A Message from our Ministry Team
We are now in the second week of this strange new way of being community together. As a church council, we have needed to respond to many changes relating to the coronavirus pandemic. These changes have been occurring extremely rapidly, and so our response, by necessity, amounts to something of a work-in-progress. We are endeavouring to keep you informed of relevant changes as best we can at this time.
One critical change we must alert you to is a change in the use of and access to our church building. As a result of new state government legislation and a subsequent directive from Uniting Church Synod, the Blackwood Uniting Church building, like all other places of worship, is now closed to members of the public and members of our church community. Michael and Jacqui, as paid employees of the Blackwood Uniting Church, continue to work in the church building, but anyone else intending to come to the church needs to have a specific reason for doing so. One such reason is if you are required to contribute to the pre-recording of online worship services, which is the new Blackwood church practice. There may, from time to time, be other specific reasons for you coming to the church. If you do need to visit the church, please call Michael or Jacqui to arrange a time to come in.
How can we continue to connect as a community in these new arrangements?
These new arrangements, designed to keep us safe and to minimise the risk of transmitting the coronavirus, are challenging our ability to stay connected. We need to be creative in identifying and putting in place new ways of connecting with each other. We urge you to share with us ideas that you may have. One way in which we can stay connected relates to the various clusters and other groups which normally operate within our church. Many of you are already a member of a cluster or other group. Whether your group continues to meet, in altered ways in order to maintain spatial distancing and personal hygiene, or whether you have suspended in-person meeting, you still have the ability to connect with each other, by phone, text, email, video chat and the like. We would encourage members of clusters and other groups to keep in touch with each other. Call each other periodically, and check in on how people are going. If you are not in a group, but have a desire for greater connection and support at this time, then call us, or drop us an email to express an interest in doing so. We will be happy to facilitate the creation of a new group or groups, perhaps a virtual chat group, that may help to support you at this stage.
Some lovely and creative ways of staying connected have been in evidence in the last two days. Yesterday, a number of ladies from our faith community bought some coffees from Montagna and plonked themselves, with good spatial separation, outside the church in the sunshine. Michael joined them for twenty minutes of delightful and light-hearted conversation. It was wonderful. We can still connect, and we can connect in ways that keep us safe.
It has been made very clear that 1:1 pastoral visitation inside the church building is not permitted in these new arrangements. We need to find different ways of doing this. One such way is meeting out-of-doors, such as sitting in the sunshine outside the church (it’s not winter yet…). If you would like to meet with Michael 1:1 to talk about something, this is certainly possible to arrange, and to arrange in ways that are safe and minimise the risk of virus transmission. Please give Michael a call.
We have just recorded our second online worship service which will be put online prior to this coming Sunday 29th March. We have received lots of constructive feedback about the first service and we are learning lots as we go. Continue to engage with us and offer your creative suggestions. Other churches, including Newland UCA at Victor Harbour and Belair UCA may also be joining us for online worship, and we welcome them warmly. We would encourage you to engage with these online services in new and innovative ways. If a prayer, or a song, or a message moves you, inspires you, or annoys you (!), hit PAUSE, get a pen and paper, make a note, and get in touch with us later and share your thoughts.
Finally, let’s all pledge to keep in touch. We all have phones. Most of us have email. Most of us have the internet. Some of us have Facebook or other social media options. We have the ability to video chat. Let’s use these technologies.
Talk to you again soon.
Stay safe…stay connected!
Michael Dowling, Minister
Chris Bray, Chair of Church Council