Covid-19 Update – CRC Sunday Services Closed… Sermons continuing… Please stay connected with your Connect Groups

Covid-19 Update – CRC Sunday Services Closed… Sermons continuing… Please stay connected with your Connect Groups

If you would like to contact us, you can contact us at

Andrew Clemow (pastor) on 0272813514 andrew@clarkroadchapel.nz.

Scotty Delemare (associate pastor) on 0210377216. scotty@clarkroadchapel.nz

You can also email careteam@clarkroadchapel.nz if you have any needs or know of anyone who needs help. We are supported by a network of good people who are keen to help.

For general inquiries, contact adminteam@clarkroadchapel.nz

A Message from Andrew

By now you should have seen our earlier email(SEE BELOW) advising that our Sunday services are suspended until further notice due to coronavirus, with the government now requiring from 3:30pm today that indoor gatherings be limited to 100 people maximum.

However, church goes on, in a different form – mainly through Connect Groups and personal contact in small groups. We strongly encourage Connect Groups to continue to meet and in fact to step up their frequency of gathering. As this Sunday’s sermon deals with the cross and the Lord’s Supper, we encourage you to gather in connect groups (or family groupings) and take communion together after listening to the sermon (just apply common sense hygiene).  As a church community, we should still be busy sharing the gospel and caring for one another – in fact this virus should galvanise us into more dedicated prayer and evangelism and reaching out to the vulnerable and isolated.

I’ve been spending a bit of time in the book of Proverbs recently. I have good reason to do so, as I need wisdom! As Scotty and I and the elders have been working through “what to do regarding church as the corona virus spreads” my mind has gone to two Proverbs. I love the way God’s word keeps us from the extremes of anxiety and foolish presumption. Proverbs 26:13 The sluggard says, “There is a lion in the road! There is a lion in the streets!”

It is easy to let exaggerated risks of harm become an excuse for pandering to our sinful self indulgence. Lions were a real threat at the time the Proverbs were written, but they were not generally roaming the streets, and the risk that one might do so was no excuse for staying home and being inactive. Coronavirus is a real threat.  It can make people sick and a very small percentage of people who get it die from it.  But (at the risk of this being out of date soon) I simply make the point that no-one has died of it in New Zealand. We need to continue our “core business” of living for Christ and spreading the gospel.

On the other hand, Proverbs 22:3 says: “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.”
Prudence demands that we don’t close our eyes to the risks that coronavirus presents. We do not simply trumpet “God will look after us” and neglect following the advice of wise people (eg Ministry of Health) or taking steps to minimise risk. That is why we have made the decision to suspend Sunday services for the time being.  Sermons will be live-streamed. We’ll keep you updated.

A lot more could be said, and a lot more has been written. Below are some links to helpful articles that look at the whole issue from a Christian and gospel perspective:
https://www.cccnz.nz/page/responding-to-covid-19/

www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/things-coronavirus-teach-us/

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/march-web-only/seattle-churches-stop-meeting-to-slow-covid-19-coronavirus.html?utm_source=ctweekly-html&utm_medium=Newsletter&utm_term=15725348&utm_content=701922595&utm_campaign=email

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CRC Update on Coronovirus COVID-19 – March 19

Action on indoor gatherings and events to protect public health

Health

The Government has reinforced its commitment to protecting the health of New Zealanders from COVID-19 through the cancellation of indoor events with more than 100 people. 

“Protecting the health of New Zealanders is our number one priority, and that means we need to reduce the risks associated with large gatherings,” Health Minister David Clark said.

“On Monday the Prime Minister announced gatherings and events of 500 or more people outside should be cancelled. Today we are extending that advice to gatherings of 100 people indoors.  

“These measures don’t apply to workplaces, schools, supermarkets or public transport.

“We know this has specific implications for the hospitality sector. We will work with the sector over the next 24-36 hours to develop guidance.

“The Ministry of Health has produced guidance to help people understand this direction, but if in doubt cancel. Making sure we put in place social distancing rules is one of the most important things we can do to protect the public. 

“Large gatherings and events are a high risk environment for the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19, because people often behave in ways that facilitate transmission at these events. 

“People share food or drinks, sit or stand very close together for long periods of time and may cough or breathe on each other.

“Just because you don’t have 500 or 100 people doesn’t mean you can ignore appropriate hygiene measures. For any gathering or event you need to ensure people can stay further than one metre apart, and have the ability to wash and dry their hands thoroughly. 

“Regardless of the size of a gathering, if someone is unwell, they shouldn’t attend.

“Anyone who has returned from overseas and needs to be in self-isolation must also stay away from gatherings. There shouldn’t be any grey area around this – if you’re meant to be in self-isolation, you don’t go to any gathering or event. 

“Workplaces should, where practicable, practice physical distancing, with people no closer than one metre. 

“In workplaces where physical distancing isn’t possible, workplaces should look at other measures which can be used to protect staff, such as working from home,” David Clark said.

