How to get in touch.
ADDRESS: Corner Beechworth Road and Nilmar Avenue, Wodonga
PO BOX 189 WODONGA VIC 3689
OFFICE HOURS: THE CHURCH OFFICE IS OPEN FROM 12 NOON TO 4 PM ON FRIDAY’S
Rev Denise will be on annual leave from the 14th July until the 11th August
Church Office Phone: (02) 6024 2108
CHURCH OFFICE COORDINATOR: Judith Butler Mobile: 0410 021 222
Uniting Wodonga, Emergency Relief
Phone: 6048 6900
Monday to Friday 9.30am to 12.30pm
Covid-19 Directive from the General Secretary
A directive from the General Secretary requires that only 5 people are to be in the building at any one time. To enable ER to function effectively all visits by church members are requested to only visit the church after 1pm on weekdays.
When you enter the church building, you are required to sanitize your hands-on arrival and prior to departure, disinfect all surfaces you have touched with surface spray and paper towel, on the table in the foyer, before departure.
WHERE TO FIND US
Re: Coronavirus response - Rev Denise Liersch Moderator
Letter from Moderator General Secretary – Rev Dr Mark Lawrence 27 March 2020
Re: COVID-19 response: practical implications
‘Above all, maintain constant love for one another’ (1 Peter 4: 8)
These are challenging times for everyone, and many of us are feeling pushed to our limits. We are all experiencing challenges we have never faced before and it takes time to find our way through things. In your expectations of others, be gentle with each other. We’re all learning. We’re all in this together. Let us uphold one another in Christian love and accept the love of others in their care for us – as we strive to worship, witness, and serve in new and emerging ways.
There has been further government and public health advice regarding responses to the impact of COVID-19. Information regarding responding to COVID-19 impacts changes regularly. As information changes the Synod will inform the wider Church.
The information below reflects advice provided by the Australian and state governments along with the two key principles of:
- follow the advice of relevant civic authorities; and
- the health and safety of Church and wider community members is the highest priority.
This advice will apply until the temporary closure arrangements for places of worship and restriction of gatherings are relaxed by governments, or until further announcements are made.
1. Opening of places of worship
Places of worship are not to be opened or used for worship services with any congregations, except for weddings and funerals – as indicated below.
It is permissible for a maximum number of five (5) people to use church premises, eg church hall, (but not places of worship), using appropriate social distancing and hygiene practices, for videoing/live streaming a service of worship. No other people may be present.
Weddings may be held in places of worship, with the maximum number of five (5) people present, using appropriate social distancing and hygiene practices. Each state or territory government has discretion to
Tuesday to Friday Denise or Judith will be working.
The days Denise and Judith are not working in the office they will be working from home
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alter the numbers at a wedding. If further advice from a state government is received, the Synod will provide information to the Church regarding any changes.
Funerals may be held in places of worship, with the maximum number of ten (10) people present, using appropriate social distancing and hygiene practices. Each state or territory government has discretion to alter the numbers at a funeral. If further advice from a state government is received, the Synod will provide information to the Church regarding any changes.
4. Funerals and weddings held outdoors
The maximum number for weddings and funerals as indicated in points 2 and 3 above must be adhered to, and with appropriate social distancing and hygiene practices.
5. Use of Church halls and public facilities
Community halls or similar are not to be used by any groups, Church-related or other.
If halls or other facilities are used for activities such as food banks or homeless services, they can remain open for the delivery of these services only.
6. Congregation-related gatherings away from church buildings
No face-to-face congregation-related gatherings such as prayer groups, study groups or social groups, are to take place in people’s homes or similar, or outdoors.
7. Church Council and congregation committee meetings
Church Council and congregation committee meetings may only be held via teleconference and/or video conference.
8. Congregations staying connected
Congregations are encouraged to find ways for members to stay connected with each other for both worship and pastoral care, and with the wider Church. Opportunities including emails, website links, teleconferencing, videoconferencing, letter writing, phone-trees, are available for congregations to use to maintain connections between their community of faith. This is an opportunity for innovation.
Help, resources and coordination are available from your presbytery. The Synod’s equipping Leadership for Mission Unit (eLM) has developed a resources webpage. The link for this is: https://victas.uca.org.au/resources/covid-19-worship-resources/ Contact Rev Nigel Hanscamp (Nigel.Hanscamp@victas.uca.org.au) for more information about these resources. The online resources continue to evolve and are updated regularly.
Church Councils and ministers, where there are ministers in placement or supply, are encouraged to ensure that effective contact and pastoral and worship arrangements are in place for all members, along with opportunities for all members to experience being connected with each other – whether regular attenders or otherwise.
