COVID-19 Hope Presbyterian Phase 1 Plan and Measures – Updated 21 March, 2020

Well, we are now less than 24hrs away from Live Streaming our services for the very first time here at Hope!  Along with the rest of the pastoral team, I am really looking forward to this new opportunity, and although it will feel a little different we’re still going to sing, pray, hear the word and interact with each other as we lean in and hear what God is going to say to us.

There are a couple of things that I want to make you aware of before Sunday morning:

1. Here is the link to our new webpage.  Click on this link, and although you only see a live feed of Taylors Mistake at the moment – come Sunday it will have Hope at Home live stream.  Just refresh your page at the time and you’ll see your site pastor’s smiling face welcoming you to church.  Here’s the link and feel free to click on it any time https://www.hopechurch.net.nz/live/

2. A reminder that services start at 9am for Hornby.  10am for West Melton.  11am for Rolleston.  6pm for Evening Service.

3. If you would prefer to view the live stream on YouTube – then there is a link at the bottom of our webpage.  Again just select the service you want and you’re away.

4. KIDS – we have not forgotten about you!!  And although we can’t come to your house and run a program, there will be some activities posted on the same webpage that you can download.

5. Need Help??  Can give Help??  There are 2 button on our webpage https://www.hopechurch.net.nz/live/ where you can ask for help, or you can give help.  If you are unable to get out and need some medication picked up or groceries picked up etc – then let us know by clicking on the button and filling in the form – we’d love to help.  If you can give help, then register what you can bring to the table and we’ll be in touch.

6. Giving – we recognise that we all give in a variety of ways.  For 2/3’s of us we give by electronic means, but for those of who still use the envelopes then can I encourage you to drop that in to the Hornby office on Monday morning (stay for a coffee if you’d like) or connect with your site pastor about a more convenient location.  We also recognise that during this uncertain time your financial situation might change because of work etc.  If you’d like support, then please get in touch with your site pastor or reach out via the above website.  Do not do this season alone friend.

7. We’re going to have all our social media, email and text channels open during each live stream service – so we’d love to hear from you!!  Let us know who you’ve got in your house, how it’s going for you and how you’re finding the new live stream experience.  We’ve got a team ready to respond during each service so let us know you’re out there!!

Well church – I think that’s about it.  As you get ready for Sunday Hope at Home can I encourage you to do 2 things – lean in and don’t just sit back but prepare yourself as you would for normal church.  When your pastor asks you to pray, join with them in prayer.  When there is worship, why don’t you join in.  When the preacher says something good – tell them!!  Lean in and get the most out of the experience.  And secondly, who can you join with tomorrow in their home so that you can do church together?  Contact your growth group leader, another family, friend and go round to their house and have church together (where appropriate).

Thanks Church – May you know the grace, peace and goodness of God in this season of our lives.  Tomorrow during church may you hear the whisper of the Spirit speaking, the encouragement of a word given, the joy of joining with others and the pleasure of doing it all from your favourite chair!!

COVID-19 Hope Presbyterian Phase 1 Plan and Measures – Updated 18 March, 2020

The Core Leadership Team spent a lot of time on planning our approach to the COVID-19 Virus situation. It was great that we were able to have Dr Philip Schroeder, one of our number as well as a leader in primary care response, join us by phone to help us with our plan. So, this plan is based on the latest advice from Dr Schroeder and Ministry of Health and Alpine Presbytery guidance.

Accordingly, Hope Presbyterian will be taking a phased approach, whereby if things get worse, measures will become tighter, and if the situation improves, restrictions will be eased. Here are some key background facts, principles and practices:

1. We need to take a cautious but measured approach that moves in stages as we get more precise advice and as matters progress

2. We should not over-react.  Thus far, there are no cases of COVID-19 in Canterbury and 500-1000 people who have presented cold-like symptoms have been swabbed and all have returned negative.  So that’s good!

3. What we should do right now is the exercise sensible social spacing and sneezing/coughing practices.

4. Personal hygiene is important.  Wash hands well with soap and water.  Sanitizers are only effective if highly alcoholic.  Face masks are a waste of time and money.

So, based on Dr Schroeder’s advice and that of the Ministry of Health, the HP COVID-19 Stage 1 Plan is to take the following actions:

1. Launch a comprehensive communications plan that will comprise a weekly email update including a short video that will also be posted on our websites and Facebook.  There will also be updates at all our services, starting this week

2. This Phase 1 Plan will be posted on all our communications platforms.

3. Remind everyone that at the moment, it is safe to come to church.  This will be continually reviewed.

4. Options for live streaming of services will be actively investigated.  Each site would have its own live-streamed service.

5. Welcome teams will practice safe greeting practices.  No hugging, handshaking or kissing.  This will also apply to all our gatherings including growth groups.

6. Hand sanitizers of the right alcohol content will be made available at all sites (if we can get the right stuff that is actually effective!)

7. Communion is safe using separate disposable cups and hygienic handling of the bread.  This will also be continually reviewed as events unfold further.

8. Simple open boxes will be provided for offerings for folk to drop in on entry or exit. There will be no collection using the offering bags.

9. This plan will be constantly reviewed and revised based on the latest expert advice.

We believe that this staged approach is the most sensible way to manage the situation, while keeping abreast of all Government and Ministry of Health directives and guidelines.  However, we also need to maintain our connections with folk and ensure that any action doesn’t lead to further social isolation of our vulnerable people.

Finally, in times like this, its good to remember that God is still Master of the Universe – yet vitally interested in all of us as individuals. We seek His wisdom as we navigate these tricky waters.