coming weeks, we will establish a "Be Upheld" call centre, so you can access a pastoral care-giver during different times throughout the week. Every member will also receive phone calls to pastorally check in during this time, as well as personalized care cards. If you are not a member, and would like to be included in these initiatives — please email your details to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can extend care to you as well during this time. I am available for 1 to 1 pastoral visits and Communion during this time as well for those unable to access the streaming services. Please know that during this time of heightened anxiety, that church is still "on" and we will continue to be church together utilizing our online technologies and evolve as we need to until such time as this renovation is complete. Thank you for your patience and understanding. May this time of uncertainty bring us all closer together as a church, and may we each do our part to ensure MCC Sydney will not only survive this crisis, but will sur-thrive!
The Rev. Dale Yardy.