Corona Virus Update

We’ll be online Sundays at 10:30

Sign up and we’ll email you the link at 9:30am on Sunday.

It’s worth aiming to arrive a little early to allow time to set up audio and video (which is entirely optional) and take the opportunity to say hello to a few folk before we start.

20 March 2020           

Hey Sojourn,

so we’re going online.

I began the week and even began an elders meeting on Wednesday evening thinking we had a week or two at Dutton Park without handshakes and hugs.

But as we spoke then and again last night we became more and more convinced that the time we’re in is one where love dictates pulling back from social interaction.

It’s not a time for pulling back from love.

Now (as much as any other time) we need each other, we have opportunities to love others and God our Father is supremely worthy of our love.

God works that love. He works the love that is captivated by his love for us in Christ and committed his family and concerned for the people of our city and the nations as we hear his word and speak it to one another.

What does that look like in the midst of a pandemic?

We’ll have clearer answers to that as we look back later in the year.

As always, it involves more than what we do on Sundays. But what we do on Sundays is what I need to update you about at this point

At this stage I’m wrestling with technology to put some resources together that will allow us to gather on Sunday in scattered locations. It won’t be slick. Under God, it will be an opportunity for us to gather with the loving purpose of hearing God speak the Bible… responding to him in prayer and praise and seeing one another keep in step with the Spirit and not lose heart.

Some individuals and households will necessarily not invite others into the room. But others will be in a position to meet (with appropriate social distancing) in homes, or on patios, in groups of 4-10. Given the difficulty of young children ‘social distancing’ from each other, it’s probably best to take the opportunity for those with kids and others to meet together.

There’s a platform I’d like us to try. It’s fairly straightforward to get going with it but to minimise the difficulty on Sunday morning I’ve set up an event for Friday evening–I’ll send you a link in Sojournal. If you set up an account and get the audio and video stuff happening on your phone or laptop, we can talk to each other then.

Otherwise, come early on Sunday to get those things ironed out.

I’m looking forward to listening to the end of Matthew 16 with you where Jesus speaks about his own suffering, death and resurrection and says that following him means denying ourselves and taking up our own cross and it is absolutely worth it.

Saturday, 14 March 2020

Dear Church Family,

With the increased spread of COVID19 and the growing social implications for our region, we want to assure our church family that we’re committed to taking appropriate precautions during this time. Added to that, we want to encourage our church family to continue to express Christian love to one another and the community around us.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. Galatians 6:9–10 (ESV)

 Continue To Pray

We believe in the goodness and sovereignty of God and we want to be a church that is prayerfully dependent on him. We believe in thanking God for the health services available to us while always confident in his power to heal. All the while we are ultimately looking forward to the day when Jesus will wipe away all sickness, pain and death.

 Continue Our Association’s Responsibilities

As an organisation, we will follow the general advice provided by the Australian Department of Health and QLD Health regarding public meetings, self-isolation and other guidelines they may provide in the coming months. We will also cooperate with any requests for information from government health authorities.

We’d encourage people to follow the current QLD Health advice; if they have recently been to a high-risk country (or a doctor suspects they have COVID19) they should isolate themselves (or practice social distancing) as directed.

If it comes to the point where health professionals recommend certain high-risk groups not attend public events, we will seek to ensure those members of our church community are contacted with that advice.

 Continue Meeting Together

Unless otherwise instructed, we’ll continue to hold all our regular meetings (e.g. Sunday meetings, Discipleship Groups and being intentional in community). We’re encouraging all sojourners to keep attending these events and continue serving, giving, welcoming, and inviting others along. 

If we reach a point where we don’t think we can run a Sunday church gathering, or other activites, we will communicate that through the sojourn.org.au website, sojournal & social media.

We’re currently looking at possible ways to best connect with one another as a church family if people are unable to attend for prolonged periods of time. (Meanwhile, there’s a link to our Bible talk podcast in sojournal).

We encourage everyone to follow the QLD Health guidelines regarding self-care (regular hand-washing, etc.), and we’ll seek to provide adequate cleaning provisions for people in our programs.

 If You Are Sick – Continue Caring For Others

We want to reiterate our existing advice regarding loving others by staying at home to recover well if you are sick. While this is something that has been discussed in relation to our Sunday gatherings, it applies to everyone at Sojourn – even if there were no current COVID19 concerns.

As a normal matter of practice we’d encourage individuals to lovingly excuse themselves from attending gatherings for 48 hours if they have shown any of the following symptoms; fever, vomiting, or diarrhoea. Parents may also need to consider withdrawing children from church in the event of other symptoms (e.g. newly developed cough, sore throat, runny nose). 

In general we want to encourage people to be wise; keep making church and Discipleship Groups a priority, and at the same time, avoid putting others at risk of getting sick. If you’re unsure let us know, or speak to a health professional about appropriate social activity.

If Others Are Sick – Continue Caring For Them

If people in our church family become ill or if they are required to stay at home for long periods of time, we want to be a community that is quick to provide support for them and their families/flatmates. In most circumstances this initial support will come from people within their Discipleship Group or Intentional Community, as they’ll be best placed to be aware of people’s needs and provide care.

Therefore, we encourage everyone at Sojourn to be aware of the particular circumstances of others, especially people in their Discipleship Group (i.e. health concerns, financial concerns, and social circumstances). There will be times when it is best to seek support from the wider church family.

Further to this, our Christian concern for others goes beyond our own church family.

We want to encourage everyone at Sojourn to be aware of people experiencing difficulties in their own communities (workplaces, school communities, local groups, etc). While many Christians are blessed with a church family around them to provide care when in need, many people in our wider community may find this time very isolating. As such, we want to be a church family that displays the love of Christ far and wide so that people may glorify Jesus when he returns (1 Peter 2:12).

Continue Walking With Christ

We continue to trust God in the midst of this concern, and—because of God’s grace shown in and through our church family over the years—we’re confident that God will continue to help us show maturity and love in Christ in the coming months.

If you do have any concerns or questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Wez at wez@sojourn.org.au.