12 May 2020
Ministry under Alert Level 2
Bishop Jay has written to the diocese thanking God for all of you, and all that you are doing to care for God’s people in these unprecedented times. He also took the opportunity to answer the question: what does the move back to Level 2 mean for our churches and our ministries?
Characterised by “responsibility and flexibility”, Bishop Jay has encouraged us to continue to care for the vulnerable and needy, doing all things to ensure we meet the public health requirements.
In addition, he has asked that (whilst at Alert Level 2) clergy and Parish Councils work out how best to faithfully and responsibly minister in the context of your church. He has asked that careful and deliberate consideration be given to policies around the Lord’s Supper, children’s and youth ministry, morning tea, and cleaning.
Finally, Bishop Jay reminded us that whilst we can plan for the practicalities of ministry at Level 2 – seeking the perfect balance between responsibility and flexibility – the key to effective ministry is prayerful dependence on our sovereign, gracious God and a commitment to faithfully proclaiming his life-giving word to one another.
You are welcome to be in touch if you have questions and concerns, and you can find more information on the government’s official website: covid19.govt.nz/alert-system/alert-level-2/
You can read Bishop Jay’s full letter here.
1 May 2020
Bishop Jay Behan has responded to the recent announcement from our Prime Minister about upcoming changes to our Alert Level.
In his letter to church leaders, Jay instructed that “there be virtually no changes to our ministry practices as we move from Level 4 to Level 3”. No church may conduct any public gathering of any kind, nor should there be any introduction or re-introduction of any small group gatherings – including Bible study groups, the sharing of meals together, or gatherings for the purpose of recording Sunday services.
“As we prepare ourselves and our churches for at least two weeks at Alert Level 3, we should take the same approach as we’ve taken since the beginning of this crisis – not only observing the letter of the law but also respecting and honouring the spirit of the law,” Jay said.
Jay has also urged all CCA church members to remain committed to playing our part, even as we await the time when we can meet again in one another’s physical presence. “Thank you so much for all you are doing to shepherd God’s flock that is under your care and to proclaim the gospel of Christ as we await his return,” Jay said.
Bishop Jay’s letter to parishioners can be found here.
If you have any specific questions, please get in touch with your local parish, or visit www.covid19.govt.nz/alert-system/alert-level-3.
20 March 2020
Bishop Jay Behan has issued a statement in response to the latest updates, information, and advice from the New Zealand Government. The statement reminds us that the Lord is is still on his throne, and we are to continue to put our trust and hope in him.
He directs all CCAANZ churches to suspend all public gatherings after (but not including) Sunday, March 22nd. This includes (but is not limited to) all Sunday gatherings, midweek church services, camps and conferences, and public youth or children’s ministries, regardless of size.
This decision was taken prayerfully, with regret, and whilst ahead of the government’s guidance, is in line with its general trajectory.
“Cancelling our regular public gatherings is a very real and practical way in which we can care for the most vulnerable among us—not only those who attend our churches, but also all members of our wider community who would be particularly endangered by the spread of this virus.” Bishop Behan said.
He went on to say, “Whatever we do, it will be vital that we find ways to stay connected to one another. The age of ‘social distancing’ must not become the age of ‘relational distancing’. On the contrary, let us step toward one another in love and kindness, using the technology and the other means that God has provided to care for each other during an unprecedented time.”
Bishop Jay’s full statement can be found here CCAANZ Pastoral Letter – 20 March 2020
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are answers to questions we have received often. In addition there are links to helpful websites to assist you as you continue to lead, meet, and fellowship in your various parishes and churches across the diocese. If your question is not covered below please email email@example.com
What can I do?
By far the most important and powerful thing you can do is pray and ask God to relieve suffering, give wisdom to our leaders, and to keep us safe. Our God is a powerful and loving God, and he answers prayer. Pray for your family, your neighbours and your work colleagues.
In addition to prayer, please show love for one another and our community by following the public health guidelines published by the Ministry of Health on its COVID19.govt.nz website. It is up to date, and committed to the well-being of our community. Check the advice frequently because as the situation develops and we grow in our understanding of the way the coronavirus is spread and affects people, the advice is modified.
Finally, don’t panic! Our Heavenly Father cares for us, and his world. Whatever he is working through this is for our good, and our trust in Christ, who loves and cares for us, means we look at the events of this world very differently to the rest of humankind. Matthew 6:25–34.
Why can’t we meet together?
The government has a well defined system of alert levels. At present we are at Level 3 (to be Level 4 at midnight Wednesday 25 March). This comes with strict protocols for all New Zealanders, including staying at home and stopping all interactions with others outside of your household. Titus 3 calls us to be good citizens, by following this government direction we are obeying God’s word.
How will we stay connected?
Each Parish and Branch Church has determined the best way to stay in touch. Some are livestreaming Sunday services via various online platforms (e.g. Facebook, or Youtube). Others are connecting via AV meeting services like Skype or Zoom. Some others have chosen the tried and true ‘phone-tree’. All congregations are making every effort to help people stay connected. If you have not been contacted please don’t sit alone, reach out to your vicar or small group leader directly.
Can I attend my small group/home group?
No. The government’s direction is clear, there is to be no contact outside of your household. Some churches are facilitating small groups via virtual meeting platforms such as Zoom/Skype/Hangouts.
Will Youth Groups and Children’s Ministry continue?
Currently each parish is working out how to best minister to youth group and deliver children’s ministry. Your youth group leader or person in charge of children’s ministry will be in touch with you directly.
What about Weddings, Funerals, and Tangi?
Sadly all indoor and outdoor events are cancelled. This applies to family and social gatherings such as weddings, funerals, and tangi. This means that these events are not permitted to take place, and should not go ahead. Currently you are being asked to only spend time with those you are in self isolation with.
How do we care for each other while we aren’t meeting?
In addition to the ways described above, it is important to make sure we are checking on our church family members in a meaningful way. Offering to grocery shop, or pop down to the pharmacy are examples of practical ways we can help each other. If you are someone who needs this kind of assistance please make sure you reach out to your home group leader or pastoral care coordinator.