19 March 2020
Dear brothers and sisters and all friends of St Luke’s Enmore with Stanmore
Re: Covid-19 Virus Response
Greetings in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
You have probably heard by now that the Archbishop of Sydney has decided that the Anglican Church in Sydney suspend ALL public church gatherings until further notice. Further, we are told that this may last for several months, with the Prime Minister being quoted as saying measures like this could remain for six months.
As a result, there will be no church services at St Luke’s until further notice. This does not mean that all ministry will cease but we will not be able to gather as we have traditionally done.
I and the wardens are exploring ways to respond to these new circumstances and ways to maintain an online and/or written ministry. This may involve YouTube or Facebook so look out for that.
In the meantime there are several important points to make.
The number one issue is to try to make sure that our parish members (and everyone else) remain healthy. To this end please take note of the information in the box below.
OFFICIAL ADVICE FROM THE DEPUTY CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER PAUL KELLY
“These are simple things — wash your hands, do it often and do it properly. Secondly, when you cough or sneeze, sneeze into your elbow. The third thing, don’t touch your face. Get used to not touching your face, even if it itches, please do not touch your face. If you need to touch your face, wash your hands first.
“The fourth one, if you are out (stay) 1.5m away from everyone whenever that is possible. The fifth thing, if you are sick, stay at home.”
Secondly, if you have special needs please let the parish know. We may be able to help. If you have prayer needs, please let the parish know. If you become ill, please let us know.
Would you like a daily or weekly phone call? Please let us know. We can do this.
I will be continuing to put together a weekly sermon, and I will be getting it to you one way or another.
These are challenging times for all of us. But God is good and these times will pass. Our task now is to stay in touch with each other, to pray for one another and to continue to support one another with true Christian love.
While being a Christian does not in itself protect us from this disease I do look to the scriptures for guidance, help and reassurance. In Mark’s Gospel, Chapter 10, on one occasion the disciples were amazed at Jesus teachings and they said ‘Then who can be saved?’ 27 Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.’
We can continue to have hope in God, for he has done marvellous things for us.
This is a prayer for all of us to use each day at this time of concern:
Loving and gracious God
Thank you for all your gifts to us.
At this time of illness, help us to keep safe.
Grant to us, leaders and practitioners who know what to do
Help us be eager to follow the advice of those who care for our health.
Encourage them and give them the understanding they need to keep us well.
We pray especially for the elderly and those who are vulnerable to this disease.
Watch over them and guard them.
And guard our health workers in hospitals and in the community
as they go about their work with the sick.
Father, We look to you at this time with tender hearts.
Take our fears and give us peace and hope, trust and faith,
and in your mercy bless our parish and its ministry.
All this we pray in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
With best wishes and prayers, and much more to come,
Fr Jeffrey Parker