The road map back to public church meetings in NSW – with Michael Stead

Dr Michael Stead, Bishop of South Sydney, is Dominic Steele’s guest on The Pastor’s Heart to discuss how churches in NSW will likely need to adjust when they reopen (possibly from 31st October). A very helpful discussion.

Watch or listen here.

Lifting our voices to God — Wednesday at 7:00pm

Anglican churches across the Diocese are encouraged to join together and pray at 7:00pm on Wednesday, September 22 at the Lifting Our Voices to God livestream event.

In the one-hour online event, Christians will be encouraged to corporately lift their hearts, minds and vision to God during the pandemic. Read more

COVID Vaccination and The Church

“The recent announcement by the Australian government that increased freedoms would be available to citizens who were double vaccinated for COVID-19, or have exemption on medical grounds, has caused significant consternation in the Christian community. Issues of conscience and concerns about exclusion have been raised as reasons why such measures should not be introduced.

This paper has been written to consider how Australian churches should respond. …”

– The Gospel Coalition Australia has republished this very helpful article by Dr. Megan Best (palliative care doctor, researcher and bioethicist).

Well worth taking the time to read and consider.

Jesus, Freedom and Authority in Lockdown

ACL Council’s Lionel Windsor is continuing his series on “Jesus, Freedom and Authority in Lockdown” at Forget the Channel.

Part 1. How should Christians in lockdown respond to authorities? 1 Timothy 2:1–7 tells us to pray. But it’s not a bare command—it also tells us why.

Part 2. God is not an alternative or enemy to human governments. Rather, he is the Lord over them. That’s why we are to pray to him.

Part 3. When our physical horizons are narrowed down in lockdown, our gospel vision can also become narrowed to ourselves and our group.

Also published at The Australian Church Record, which already has Part 4 online.

Find Life that lasts: A national co-ordinated evangelism campaign

“How could we build back better after COVID?  Could evangelicals unite together to rebuild the church with a national co-ordinated evangelistic campaign?

COVID has created an unprecedented opportunity for evangelism, but churches and church leaders are feeling fragile and weary.

In Great Britain, churches are getting set for a national campaign leading up to Easter 2022, under the banner ‘Find life that lasts. It’s closer than you think.’…”

– Watch at The Pastor’s Heart.

Archbishop Raffel on Sunrise 13 September 2021

Archbishop Kanishka Raffel was interviewed on Seven’s Sunrise this morning, 13 September 2021.

The interview highlights the desire to minister to all while acting responsibly during the COVID outbreak.

Seeing God at Ground Zero: an Aussie’s testimony from 9/11

“A meteorologist would tell you there were sprawling areas of high pressure, but to me it was simply a picture-perfect day for my last full day in New York, and an opportunity to explore the tourist hot spots. First on the list was the viewing observatory inside the World Trade Center’s South Tower. It was Tuesday, September 11, 2001. …”

– Two years ago The Australian Church Record published this reflection and testimony from Anthony Philips. Good to re-read and share.

See also:

‘September 11 – Twenty Years On…’ – John Mason at Anglican Connection.

“Twenty years ago Judith and I were living three short blocks south of the Twin Towers in Downtown Manhattan. We had awakened that Tuesday morning to clear blue skies and the sparkling waters of New York Harbor. But it was not to last. …”

The Day the World Stood Still — Dean Phillip Jensen, St. Andrew’s Cathedral, September 11 2011.

Government roadmap unveiled, including churches

“The NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has unveiled a roadmap for opening up once New South Wales reaches the vaccination target of 70% double vaccination.

She says the new rules will be effective on the Monday after the vaccine milestone is reached.

That has been estimated, on current projections, as October 18 but that date may change. …”

– The latest from SydneyAnglicans.net

COVID crisis at Oakhurst

Our brothers and sisters in Oakhurst need us. They need our prayers.

The pastor of the parish’s South Sudanese congregation, the Rev Samuel Majok, is aware of 15 families in the congregation and wider community whose lives and livelihoods have been turned upside down by contracting COVID. …

This has been especially distressing for the family of his assistant pastor, John Deng …”

– An urgent call for prayer – from Judy Adamson in Southern Cross magazine, September 2021. (Full PDF file here.)

Consultations begin on post-lockdown plans

“The Archbishop, through his Regional Bishops, is convening a series of meetings for rectors and churchwardens to discuss plans for re-opening of churches amid uncertainty about timing and government regulation.

The COVID-19 outbreak is yet to reach its peak, with Premier Gladys Berejiklian forecasting that worst will come in the next fortnight. Beyond that, Premiers and the Federal government are working to vaccination targets before restrictions can be eased.

New South Wales is expected to reach 70 per cent double dose vaccination by October 18 and 80 per cent by November 1.

No detailed plan for re-opening of mass gatherings has yet been announced and appears to be some weeks away.

Archbishop Raffel called on churches to pray for the community, especially the LGAs hit hard by COVID, health and emergency workers, and for the Gospel witness of churches at this time.

He commended the prayer meetings being held in various churches and the diocese wide opportunity to pray at 7pm on Wednesday 22 September 2021. Churches, groups and individuals can join the ‘Lifting our Voices to God’ online event of prayer, song and word.

Registration is not necessary and further information can be found at praytogether.online. Archbishop Raffel will speak at the event.”

Russell Powell at SydneyAnglicans.net has the latest on thinking about reopening – as well as a call to pray.

How might the reopening of churches play out in Australia?

“What will happen in churches after the third wave of COVID as the freedoms return to Australia over the next two months?

When vaccination rates reach 70% venues, including places of worship are likely to be reopened, and even more when the rates reach 80%.

Governments are planning more freedoms for those who are double vaccinated. But will they impose restrictions on who can attend worship? …”

A very topical issue of The Pastor’s Heart.

Mike Raiter on Revelation 21 and “the virus which keeps you out”

Mike Raiter spoke evangelistically from Revelation 21 on the St. Jude’s Carlton livestream in Melbourne this morning.

While the video and audio is somewhat compressed, the message is well worth hearing and passing on to others.

(GAFCON photo.)

Why We Can’t Sign the Ezekiel Declaration — an Evangelical Response

“Over the past week a letter has been promoted and circulated around many churches and religious organisations. The Ezekiel Declaration (“the Declaration”) is addressed to Prime Minister Scott Morrison and outlines concerns over a potential “vaccine passport” that would be required for church attendance.

The letter has now received 2000+ signatures of religious leaders from across Australia, and for that reason alone it is gaining much attention receiving quite a splash. For every signatory there are certainly many more Christian leaders who have not signed their names. Still, 2000+ names and the organisations that they represent is a significant number. …”

– David Ould and Murray Campbell have jointly published their thoughts on “the Ezekiel Declaration”.

See what you think of their reasoning, and continue to pray for all those in authority.

Update (02 September 2021) –

A response to The Ezekiel Declaration – Gospel, Society and Culture Committee of the Presbyterian Church in Australia in NSW and the ACT.

Next Page →