In what was already extraordinary circumstances after the impact of COVID-19, today’s strengthening of public restrictions from the Federal Government necessitates the need for me to update you about some of the implications for us at The Refuge.
Firstly, I want to share with you an extract from an email I received today from the Baptist Association that I think are good reminders to us all:
1 God is with us, guiding us through His Word and through the power of the Holy Spirit. We are comforted by the words of the Psalmist who says, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble (Ps46:1). Our security is not simply in our own capacity or that of our society; rather our hope and peace is because of Christ. Jesus own words remind us: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let our hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).
2 The Parable of the Good Samaritan has relevance for us in this moment. We live as part of a society that has in recent times been ‘beaten up’ with drought, bushfire, storms, and now the COVID-19 pandemic. Will we ‘walk by on the other side’ or will we stop and ‘bandage the wounded’? Will we allow Jesus to be large among us and lead us to faithfully be who he calls us to be in this moment?
3 Pay attention to our prayerfulness; seek God earnestly and expectantly for His mercy and grace to be poured out on our world, and our own lives, at this time.
Today, the Federal Government restricted gatherings to under 100 people indoors and stressed the need to facilitate a social distance of 1.5m between attendees. As a result, the way we meet together needs to be a bit different for a while.
This coming Sunday at 10:00 am we will gather under the COLA (outside undercover area) for a time of prayer and the reading of God’s Word. We encourage you to bring your picnic blankets to sit on if you like, otherwise we will be using the single chairs so that people can spread out appropriately.
Starting this week, I will be producing a video of the sermon and making it available on the Refuge Oran Park Youtube channel that has been created as of today. A link to the sermon will be communicated via social media, also phone messaging and our website which is www.refugeoranpark.church
In this, as in many other aspects of our community life at this time, it would be great if you could connect to those that you think might need help to access watching, or listening, to the sermons online. Please also contact those you know who don’t have access to a computer to receive this email and information, or haven’t provided us with their email address.
All groups at The Refuge (Crèche, Refuge Kids & Refuge Youth) will cease meeting immediately until further notice. No morning tea – food or drinks will be provided.
I also advise that all Connect Groups are to seriously consider NOT meeting together, but instead, use other means to encourage and support one another. We also ask our Connect groups to stretch out further than their immediate group members to contact and include others, so that fellowship might reach out to those who might otherwise be left out. Ministry and rostered teams likewise can keep in touch in love, care and service to one another.
This is a great time to sign up and use our online Directory – Robyn Rudar can help you get connected. Otherwise, feel free to ask anyone on the leadership team along with Robyn Rudar to obtain phone numbers of people you wish to contact and connect to.
We are available to deliver basic groceries and meals for those who are self-isolating or quarantined, as well as for those who are otherwise unwell or immune-compromised.
Given the times we are living in are somewhat strange – we want to encourage you to remember that whilst The Refuge might look, sound, and feel a bit different for a while, there are still financial obligations that we have as a Church community. We appreciate your generous financial giving and ask that you continue in this. Information for giving online can be found on our website (details above), otherwise you can contact someone on the Leadership Team and we will make sure you receive the information you need.
I thank you for your understanding. My prayer is that God will be glorified, that the Gospel will be proclaimed, and that God’s people will love one another and others generously.
In His Name,