It’s been an extraordinary week. For my part, I feel a tremendous sense of joy and gratitude for our Holy Cross community at this time, as we seek to be faithful to God’s calling in these changing circumstances.
1. Sunday worship online
Following a successful trial service on 22 March, we will now be running a weekly online Sunday service using Zoom. To join us in worship, simply go to the website on Sunday morning any time after 9am, and click on the Zoom link to join the meeting – the service will start officially at 9.30am.
A few things you might want to bear in mind:
- BE AWARE that you are attending a public service, so please give some thought to how others will see and hear you (for example, is your camera pointing up your nose, or at the ceiling?!?)
- If you don’t want to be seen, then please turn off your own video. You may also wish to set a photograph as a “virtual background” in Zoom Preferences.
- If your home environment is noisy, or if you are going to make some noise yourself (for example: take a phone call, boil a kettle, talk to a family member), then please turn off your own microphone.
2. Church building & grounds
Following the most recent government advice, Holy Cross and St Margaret’s church buildings have been closed to the public as of 23 March. All official church business (worship, small groups, meetings) will be moving online. Following advice from the ACT Government and the Diocese, Tuckerbox will be continuing at present, as it is to be regarded as an “essential service”. Tuckerbox operations will be reviewed on a weekly basis as the situation evolves.
3. Pastoral care
Parish Council has set up a new Pastoral Care Group (currently comprising the Rector, Justin Combs, Trish Stoddart, and Michelle Shepherdson), which met for the first time on Tuesday 24 March. Please feel free to contact any of us with your needs, ideas or suggestions.
4. Gatherings at home
On Tuesday 24 March the Prime Minister gave the following detailed advice about home visits:
“Visits to your premises, to your house, to your residence, should be kept to a minimum and with very small numbers of guests. We don’t want to be overly specific about that. We want Australians to exercise their common sense.” (Full transcript at https://www.pm.gov.au/media/press-conference-australian-parliament-house-5)
Members of the Holy Cross family should follow the most up-to-date Government advice when deciding if it is appropriate to meet in very small numbers, for example to take part in a Zoom service if you have no home internet connection. If you’d like to discuss this, please call the Rector.
5. Prayer at home
At our online service on Sunday, I proposed that Holy Cross adopt the icon of “The Proclamation of the Kingdom” by Kaspars and Ruta Poikans as a focus for our prayers during the COVID-19 epidemic. This icon is a meditation on three Bible stories: Jesus preaching from the boat, Jesus calming the storm, and the miraculous catch of fish. It also evokes the image of the Church as a boat, with Christ in our midst, the Holy Spirit as the wind, and the Cross as the mast.
I also want to encourage you all to set up a permanent prayer corner in your home. You might want to include:
- a comfortable chair
- prayer diary
- bible notes
- finger labyrinth
- prayer beads
- music player
- anything else that helps you to pray
Finally, don’t forget there is a free Epray app (available for Android and iOS), which allows you to pray Morning and Evening Prayer at home. The Holy Cross parish code is 6806, and you can download the app here.
Please be assured of my prayers and blessings for you all, as we move together into a new season of “doing church differently”.
God bless, Tim