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Churches of Christ in Western Australia are an association of churches that facilitate relationships and resources with Churches of Christ leadership, so that local churches grow and multiply.

COVID-19 UPDATE

Below is the latest government recommended update and some helpful resources.

30 March 2020

Update from National Cabinet – FURTHER RESTRICTIONS

The Premier of Western Australia has confirmed this afternoon that we have now moved to Stage 3 restrictions. The Prime Minster announced last night (29/03/2020), echoed by the Premier of Western Australia this afternoon, new restrictions to public gatherings.

National Cabinet agreed to limit both indoor and outdoor gatherings to two persons only. Exceptions to this limit include:

  • People of the same household going out together;
  • Funerals – a maximum of 10 people; 
  • Wedding – a maximum of 5 people;
  • Family units. 

You can view the Statement here:

The PM statement from 29th March 
These measures will commence on Tuesday 31 March at 11.59pm be enforced by regulations as per the WA State of Emergency powers.

This may have implications for our online church services. We are currently reviewing our advice and working on recommendations as to how churches can produce church services and live streaming within these restrictions. We will provide these through to Churches as soon as possible.

Travel Restrictions in WA

For our regional Churches, the WA Government will introduce further restrictions on travel within WA from Tuesday night 31 March 2020 (12.00am AWST Wednesday morning 1 April 2020), to assist in reducing the spread of COVID-19. WA intrastate travel is defined as movement through the boundaries of the regions of Western Australia. These regions are:

  • Perth and Peel (due to their close proximity, the Perth and Peel regions will combine into one region)
  • South West
  • Great Southern
  • Goldfields-Esperance
  • Mid-West
  • Wheatbelt
  • Gascoyne
  • Pilbara
  • Kimberley

Western Australians will not be permitted to leave their regional boundary. Police have the power to enforce these restrictions and fines of up to $50,000 can be issued.

Exemptions will apply for:

  • employment purposes
  • medical reasons
  • health and emergency services
  • people living in ‘border communities’, who may not have access to groceries or supplies within their region
  • freight
  • compassionate grounds.

Access to designated regions including the Kimberley (including the entire Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku, parts of the Shire of East Pilbara that encompass the communities of Jigalong, Martu homeland communities and Kiwirrkurra) have additional stronger restrictions in place. This is to help curb the spread of COVID-19 into our very vulnerable communities, which could have catastrophic consequences.

COMMON Q&A:

Q: Can our staff still operate from the church office?
A: Yes, but it is time to transition staff to work from home. Workers attending the office must adhere to the 4 square metre rule, and social distancing must be observed. The church is not “open” to the public so to speak, but Ministers and staff can still go to work.

Q: Can we still meet to pray or do bible study in small groups if we adhere to the 4m/1.5m rules?
A: No. People should stay at home, unless shopping for essentials, travelling to and from work (if you cannot work from home), going to school and exercising. Keep visitors to your home at a minimum. Do not congregate in groups in indoor and outdoor spaces.

Q: Will our Church be eligible for any of the Government support funding?
A: COCWA is currently reviewing all the Commonwealth and State Government announcements to determine what potential funding sources may be available to not for profits and Church organisations. Further advice will be distributed to all Churches when these have been determined.

Further Resources:

COCWA recommends that you follow and keep up to date with the Government issued information and resources.

If you have any queries or require further advice, please contact us.

Donelle Rivett
Chair, Risk and Nominations Committee
Churches of Christ in Western Australia

 

SOME HELPFUL COVID-19 RESOURCES:

 

Official Information

Articles

Templates

Online Resources & Apps to stay connected and encouraged

Online Tools to get your church up and running online

  • Church Online Platform- a free tool to help you launch an online ministry.
  • Facebook Live– Live stream your service to your Facebook Page.
  • Zoom– a conference calling tool to continue small groups and meetings

RESPONDING PASTORALLY TO COVID-19

18th March 2020. The following article has kindly been shared by the Baptist Union of Victoria and has been edited slightly by Churches of Christ in WA.

In response to the dramatic effects which the coronavirus is having on our economy and normal way of life, the Australian government has considered drastic measures to slow this virus down.