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CRC Update on Coronavirus COVID-19
Update: 19th March 2020.  2:30pm
 
Hi CRC
 
Hope you are having a great week despite the current global pandemic. It’s pretty hard to miss at the moment. What you will read below has been thought about, discussed and prayed over carefully. We have tapped into advice from Ministry of Health (MoH), CCCNZ and other churches in Whangarei and around NZ, plus we are blessed to have Dr Warrick Jones on our with his medical knowledge, and Scotty Delemare with his broad range of contacts within the education and sports sectors.  There is no sense of panic amongst the Elders and staff at CRC, but a commitment to serve our church family in the best ways we can.

The main immediate thing for you to be aware of is that we have suspended our Sunday gatherings, effective immediately. So there will be no Sunday service (or prayer connection) here at CRC this Sunday (22nd March) or until further notice. The elders delegated Scotty and Andrew to make a decision on this after consultation with them. We decided that the trigger point for suspending services would be:

  1. MoH advice to restrict gatherings below 250;

This has not happened yet but we hear a lot of buzz about it being imminent.

  • There is a confirmed case of Covid19 in Northland.

This now applies and that is why we have suspended our services. Here is the information from the MoH website:

Case 23 Northland 20s Male Arrived in Auckland on Monday 16th March from Paris to Abu Dhabi (Ehtiad flight EY38 on 14 March) to Sydney (Ehtiad flight EY450) on Virgin Australia flight VA0141.

CRC is supportive of measures being employed by MoH and public health officials as they work towards slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our city, communities and nation.
 
As a church, we have as our priority, after glorifying God and spreading the gospel, the health and well-being of our congregation..

Coronavirus affects the lungs and breathing and looks a bit like the influenza or flu virus. It especially impacts the elderly and people already sick for another reason. We had already paused some of our ministries that interface with people that are likely to be more vulnerable e.g Kamo Readers, Café Connection & some Bible Studies. Actionzone Camp will not be happening over Easter.  Ministry teams are encouraged to think about how this affects your ministry. Please consult with us before finalising or activating your decision. We will let you know if a blanket suspension of group ministries happens.

We will be providing you with the most up to date news and communication we can. Misinformation and rumours can circulate quite readily and even accurate information can give rise to anxiety and panic because of the massive focus on the bad news of new cases etc, so we advise checking what you hear against the moH website – the link is below:

https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus

We will maintain teaching, relationship and practical care for our church members in many different ways. Below is a list of what we can provide:

  • Sermons will be online to listen to and we will be trialling streaming or Videoing our Sermons using Zoom, emailing a link out each week. For those with Facebook we will also be live-streaming.  We encourage you to gather together in small groups (Connect Group or a few families joining together) to listen to the sermon, pray together, encourage one another and, with careful hand washing and hygiene, to take communion together
  • Connect Groups (CGs) should still be able to operate and will for this season be our primary expression for fellowship. We have always said that CGs are vitally important and this virus and its effects highlight another reason to ensure you are connected in to a CG. A list of CGs and contact details are set out in the weekly email.  Even if you can’t attend a CG meeting, contact one of the CG leaders or Andrew or Scotty so that a CG can keep in contact with you and pray for you. 
  • Email careteam@clarkroadchapel.nz with any needs or prayer requests.
  • If you are self isolating, let Andrew or Scotty know so that the care team can be in contact with you. Isolation for health reasons should not become total isolation from your church family. We can phone and message you, run errands for you and deliver supplies if needed.

Again, we remind everyone that the Ministry of Health current advice is that these people should not attend events:

  • Anyone who is unwell
  • Anyone arriving in New Zealand who has returned from any country, or been in close contact with someone who has arrived back from overseas or been confirmed with COVID-19 in the last 14 days is being asked to self-isolate. Please also register your details with Healthline 0800 358 5453 if you have not already.


To assist with good hygiene, we are taking these steps at CRC:
 
Signage at entrance, restrooms and kitchen areas reminding people to practice good hygiene.

Provision of additional soap, paper towels and tissues (hand sanitiser is on backorder)

Additional cleaning of surfaces with disinfectant wipes.

  And we would also remind people at CRC about this best hygiene practice to keep each other well in our environments:

  • Covering coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or coughing/sneezing into your elbow.
  • Disposing of used tissues appropriately in a bin.
  • Washing hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water and drying them thoroughly, or using hand sanitiser.
  • Don’t shake hands, kiss, hug or hongi.  Instead, touch elbows as a gesture of greeting. 

  If you have health-related concerns about COVID-19, phone the dedicated COVID-19 Healthline (for free) on 0800 358 5453.

  Finally, as believers, please remember that we are carriers of hope to the world – when times are good and when times are tough.  As Christians, we aren’t subject to fear and panic, but common sense and faith.  In light of this, take care of yourselves and your family, and also those around you in your community.  Look out for those who are vulnerable or may be on their own or feeling stressed or anxious.  In times like this, let’s be the ones to reach out, and show love and support to those who need it. Remember that God is sovereign and the He will use these circumstances for the advance of His mission. Isolated in prison, and with death a distinct possibility, the apostle Paul wrote: “I want you to know that my circumstances have turned out for the advance of the gospel” (Philippians 1:12).

God bless you as you seek to advance the gospel in these challenging times,
 Scotty and Andrew on behalf of the Elders