I am writing to inform you of the decisions taken by the WBC Council at its meeting last Saturday to determine our response as a church to the guidelines for ‘mass gatherings’ introduced by the Federal Government on 13th March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. The decisions of the WBC Council are as follows:
1. The WBC office will remain open as normal. (Office hours are: Mon-Thurs 9am to 4pm; Fri 9am to 1pm).
2. There is to be no food served at any WBC gatherings until further notice.
3. If you are exhibiting a cough, fever, flu-like symptoms, etc. we request that you follow the Government regulations and self-isolate, which also includes not attending WBC functions/church/etc.
4. Until further notice we will not be using any physical touch/handshakes/hugs/ etc. at any of our WBC gatherings. It’s not that we are unfriendly – we simply want to ensure that we are as careful as we can possibly be!
5. We will be doing our best to keep the building sanitized and as clean as possible. Please assist us in this if you are involved in any of our gatherings and please respect WBC’s property by ensuring sanitizers/etc. remain on-site.
6. At the moment our gatherings during the week (JOY, Girls’ Brigade, AWANA, Toddler Time, Craft with Friends, Woodvale Youth, Woodvale Young Adults, etc.) will continue until further notice. WBC will be advising the leaders of these various groups and will keep them informed as things develop.
7. The Men’s PIE night scheduled for this Thursday 19th March has unfortunately been cancelled. If you require a refund please contact the Church Office on 9309 4044 to arrange this.
8. Our Sunday Services for the next two weeks (22nd March and 29th March) are closed to the public, which includes all of us! The service will be conducted by the team / pastor responsible in the church auditorium and will be live-streamed at the usual time (9.30am Sundays) via the Woodvale Baptist Church’s Facebook page. We do not want to inundate you with emails but we will send you a further email later this week with details about this and how you can access this from home or together with others in small groups.
These are unprecedented times, and the above arrangements are in place for at least the next two weeks. Government advice is changing constantly and so as a Council we continue to be vigilant as we monitor the situation, make further plans and communicate with you. We have taken these decisions prayerfully and with careful thought/discussion and because we take our duty of care seriously – to our church (particularly our elderly and other vulnerable members) and to the wider community of which we are a part.
We encourage you to be informed with helpful information from factual sources regarding COVID-19, not get caught up in sharing the many incorrect memes and posts currently being circulated via social media. Here in WA, the health department’s website is a great source of current and factual information: https://healthywa.wa.gov.au/coronavirus
We also encourage you to maintain good hygiene / infection control methods as mentioned below.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of your elbow.
As your pastor:
» I encourage you to see this as an opportunity. The church is about people, not a building – we are still the church! We can love God and others at this time by praying for those affected and looking out for those around us, particularly those undergoing self-isolation or the vulnerable who are facing difficulties obtaining basic essentials.
» Do not panic or live in fear! Take encouragement from Paul’s words in Romans 8:38-39:
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below – indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
» See this as a time God has provided us with to show us how to “live within our limits!” We are facing many limitations at this time, in various ways – we have an opportunity to discover how to trust God in a new way.
» Remember Paul’s encouragement to us to “live as citizens of heaven.” (Phil.1:27). Where there is fear, let us show trust and faith; where there is greed, let us show generosity; where there is anger, let us show love; where there is selfishness, let us show humility and grace. “Think of others as better than yourselves…” (Phil.2:3)
Yours in Christ,
on behalf of the WBC Council