May 22, 2020
From the Moderator
“16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[a] in you.” John 14:16-17
When Jesus lived together with His disciples, He became a good adviser, guide, and friend to the disciples. He taught them to bear their prejudgements and ignorance’s. He also provided comfort when they were discouraged and strength when faced with problems. When He said that He would soon leave them soon, the disciples are full of anxiety about their future. What will their future life look like without Jesus? Where will they lean?
Here, Jesus gives a guarantee, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever. Help will be given in exchange for His absence, to carry out His duties. From here we can learn part of the task of the Holy Spirit, which is to teach and comfort all believers including all of us today.
Their job becomes clear, they must proclaim the word of salvation. The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, will make disciples. Do not be scared. Jesus promised to send the Spirit of Truth to lead his disciples to the whole truth. Therefore, it is hoped that the disciples will open themselves, hearts, souls, minds to the guidance of the Holy Spirit promised to us.
If we really open to the Holy Spirit, we will also open to the brothers and sisters who live and work with us every day. “He will teach you everything and will remind you of all that I have told you.” (John 14:26)
For all of us today, when we deal with problems the truth will come naturally even if it appears from the darkest place. For that, you must be strong in praying, leave everything to God, and look at everything with the eyes of faith. Do not rely solely on your intellectual abilities but sharpen your conscience. God will speak to you in his own way.
Dear God, thank you for the Spirit of Truth and true Helper who always guides our lives. Amen
Rev Thresi Mauboy Wohangara
From the General Secretary
Thank you for following the Northern Territory Government’s advice on COVID-19 Stage 2 of the ‘Roadmap to Recovery’ with easing of restrictions regarding Places of Worship. Stage 3 will take place at noon on 5th June.
I originally planned to provide some training and offer practical advice to congregations on COVID-19 safety plans with examples on physical distancing and hygienic practices. However, the feedback from congregations is so overwhelmingly positive that you are managing your buildings well. Therefore, there is no value in running such training sessions. Hence, I have cancelled the planned video training but feel free to contact the office if you need some clarification. Please continue to practice those safety measures during Stage 2.
1.5m rule – ensuring physical distancing from each other except if you are from the same family living in the same household
Four square metre rule – ensuring our places of worship must allow for 4 square metres per person. You have included this in your calculation of worship space plan already.
Hygienic practices – ensuring you are cleaning your hands, coughing into your elbow, not shaking hands, etc.
Maximum of 2 hours per indoor Worship or gathering event – We must ensure that all use of our places of worship meet the maximum limit of 2 hours per event, from the time you open the door to the time you lock it.
The management of church property is still the responsibility of the Church Council. The church council is encouraged to consider allowing all groups to resume worship as was the case before COVID-19 restrictions to begin their worship service if requested.
Let us open our hearts and welcome all people who are longing to gather again and in fellowship to worship in our spaces. All groups are to carefully read NT Government guidelines regarding Stage 2 loosening of restrictions and other rules/directions from them, some of them listed above.
Each church council has responsibility over their property. They are to offer advice to all who use the property and after doing this and take all measures (e.g. moving furniture and installing hand sanitiser stations) as expected by the NT Government and as outlined in the safety plan. If a group fail to comply with your advice and your measures, it is unlikely that the church council will be held responsible because the church council has done all they can.
All groups using the place of worship do not need to submit a separate COVID-19 Safety Plan as they are covered under your property safety plan and commit to the same restrictions. The total number of people attending such extra worship services or event should be submitted to the council to make sure they are within the limit. In all circumstances that a church council feels a group has not complied or cannot comply with the advice offered by them and actions undertaken by them, please contact the Northern Synod right away to discuss best course of action.
There are some medical reports on the danger of singing in large groups such as in choirs. Please explore creative ways of singing in small groups and/or use pre-recorded music and video clips. You must minimise handling of hymn books and music sheets and be more careful in distribution of resources within the worship space. A reduction of number of songs and hymns used in the actual worship service order may be another option to consider.
Please sure you have a clear plan, after ensuring it is consistent with NT Government advice and your safety plan, on everything you do before, during and after the service. For example, you may include items in your bulletins, offering instructions at the beginning of worship, marking spaces on the floor, in seating and where people sit and stand during the service. Feel free to contact other congregations directly to learn of their practical and creative ways of implementing their safety plan.
You are encouraged to send photos to Liusem of church gatherings and events but please make sure you get the permission of people on photos before sending them to Synod. These pictures may be used on our synod website, Facebook, and other social communication platforms.
Again, thank you all for acting so responsibly as we continue to worship our Living God in Jesus Christ within our communities.
Please feel free to contact the synod office on email@example.com 08 8982 3400 or Liusem on Liusem.Mauboy@ns.uca.org.au if you have further questions.
Rev. Haloti T Kailahi