August 4, 2020

COVID19 – STAGE 4 RESTRICTIONS!

NEW STAGE 4 RESTRICTIONS ARE NOW IN FORCE in the metropolitan Melbourne in a new attempt to curtail the escalating coronavirus crisis. A curfew has been implemented from 8pm until 5am each day. This will last for six weeks. The metropolitan area includes the shires of Whittlesea and Nillumbik and the City of Hume. Stage 3 restrictions remain in effect in Mitchell Shire and the Macedon Ranges.

Stay-at-home restrictions mean residents can’t leave their homes and go further than a 5km radius. The new measures will be heavily enforced by police and defence force members.

What does this mean for our churches? There will not be a lot of difference in delivering our online worship services and conducting Connect Group meetings via Zoom. Most new restrictions on the domestic front will affect individual day to day movement. However, all usual pastoral appointments will continue via Zoom or in urgent situations appointments can be at our offices. Please call a pastor if you need support (see below).

Pastors are classified as professional caregivers and are able to visit, taking all precautions for your safety, as necessary.

Please call us any time to chat.

For the latest government updates, please use the link below:
https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus/updates

NATIONAL DAY OF WORSHIP, PRAYER AND FASTING:
NATIONAL COUNCIL OF CHURCHES.

Below is a copy of the prayer by Ps Milton prayed during our online service on Sunday, August 2. We encourage everyone to use it privately, as a family or in your Connect Group.

“Our loving and gracious God, trusting in Your mercy and presence with us now, we come to You in prayer asking that You would sovereignly intervene in our world to bring an end to this pandemic that has infected millions of people and killed hundreds of thousands. Lord, please intervene and end this horror we pray, we are powerless, but nothing is impossible for You.

We pray for Your strengthening of all those committed and trying so hard to lead us during this crisis. For our Premier, Daniel Andrews, and for our Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, we pray Your blessing of wisdom and discernment upon them, surround them we pray with Your people, those who can speak Your divine wisdom into crucial conversations and decision-making forums.

Father, we pray for all who are ill. Let loose Your divine healing in all of them. We pray for those anxious about getting ill, for those at risk, those with health conditions who are vulnerable, and for those really feeling the isolation – Lord, protect them we ask.

We pray for those grieving the loss of loved ones killed by this virus. In Your great mercy comfort them. We remember those who have died and, aware of our own human fragility, we pray for Your grace to sustain us as we do our bit to hasten the end of this pandemic.

Our Father, may Your compassionate, peaceful and merciful response to this great crisis of our day, encourage us and confirm again Your great love for the world. In you we hope for our nation.

We pray these things in faith and in the strong name of Jesus Christ, our Lord.

AMEN.


July 20th

COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS – NEW CHANGES

AS MENTIONED LAST WEEK, all pastoral appointments will be via Zoom or home visit. Pastors are classified as Caregivers and are able to visit, taking all precautions for your safety, as this necessary. Please call us any time to chat.

 

There are some new changes for managing ourselves safely during the current restrictions, most importantly the wearing of masks when leaving your home on one of four permitted reasons.

MASKS – THE DO’S AND DON’TS OF COVERING UP

DO I HAVE TO WEAR A MASK?

Yes. Everyone who lives in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire must wear a mask or face covering when outside their home.

DO MY CHILDREN HAVE TO WEAR A MASK?

Anyone aged 12 years or older must wear a mask when leaving the house. Masks should also be a “consideration” for children aged 2-12, but are not recommended for toddlers due to safety concerns.

WHEN WILL MASKS BECOME MANDATORY?

From 11.59pm on Wednesday. The government has delayed the mandate to allow time for people to make or buy masks.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON’T WEAR A MASK?

You face a $200 fine.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE EXEMPTIONS FOR WEARING A FACE COVERING?

If you have a medical reason or a practical excuse, you may be exempt from wearing a mask. Premier Daniel Andrews said practical reasons included removing your face covering while at the bank or while running — but not walking. However, you must carry a face mask and put it on when you stop running.

DO KIDS NEED TO WEAR MASKS TO SCHOOL?

Yes, students attending for VCE, VCAL or for onsite supervision must wear masks to and from school and at school where possible. Teachers do not have to wear a mask while teaching but must wear them at all other times.

I DON’T HAVE A MASK. WHAT CAN I DO?

Masks do not have to be medical grade, but they must cover the mouth and nose and be close fitting. If you don’t have a mask, you can use a scarf, bandana, homemade masks or face shields. Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said “even imperfectly made” masks made “a significant difference”.

WHERE CAN I BUY A MASK?

You can buy disposable masks at chemists and at Aldi and Bunnings stores. Cloth masks can be bought online. Alternatively, there are instructions on the DHHS website and in the Herald Sun showing you how to make your own.

DO I HAVE TO WEAR A MASK AT WORK?

