Update regarding Covid-19

Friday 15th May, 2020

It’s been almost two months since our services went online and the country started to shut down.
Back then, I urged you, in light of Psalm 46, to remember that God remains faithful, present and
powerful, that rather than fear for the world, we have hope because God will bring his plans to
fruition, and that he continues to call us to demonstrate love. I have been incredibly encouraged by
the ways you have been able to demonstrate faith, hope and love during these tough days.

In the last week our Prime Minister and Premier have made announcements regarding the first step
of releasing of restrictions. The first step, which comes into effect in NSW today, enables
worshippers to gather together in groups of up to 10. This provides opportunity for some use of
our church building. Our Archbishop has provided some initial guidance and will provide more in
days to come. I want to share with you some preliminary thoughts as we look to the future, and
hope to write again soon with some further details.

1/ Risk Assessment
Please be assured that a risk assessment is being completed to assist us as we consider reopening
our building for general usage. Safety and health of people is a high priority and a practical
expression of our Christian faith. There will be measures put in place to minimise risk that will seem
foreign to us. There will be requirements around contact tracing and cleaning with any building
usage for the foreseeable future. Once the risk assessment is complete, we will advise you of
opportunities available and ensure that ant designated responsible person has appropriate
information and training to ensure a safe environment.

2/ Church Office
Generally speaking, there are staff working from the church building each week day. However, the
most helpful way to contact the office remains via email ([email protected]). For the
foreseeable future, there will still be a significant amount of staff work that happens at home.

3/ Small Groups
The opportunity to have 5 visitors in your home allows small groups to reconsider how they meet
together. Should your group wish to consider meeting in line with the revised guidelines, I want to
remind you that physical distancing measures remain in force, and encourage us to be leaders in
our community out of love for each other and the general public.
There may be opportunities for up to ten people to meet on our church site (Ten is the total number
allowed on site, not just in building) for a small group in weeks to come. This would be subject to our
risk assessment and would need to be carefully booked and managed to ensure we do not have
more than ten people on site at any one time.

4/ Children and Youth Ministries
We are conscious of the impact of restrictions on many of our regular ministries, especially those
related to children and youth. There is a desire among the leaders of children’s and youth ministries
to enable young people to gather again where safe and practical. Again, these ideas are subject to
risk assessment, government policy and discussions with ministry leaders and parents.

5/ Church Services
There is no current governmental plans to allow groups of over 100 to meet. In addition, physical
distancing would mean the capacity of our normal meeting area (upper and lower levels) becomes
about 33 people. Church services in the way we were once familiar with, are not on the horizon. I
have been thrilled by the adaptability and creativity of staff and others in getting our services online
and want you to know we will continue to work hard to ensure they provide edification,
encouragement and nurture in the context of community. We will continue to revise opportunities for
meeting together physically as restrictions are eased.

Implementing these measures in safe and sustainable ways will take time, skill and co-operation.
Thank you for all you have done over the past 2 months to contribute to our life together. I trust and
pray that we will continue to work together seeking the common good and being a blessing to the
world around us for the glory of God.

Please continue in prayer for our government, our medical sector, our community and for our
church. Thank God for his mercy in limiting the impact of Covid-19 in our community and country.
Lament over the widespread impact and loss around the world because of this disease. Pray for
those impacted personally, especially those grieving the loss of loved ones. Pray also for Anglicare
in their ongoing provision of care to those in Newmarch House and other centres of residential care.
Pray for a cure and vaccine. Mostly pray that God will turn people’s hearts to Jesus in whom they
can find forgiveness, hope and peace.

I trust that the easing of restrictions will allow us all to have more sustainable social interactions,
and that in those interactions we will continue to live in faith, hope and love, for the glory of Christ.

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