9. Addressing congregations’ strengths and challenges
There may be specific challenges according to the context of various congregations or communities of faith, whether these challenges relate to the use of electronic media, or to language, or cultural contexts. Where communities are blessed with gifts and skills in those areas, you are encouraged to look to who else you can share them with. To enhance coordination opportunities, ask your Presbytery which congregations might need and value your support. You don’t need to be in the same region to partner up.
SBS Radio has launched a Multilingual Coronavirus Portal, for news and information about COVID-19. The portal has 63 community languages.
10. Being at mission
Congregations are encouraged to look beyond themselves to encourage mission in the wider Church and community. Reflect with each other about how your congregation may express mission at this time, eg, pray for the world, send notes of support to the local Uniting and/or Uniting AgeWell centres, send cards to staff of local community services, schools or supermarket staff, drop off shopping for isolated neighbours, continue supporting wider Church activities such as UnitingWorld, etc.
11. Continue stewardship opportunities
Explore ways to assist expressing discipleship and support the ministry and mission of the wider Church through continuing the practice of making offerings, e.g., provide information for congregation members to transfer funds into the Congregation’s bank account, arrange for pick-ups of offering envelopes, etc.
Also, be sensitive to the needs of people who may be experiencing significant financial hardship in this period and who may need to alter their financial contribution in this period.
12. Congregation financial hardship
If a congregation is experiencing financial hardship through unexpected income reduction, contact your presbytery. If needed, the Presbytery will contact the Synod for possible financial assistance.
13. Potential eligibility for government grants
The synods are working with the Assembly to gain advice and, if appropriate, to approach the Australian government for access to government grants to assist various parts of the Church that are experiencing financial hardship. Further information will be distributed if the Church is eligible to seek grant relief.
14. Government websites
Keep accessing relevant government websites for COVID-19 response updates. These sites provide the most reliable information for application in local contexts:
- Australia: https://www.australia.gov.au
- Victoria: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus
- New South Wales: https://preview.nsw.gov.au/covid-19
As congregations continue connecting with, and supporting, each other, and staying in contact with presbyteries, we will continue to share in Christ’s ministry and uphold each other thoughtfully and prayerfully in faith, hope and love.
In this unprecedented time, with issues that are broad-ranging, rapidly changing, and with no simple fixes, ministers, congregation leaders, and all Church members are encouraged to recognise their own personal needs. Each person is encouraged to self-care and support each other, as we navigate our way in ministry as communities in these challenging times.
Let us continue to be the Church, in whichever way we are connected: living in Easter hope that emerges from God’s suffering with the world through Christ. May the God of life uphold you.
Grace and peace,
Rev Denise Liersch
A PRAYER FROM NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR CHURCHES IN AUSTRALIA. AMIDST COVID-19. Gracious God, We give thanks anew for your providence and presence. We prayerfully seek your grace, amidst COVID-19 here and overseas. We pray for those in need of healing. We pray for your peace with those who are anxious or grieving. We pray you will continue to strengthen and sustain all those who are serving in response. We pray for your Holy Spirit’s discernment amidst the many choices and decisions facing our national, community and medical leaders. We pray we each might see quickly what more we can do to help those who are vulnerable. This prayer for our nation in the family of nations, with all that is on our hearts, we gather now and pray through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN.
For Pastoral Care please contact: Leonie Findlay, Judy Bedford, Peter Butler, Shirley Fitzmaurice, Matt Lee
Les Lancaster, Carolyn Naldrett, Alison Prenter, Robyn Sayer, Harry Song or William Wilson.
If you would like a pastoral conversation with the minister please ring DENISE on 0407 128 077. Denise will be on annual leave from the 14th July until the 11th August 2020
Hi everyone, I know that I am being challenged by the new technologies available to us including Zoom. How are you coping? More importantly how are you coping with social distancing and in some cases with self-isolation. Can I encourage you to pick up the phone and call someone, a friend, a church member, an elder or someone you would like to get to know better. Perhaps this is an opportunity to recreate your neighborhood. Distant relatives, elderly neighbor or people who would call in for a visit may all be a neighbor. Several meetings have been initiated including Judy's Bible Discussion group, Elders and Executive meeting with varying degrees of success. Feedback being received is that people are missing the face to face contact. I wonder if folk who have internet capabilities would be interested in linking into Zoom groups. This would require the downloading of the free zoom app. A white video camera on a blue background or Zoom, free for PC
We would love to hear from you. Please email Judith with your response: