Make the most of Easter evangelism post COVID

From The Pastor’s Heart:

“Don’t let Easter creep up on you.”

Dominic Steele is joined by Paul Webb, Elliot Temple and Andrew Levy in thinking about how to make the most of Easter this year.

Watch at The Pastor’s Heart.

Also at The Pastor’s Heart, Dominic addresses the tragedy of the recent revelations concerning Ravi Zecharias.

For the good of Others

“As we commence a new year in 2021, I am sure that many of us look forward to the suppression, if not elimination, of the Coronavirus which has threatened lives and livelihoods. We welcome the imminent distribution of some of the vaccines that have been developed and are currently in use in other parts of the world, and I am grateful for so many who have offered prayer each night at 1900hrs for COVID-19 research…”

– In his column in this month’s Southern Cross, Archbishop Glenn Davies uses COVID-19 as a lead-in to speak of the goodness of God’s Law.

Meeting others to worship is a lifeline

“A group of Clergy taking government to court might seem a surprisingly ‘un-Christian’ thing to do, when closing churches is to ‘save lives’. In fact, the reason we have commenced action against Scottish Minsters is born of profound Christian love for our nation.

We all recognise the challenges facing the government. But we believe that, however well-intentioned, criminalising corporate worship is both damaging and dangerous for Scotland…

There is an urgent need for a message beyond that of health and safety: a message of hope and salvation.”

– Dr. William Philip, Minister at The Tron Church in Glasgow, argues why it is so important that churches meet – despite COVID.

Restrictions easing for churches, with promise of more

“The New South Wales Premier, Gladys Berijiklian, has announced that caps on numbers at church services have been eased, although the 4m2 rule is still in force.

The Premier has announced the easing will take place on Friday, 29th January. …”

– Report from SydneyAnglicans.net.

Mandatory masks in latest COVID changes

“New restrictions have been announced for indoor venues, including churches, as a result of COVID-19 transmission on the Northern Beaches and across Greater Sydney.

The measures take effect from Sunday, 3rd January, for Greater Sydney including Wollongong, Central Coast and the Blue Mountains.

Face masks are mandatory for shopping, indoor entertainment, public transport and places of worship…”

– Story from Russell Powell at SydneyAnglicans.net.

See also the Diocesan COVID-19 FAQ page for church workers.

COVID shows us something deeper — the great unmasking of God

The Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Glenn Davies, has released his Christmas message for 2020. Read more

Restrictions tighten again amid new COVID breakout

“Growing concern over the spread of COVID-19 in Sydney’s North has led to stern warnings from the New South Wales Premier, impacting local churches.

In response to the Premier’s statement and after considering health advice, Archbishop Glenn Davies has written to rectors and churchwardens across the Sydney Diocese, advising churches in the Northern region to suspend face-to-face meetings, for others to consider whether they should go online-only or at the least use facemasks, and for those outside Greater Sydney to maintain COVID-19 protocols. …”

The very latest from SydneyAnglicans.net

NSW Covid-19 rules for churches from 7 Dec 2020

“The NSW Government has now released the text of the new more generous gathering rules which will apply from Monday 7 December, in the Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order (No 7) 2020 (“PHO7”).

The new rules are much more generous in allowing churches to gather – in short, most indoor church meetings will only be subject to a new ‘one person per 2 square metres’ rule, rather than a hard numerical cap. Restrictions as to outdoor gatherings have also been eased. …”

– Neil Foster at Law and Religion Australia helpfully outlines the latest COVID-19 rules for churches in NSW.

Singing is back!

“Pressure from churches has led to changes to COVID Public Health orders which will allow churchgoers to sing at Christmas services, but they have been advised to wear masks. …

The Health orders will be in force from Monday, 7th December.”

– Good news from SydneyAnglicans.net.

Encouragement in the midst of a challenging year

“It’s important to take moments to stop and reflect in order to see the ways God has worked in our lives. We want to celebrate how God has blessed churches, sustained and expanded ministries, and grown his kingdom this year. Join us in giving thanks for the year that has been!…”

– At SydneyAnglicans.net, Judy Adamson reminds us there is much for which we can be thankful.

Singing and Not-Singing in COVID Season

“Of all the restrictions necessitated by the COVID pandemic, one of the most frustrating, at least for most Christians, is not being able to sing together – either because we’re unable to meet together or because it’s not deemed safe for us to do so even if we are able to be together. Of course, not being able to sing together hasn’t killed us, and it won’t. But it has deprived and diminished us and, understandably, is deeply painful to many. …”

– Rob Smith writes at The Gospel Coalition Australia.

Also published at Latimer Trust.

See also:

Review: Come, Let Us Sing – Christopher Idle, at Church Society.

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

In the US – Winter is coming: COVID-19 forces hard choices for Churches

“TGC asked five pastors how they’ve been using the relative safety of outdoors, how the weather is a challenge, and how they’re thinking creatively about the changing seasons…”

A good reminder to pray for churches in the northern hemisphere as the weather gets colder.

Image: Sam Ferguson, Falls Church Anglican, Virginia.

Churches, Give People a Message of Hope

“Tom Holland is the spiderman of historians. His latest conversation with Glen Scrivener is well worth the listen for it includes more than a few intriguing thoughts in the web of ideas.

I really appreciate his thoughtfulness and honesty. It was this reflection by Holland that especially struck a chord with me. He said,

‘I felt that over the course of this year the churches have been a let down. I think that the experience of pandemic, it sets you to asking why is this happening…it raises profound issues of theodicy.’…

Holland isn’t knocking churches for talking about their buildings, social distancing and COVID-19 plans. He notes that these things are important. The overall presentation of Christianity that he has heard and seen over the last 6 months (and keep in mind Tom Holland is a studious observer of Christianity), the message he’s received is overall bland and uninspiring and offers little hope to a world he says is desperate for salvation.”

– Murray Campbell in Melbourne writes at The Gospel Coalition Australia.

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