UPDATED MARCH 20, 2020
Due to the Coronavirus, its impact throughout the wider community, and in keeping with government advice on indoor gatherings, we have decided with a heavy heart to immediately suspend all church activities at St Matthew’s until such time that the government, and our consciences, deem it safe.
We have done this to protect the vulnerable in our church community, but also to do our part in slowing the rate of transmission in Australia. We need to be leaders in the wider community, and this is a good opportunity to show Christ-like love to our neighbours.
In the immediate future, it will mean the following practical changes:
Church gatherings will continue online (find them here).
Youth group is suspended until it is safe to meet again.
The Mental Health Night scheduled for Tuesday the 24th March will not go ahead.
All external bookings that use our church will be cancelled.
We urge all Growth Groups, including HUB groups and women’s groups to pause their regular gatherings and consider alternative ways to stay connected with their church family.
As I write, the ministry team are working on the presentation of St Matthew’s Everywhere, our online video service which will now be our primary vehicle for the preaching and sharing of God’s word together as a family. We encourage you to be part of this and find ways to share the experience with close family and friends, while maintaining safe social distance.
Even though we are sad to have to temporarily shut our physical doors, we are sure, in God’s strength, we can do this. God’s people always thrive under pressure, because when we are weak, Christ Jesus is shown to be strong.
We will all need to be in the business of building one another up and bearing one another’s burdens, and being creative in how we pour out the love of God to one another and to the rest of our community. We can still be making disciples together even in these difficult circumstances.
Our staff team are already working on new ideas for Kid’s and Youth ministry, pastoral and community care during social isolation, Growth Groups, and other ideas we have had on how to care for church during this unique time. Please offer them your full support, encouragement and prayer. They have never worked harder or prayed more for you all than they are now.
Please join me in praying that God would sustain us during this time, that he would continue to build his church, and compel us to love each other all the more.
Evan McFarlane, on behalf of the St Matthew's Ministry Team
To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.