A chat with Bishop Gary Koo

Recently, Tom Harricks (Rector of Penrith Anglican Church, and also Secretary of the ACL) chatted with Gary Koo, Bishop of Western Sydney.

Gary shares something of his background, how he became a Christian, and what it’s like to be a new bishop in the era of COVID.

An interesting and very encouraging video.

Leading for endurance not recovery!

“Australian church leaders need to make a philosophical shift in every aspect of our ministry, away from leading for recovery and towards planning to lead for endurance.

We need to start using the catchcry, ‘Not Recovery, But endurance, ’ in order to set our people’s expectations right.”

– At this morning’s EFAC/Peter Corney Institute online conference, Dominic Steele contributed these thoughts about endurance.

‘Come, let us sing!’ with Rob Smith

From The Pastor’s Heart:

“Rob Smith has been a global leader in evangelical music for three decades. He has a new book out ‘Come, Let us Sing!’ just as singing has been restricted in many churches due to COVID-19.

Rob joins us to talk about some of the principles he’s discovered in a lifetime’s work in Evangelical Music, plus how the current pandemic has caused course corrections. …”

Helpful and encouraging.

– Watch or listen at The Pastor’s Heart.

(Image: Rob Smith at St. Andrew’s Cathedral, courtesy Anglican Media Sydney.)


“I don’t understand why people would have a problem being asked to wear a mask. It might not be popular to say it out loud, but we all put on masks.

So what’s the problem? Long before COVID came along we were masked and long after it will disappear we will continue to be masked. So what’s the problem?…”

A gospel slant on masks from the Bishop of Armidale, Rick Lewers.

Update on rules for NSW churches under COVID restrictions

“Following my previous comments on the operation of Public Health Orders (PHO’s) in NSW on churches and religion groups, this post reports on the latest amendment to the rules, which commenced operation today, Friday 24 July.”

– At Law and Religion Australia, Neil Foster takes a close look at the latest NSW Public Health Order and what it means for churches.

Church restrictions tighten in COVID snapback

“The COVID emergency in Victoria as well as several outbreaks in Sydney, including in a Maronite congregation, has led to tighter controls on churches, including a requirement to register as COVID-safe businesses.

In a public health order issued on Thursday 23 July, church meetings are now capped at 100, regardless of the size of the building. Previously, there was no cap and the numbers were constrained only by how many could fit with 4m2 distancing. Weddings and funerals also have caps, with funerals at the general 100 person limit and weddings permitted to have 150 people. …

All places of worship must register with NSW Health as a COVID Safe business. They must also have their plan available for inspection.”

– Russell Powell has the latest – including relevant links – at SydneyAnglicans.net.

See also:

COVID-19 Safety Plan for places of worship.

Colin Buchanan ‘Strong & Courageous’ concert live online tonight from 7:30pm

With the support of The Gospel Coalition Australia, tonight (Thursday, 23 July 2020) at 7:30pm, Colin Buchanan is ‘singing some songs echoing God’s grace in the COVID-19 season’ – live on his Facebook page.

Share and watch.

How the COVID outbreak is affecting southwestern Sydney parishes

“The morning service at Hoxton Park Anglican was all set to start up again this Sunday. The kids’ program was ready to go, and the congregation was looking forward to meeting together in person. That was until the COVID cluster from the Crossroads Hotel in Casula came to light. …”

– The latest from SydneyAnglicans.net. Photo: Civic Australia.

See also:

“NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced COVID-19 restrictions introduced to pubs will be extended to restaurants, bars, cafes and clubs. …

Funerals and places of worship will be limited to 100 people.

The restrictions will be in place from July 24.” – ABC News.

Preaching in the Days of the Virus

“The English philosopher Bertrand Russell said, ‘Most people would rather die than think and most people do so’.

God urges his people to think – to think about history, to think about what he is doing in the world. God is not aloof and distant; he is involved in human history, nothing happens apart from his permission.

History is indeed his story and when one takes a bird’s eye, rather than a worm’s eye view,  God’s hand in world and personal events is readily apparent. …”

– At The Expository Preaching Trust, David Cook has some valuable suggestions for preachers in “the Days of the Virus”.

(Picture: St. Helen’s Bishopsgate.)

COVID claims African church leader

“The spread of COVID-19 on the African continent continues with the death of Congolese Anglican Bishop Désiré Mukanirwa, who fell ill two weeks ago.

As well as the shocking loss for his wife Claudaline, their four children and his Diocese of Goma, Bishop Mukanirwa is being mourned as far away as Australia. …”

Tragic news from the Diocese of Goma – via SydneyAnglicans.net.

CMS NSW/ACT gives thanks for response to Lasting Hope Appeal

From the CMS NSW and ACT branch:

Praise God that we have exceeded our $1.6 million target, to support CMS missionaries as they share the hope of Jesus! Thank you to all those who have been praying for the appeal – and for everyone who gave in support.

You will know that CMS has faced significant financial challenges amidst the COVID-19 period. It is a great joy and encouragement to know that our Fellowship is responding to these challenges together, as we trust in the God who provides for all of our needs.

But our work is not finished yet. During COVID-19, our branch faced a number of unexpected expenses – the high cost of airfares at short notice, loss of income from the CMS Conference Centre, and additional housing for missionaries who were unable to leave or needed to return to Australia – these are just a few examples. …”

See more here.

Nothing takes God by surprise

“Nothing takes God by surprise and the ministry he has entrusted to his people remains the same: ‘this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world’. …”

– Dean of Sydney, Kanishka Raffel, is praying for a Corona harvest.

Are we there yet?

“The latest changes to the Public Health Orders for Places of Worship have plunged churches into a further round of calculation and cleaning as the COVID-19 restrictions continue to ease.

The changes are being brought in amid continuing concern about the situation in Victoria where another wave of community transmission is emerging. …”

The latest COVID-19 update from the Diocese of Sydney includes videos from Bishop Gary Koo (Chair of the diocesan COVID taskforce) and Youthworks’ Ed Springer.

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