Update regarding changes to Church services and small groups

Thursday 19th March, 2020

I want to provide a little more information regarding Church services, small groups, and offertories in light of yesterdays announcements regarding COVID-19. Before I do, I have been reminded in the last 24 hours of how perfectly positioned the local church is to deal with this crisis. While we are still working out technical issues and how to do ministry online, we are also a group of people placed throughout our community who love Jesus and have a range of contacts with members of the community who are troubled and worried, or perhaps isolated and scared.

Ephesians 3:10 reminds us that “through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.” The church is the way God makes his manifold wisdom known. The local church has a great opportunity to engage the world with Grace and Truth. To that end, I want to remind you of the two new emails we set up yesterday and encourage you to use

If you have a way of providing help please use:
[email protected]

If you need help (but NOT for emergencies), please use:
[email protected]

Church Services

For this weekend we will be having four services. 9.30am English; 9:30am Chinese; 11:15am (SMAC) and 6pm. We are unable to offer a 7:45am service this week. I understand this will be disappointing for some, but we want to consider further how best to serve this community in the coming months, especially for those who won’t be able to connect via technology. For those who regularly attend 745 or Wednesday
Church and are technologically savvy, you are welcome to connect with one of our other communities (see below) or, for a more traditional service please visit the Sydney Cathedral online at www.sydneycathedral.com

Each of our online services will follow a similar structure. It will start with some online community, then move to a “live stream” and will potentially follow up with some post service online engagement. The live stream component will be identical for each service except the Chinese service. We believe this will free up resources to engage in critical pastoring activities during this time. The “live stream” content will also be
available on our website from Monday. You may wish to dial in with your family unit, or with some others. Our request is that you maintain appropriate social distancing at all times.

For more specific details on each online service, please look out for communication from your congregational Pastor:

9.30am - information will come through the 930 news. If you don’t receive this contact [email protected]. At this point we are not able to offer an online space for your children and youth, but will provide resources on our website prior to Sunday. Please look out for them.

9:30am Chinese - information will come via Clarence [email protected]

11:15am SMAC - information will come via facebook. If you don’t receive this contact [email protected]

6pm - information will be on the 6pm Facebook group, or contact [email protected]

We will learn a lot about how to do online ministry in the coming weeks, and these services will no doubt evolve. We look forward to seeing you online on Sunday, learning from our experience together, and continuing to create a space where we can connect with each other and worship God together.

Small Groups

As I said yesterday, we believe it is important to meet together, especially in this current environment. We also believe that we should be leaders in promoting community health. It is not helpful for the gospel if we are seen to be dragging the ball or pushing the boundaries on issues of health and safety. Below are some principles for small group gatherings and some ideas:

Principles (in light of COVID-19):
1/ Social distancing must be practiced.
2/ A clean environment must be ensured (click here for a helpful resource from Grace Point Sydney).
3/ Ensure you maintain some social connection with your group, and with your contacts (neighbours/friends).

1/ Split your group into 2 or 3 to ensure social distancing.
2/ Use video software like zoom or Skype to meet together.
3/ Combine the above two so that part of your gathering is local and part via video.
4/ Book a hall at the church where you can meet together occasionally (please understand you won’t be able to do this every week if a number of groups want to do this). Social distancing must still be maintained.
5/ Go for a walk with members of your group, or meet in a park!


We understand that these times will have financial implications for many. This morning, the wardens and I discussed our financial situation and are determined to provide you with monthly updates on finances. We are investigating ways to manage our finances through the next 6 months in a way that will not hamper ministry, and we will keep you updated on developments and decisions.

An immediate issue is for those who normally give via cash or cheque during our weekly services. If possible, please consider changing to online giving. If this is not possible, cheques are preferable at the moment. Regardless, can we ask you to please drop any cash or cheque into the church office on Friday or Monday. Thank you for your understanding in each of these matters. We will make some further communication with you about other ministries we will be offering next week.

Let me leave you with this timely and encouraging blessing from, “An Australian Prayer Book”:
        Go forth into the world in peace; be of good courage; hold fast that
        which is good; render to no man evil for evil; strengthen the
        fainthearted; support the weak; help the afflicted; honour all men;
        love and serve the Lord, rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit; and
        the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy
        Spirit, be amongst you and remain with you always. Amen

In Grace and Truth,
Ron Irving

To download a PDF of this statement please click here.

1 New Line Road,
West Pennant Hills NSW 2125

02 9479 3700
[email protected]

St Matthews Anglican Church, West Pennant Hills – Reflecting the generosity of Christ