For many people, those in our neighbourhoods, on the train, in our work places and schools, it is a time of great concern, even anxiety. People are asking “Am I prepared for this crisis?” “Will I be infected?” “Am I doing enough to protect myself and my family?” For leaders, there is an added sense of responsibility as they ask, “Am I leading in a way that helps people or am I adding to their anxiety?”

Christians today have questions concerning what our response ought to be as we seek to respond to the COVID-19 virus. Some of us are seeing it as a time to boldly declare our trust in God, while others find it much harder than we had thought to remain calm and full of faith.

How can we respond, as Christlike followers, to this crisis?

  1. Remember that God is with us.God has promised, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5b). Jesus declared that he is with us even to the end of the age. The Holy Spirit is our Comforter. In the midst of the social media storm that tends to either make light of the situation or spread unbridled fear, it is good to remember that God is with us. Even in self-isolation when we can feel alone, God is still with us. There is nowhere that we can be where God is not. Slow down, take a few deep breaths and acknowledge God’s presence.
  2. Don’t be too surprised when things don’t go as planned.Jesus said “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Trouble is something we should expect. Suffering and setbacks are part of this world and we will face them as we live in such a way that we are looking forward with hope to the new heaven and new earth. Each day though, God is with us through each challenge to help us become more and more like him.
  3. Be a non-anxious presence.For so many people there is a growing sense of anxiety, concern and fear. It’s not helpful for us to shout, “Do not panic!” Even urging people to forget their troubles and just trust God can seem trite and unhelpful. But when you engage in a calm, emotionally present and anxiety-free way, you engender trust which will be received as caring in any environment. We do this best by managing our feelings in such a way that we are neither distant and detached, nor flooding the situation with our unchecked emotions. This calmness, which comes from knowing that God is with us, will have an effect on those we care for and assist them in reducing their own anxieties.
  4. Go the extra mile to be there (even if we’re not physically there).Physical distance does not have to mean social distance. We are the Body of Christ, whether we are physically present or not. The church is more than the building. The reality of Covid-19 means we must do all that we can to be there for people. Just like the Good Samaritan who saw the beaten man on the road and stopped to help him, we can intentionally stop and help those who are fearful and feeling alone. This doesn’t have to be in person and, in fact, it may be the more loving thing not do this in person. A simple phone call, a text message, email or even a video call can make a world of difference to someone who is feeling alone at this time. We can build community by letting others know when we will be praying, so we can pray at the same time. If your church is currently not meeting together on the weekend, we have a wonderful opportunity to invite our small group, if all are well, to meet together in our homes and watch the service or listen to a podcast on-line. By remembering to check in on our neighbours to see how they are coping, we help connect and care. We can visit people we know might be feeling overwhelmed. Let’s ask God to lead us as we connect with people.
  5. Be a loving listener.It is a great gift in the midst of an overwhelming situation to have someone listen to and seek to understand us. By listening attentively, we demonstrate that the other person is important to us, to God and to the wider community. To be heard in the midst of the uncontrollable circumstances of a crisis, is received as an act of love.
  6. Be a bringer of hope.During this time there is real danger. People have died and will continue to die. We need to respond wisely. We don’t know how long this pandemic will last. However it is important for us to keep the big picture in mind. We are followers of Christ and through faith in Jesus we are new creations, forgiven, filled with the Spirit of God, gifted and called to live for God and there is nothing that can separate us from his love. Not Covid-19, not death, not anything.  So we can say with Paul, “if we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord” (Rom 14:8). In Christ we have great hope. God is with us and will be with us forever.
  7. Pray together.Prayers spoken aloud with people in anxious situations can help the situation to be seen differently. It’s not the number of words that is important. Often fewer words are better. When we express our honest concerns to God, reflect in prayerful silence on the promises in the Bible, and are still together before our living and loving God, we can know that we are not alone and God is with us.  Be real, be honest and pray together.

This is a unique time for us, to love and care for one another and for those around us. We can do this together, sharing the load. If you feel exhausted, step back and take a breath. Ask someone else to share the load with you. Seek wise counsel.  As the Body of Christ, we have this opportunity to provide care, love and hope to others in our community, and we can do this together for God’s glory.

 

 

 

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