With the rapidly evolving situation around the world in relation to Covid-19, we felt it was important to continue to share our current thinking about how we respond as a church. Check this page for updates as we navigate this time.
LATEST Update: 5 pm, 19 March 2020
We’ve just heard that the Ministry of Health has advised that gatherings of over a 100 people can no longer meet in one place which will affect the way that we gather on Sundays. Our teams have been working hard in preparation for a moment like this, and so we’re ready to go online for our services this Sunday. And so church is still on, you can meet with other groups around our city or from the comfort of your own home and we’re going to connect in together in our online services at 9 am , 11 am and 6.30 pm. Our 11 am service will also be in Mandarin. All necessary information to access church online will be available on our website or through social media at 6 pm tomorrow (Friday, 20 March).
We encourage you to stay calm—to be a peaceful presence to others. This Sunday, our team has planned a very special service to help us know how to respond to a time like this ourselves, and how to lead other people through a time like this. After all the words of 1 John say Love casts out all fear. I think this is a very needed word for us at this time. So, stay calm and see you online on Sunday.
Update: 6 pm, 17 March 2020
As a leadership team, we continue to monitor recommendations from the Ministry of Health as we seek to be vigilant and wise in response to the Covid-19 virus.
At this stage, all our services and ministries are continuing at Greenlane Christian Centre with live-broadcast available for all three of our services.
As you will be aware, the Government advised public events or mass gatherings where 500 or more people are together in one place, at one time should be cancelled. Our gatherings at present are less than this threshold so we will continue meeting until the health advice is to do otherwise.
We have seen smaller churches decide to close their services and meet in small groups around the city. And others (like us) are staying open. And both are legitimate options. We believe we should provide options for people to meet face-to-face while also providing a live-broadcast option for people who need to stay home.
In speaking to churches in Hong Kong (who have weathered this period a little longer) we have heard that it is preferable to stay open for as long as possible to provide for face-to-face connection for those that prefer this option. We also understand that for some of you coming to a service may not be possible or the wisest thing to do at this present time. In order to help you stay connected, we will be broadcasting our services at 9 am, 11 am and 6.30 pm. These services will also have pastors connecting with you online, with availability for prayer during and post service. The morning services will be live on these channels and the 6.30 pm will be a recording from the morning. The 11 am service will also have a mandarin translation available. We will provide details for how you connect later in the week.
If the ministry of health advice changes before the weekend, we have plans to meet in homes throughout the city. In that situation, we will let you know via our Greenlane Christian Centre Facebook page.
Let’s remember Jesus' words to his disciples: ‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.’ (John 14:27). This is the peace that is capable of resisting the pressure of fear. It’s the peace that allows us to be stable, solid and caring whatever fears there may be. It’s the peace we need now. May that be our experience.
UPDATE: 2 pm, 16 March 2020
No matter how frustrating, confusing, or scary this crisis gets, fear doesn't have the final say. 1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” Our hope is built on the perfect love of Jesus Christ, so we've been called to share that love with the world. And that's exactly what we'll be doing in the coming weeks and months as more and more people in our city are in need. Out of love, we are a church that will follow the guidelines and suggestions from Ministry of Health. We realise that most of us won’t get COVID-19, and if we do, most of us who are healthy will recover just fine. However, for those in our community who are older and for those with other health challenges that compromise their ability to fight the disease, it won’t be so easy. Love necessities that we protect our neighbours and city. We don’t make changes out of fear but out of loving responsibility for others.
So, let me update you on a few things that we mentioned in our services yesterday:
We’ve cancelled our conference that was planned for this next Sunday. Though we were looking forward to getting all three services on one site, it is not responsible for us to squeeze everyone together! Instead of the planned theme we had, I want to share a few thoughts about this cultural moment and the opportunity we have to trust in God during this time and demonstrate unexpected love toward our neighbours.
We have changed how we do some things in our services for this season in order to reduce possibility of hands transmitting a virus. So, instead of offering bags/baskets, we now have giving stations in the foyer. Communion will also be at available at stations before/after/and during services where people can take communion in their own time.
We will be live streaming services from Sunday so that you can join our service from your home. Details will be on our website /social media later this week for how you access these online services.
Common areas are being cleaned more frequently, with the addition of hand sanitiser stations.
At this time, all of our weekly ministries and services will continue as scheduled. However, there may come a time when the health advice is to close large gatherings for a season. If this occurs, we are developing plans to provide church in our households and small groups around our city. We will communicate any changes via social media and email. So - be sure that you check our church facebook site and your inbox for updates.
If you are sick, we encourage you to stay home even if you are scheduled to volunteer. It’s the most loving thing to do for others. We are asking everyone to refrain from shaking hands and encouraging all to wash their hands more often. This is the “smile and wave” greeting season.
I believe that every need in the world is an open door to God’s love. As a church, we respond to moments of crisis NOT by panicking or hiding out of fear, but by serving the people who are most vulnerable.
If you need help, we first want to say that we see you and we care about you! Our goal during this crisis is to serve you however you need. Get in touch with us here let us know how we can serve you!
If you want to help, there are multiple ways you can serve people in your community who are vulnerable to the virus. Over the days ahead, we will let you know ways that you can help but I encourage you to pray and step out in the ideas that the Spirit brings to mind. Remember that the early church wasn’t known for stockpiling ample food and supplies for themselves and spreading fear on social media. Rather, they embodied a love that does the unexpected. What might that look like for us at this time? We do have additional financial needs at this time as we consider some of the opportunities in front of us to help our city. Please consider making an additional gift at this time or setting up at Automatic Payment at PushPay Greenlane Christian Centre.