Dear Parish friends
The current situation evolves day by day, and the Anglican Church in this diocese is seeking to play its part in following the government regulations to reduce the spread of the virus and protect our communities. We have already had the news that we cannot use our church buildings, even for private prayer and the latest advice received today from the General Manager is that small group gatherings in private homes also need to stop for now. Therefore all bible study groups and other meetings will need to be by telephone or video conferencing. This I know will take some getting used to, but I have had seven such meeting this week so far and it does get easier!
Although physically separate, we are still spiritually together as the community of St Lukes. I would like to share a number of things that we can do together (apart) to promote this community.
· Firstly we can pray for each other and wider community of our city, country and world. A number of people have been joining me for Evening Prayer via conference call (see the details attached). We have been praying for all members on the parish roll. Those whose surnames begin with A-C were prayed for on Tuesday, D-I yesterday and J-M will be prayed for tonight. The details of the e-pray app for your Android or I-phone/pad that lets you pray Morning or Evening Prayer by yourself is attached.
· Then we can keep in touch. We will be rolling out a ‘parish contact chain’ in the next few days to ensure that we can keep connections. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any prayer requests or news.
· We also need to continue to contribute financially to the parish (bills still need to be paid). If you are not already doing so, perhaps you might consider Direct Debit via ANFIN Parish Direct. Email me and I will send you the form. Online donations can be made by internet banking or with a credit card can be made by Bpoint via https://www.bpoint.com.au/pay/TIM/?BillerCode=1709377 (or scan the QR code attached). You could also post a cheque to us.
· Finally we can join together via technology to pray and worship on Sunday morning. We will use the Zoom system (contact details attached), but if you don’t have a computer (or IPad or Tablet) then you can phone in to join in. For those who would like a practice connecting and some help with using the software (or just to drop in for a chat), then I will open up a session on Friday evening 7.30-8.30pm and on Saturday afternoon 2-3pm. We are actively planning how we can celebrate Holy Week and Easter ‘apart but together’.
I read on a news site that internet traffic related to Christianity has risen by 120% over the last few weeks and there are many seeking for faith to comfort and sustain them at this time. Let us pray that our faith in Christ will strengthen and sustain us in our various ministries. Please join me in praying for people who have lost their jobs as well as for workers in the health care sector, especially our hospital workers, at this time.
Finally for your reflection, I attach a poem, ‘Lockdown’ by an Irish Franciscan which has ‘gone viral’ on the internet.