Yes, you must wear a mask if you are at work and there are multiple people onsite. This is regardless of whether you are able to be socially distant from your colleagues.

WILL EMPLOYERS BE FINED?

Victoria Police and WorkSafe inspectors will check high-risk workplaces. If an employer is found to be discouraging masks they face a $9913 fine.

DO I HAVE TO WEAR A MASK ON PUBLIC TRANSPORT?

Yes, and enforcement crews will be policing the mask policy throughout the suburbs.

DO I HAVE TO WEAR A MASK IF DRIVING ALONE?

If you are driving by yourself or with a member of your household, you do not need to wear a face mask but you should carry one with you for when you exit the vehicle. If you are in a vehicle with other people for work or rideshare purposes then you must wear a mask.

WHEN DOES ORDER TO WEAR MASKS END?

There is currently no end to the order and Premier Daniel Andrews warned we may be wearing masks for a long time.

HOW DOES A MASK HELP?

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said masks did not completely stop the transmission of COVID-19. However, masks reduced the chance of transmission by up to 80 per cent. The more close-fitting the better protection a face covering offers.

HOW DO I PUT ON A MASK?

Wash or sanitise your hands before putting on and removing a mask. While wearing do not touch your mouth and once you have removed it, wash or discard.

I LIVE OUTSIDE METROPOLITAN MELBOURNE — MUST I WEAR A MASK?

Masks are a recommendation where you cannot socially distance outside of the lockdown areas but they are not mandatory.

IF YOU HAVE PERMISSION TO TRAVEL FROM MELBOURNE INTO REGIONAL VICTORIA, CAN YOU TAKE OFF YOUR MASK AS YOU LEAVE THE LOCKDOWN AREA?

No, the restrictions still apply when a resident from a lockdown area leaves the restricted zone.

[Source: Herald-Sun, July 20th, 2020]


July 2, 2020

What “stay at home” restrictions mean in practice.

Just as when the statewide lockdown rules were put in place at the end of March to stop the initial spread of the coronavirus, some people won’t be able to move around the suburbs listed above freely.

This means those residents will only have four reasons to leave their homes: for work or school, for care or caregiving, for daily exercise, or to get food and other essentials.

THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS

“This only works if people comply, this only works if people use common sense and I am confident those communities will do that,” Premier Andrews said yesterday. “It is not normal that we can go back to. It is COVID normal that we all have to find and I’m sad to say, embrace, for the foreseeable future.”

What is a ‘stay-at-home’ order?

Basically, it’s a strict rule from a government authority designed to stop the movement of people. It is brought in to ensure the safety of a population when they are faced with some kind of danger, such as a biological pandemic.

It is enforceable by law and must be obeyed.

We ask everyone to do the right thing and observe not just the letter of the law, but the spirit of the law as well.

What are the leaders of Wallan Gateway doing in response?

As Regi McKinlay shared in this week’s children’s ministry video we have all felt a big sense of let down and “here we go again”, just as we thought we were about to see restrictions ease a little more. They didn’t. They got tougher. Everyone feels the frustration and some are even angry and are experiencing anxiety about the harder impact. We feel for all of you. It is disappointing and feels so unfair.

But we can and will get through!

Here are some of the extra measures we are putting in place.

1.  Those living alone or who are ill or who have health concerns will be contacted every two to three days to ensure they’re OK. Pastors and Care-givers will call to check the following:

·       Peoples’ general health.

·       Peoples’ emotional health (loneliness, coping etc.).

·       Peoples’ spiritual health (praying for you etc.).

·       Do you have sufficient food, medications etc.?

·      Is there anything else you need right now?

2.   We will be issuing additional updates as we know more.

·      Keep checking your email.

3.      Pastors and trained Care-givers will make additional priority space for …

·       Face-to-face pastoral appointments (you must book).

·       Home visits if needed (you must book).

4.      If you are unsure about anything, please call us, we’d be pleased to speak with you.

FINAL WORD

Friends, I leave you now with some tremendous encouragement from God’s unchanging word. Try not to be discouraged during this challenging time – we’re all going to make it. Together! Be assured that God is at work in the world – and in us, too! We can overcome if we remember (and remind each other often) about whose we are! We are his. This pandemic did not surprise God, and He is in control. In the meantime, as we wait out the next few weeks, let’s encourage one another as we meditate and speak out these proclamations of God’s character and faithfulness.

Our contentment is in the Lord, whatever our circumstances – good or bad.

Philippians 4:12-13  “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  13  I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.

Our refuge and safety is in the Lord – come what may.

Psalms 9:9-10  “The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.  10  Those who know Your name trust in You, for You, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek You.”

Our peace is in the Lord – regardless of the turmoil in the world.

Isaiah 26:3  “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You!”

Our provision is in the Lord – whatever we do or don’t have.

Acts 14:17 [God] “ …. has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; He provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.”

Our security is in the Lord – He never moves, He is not shaken in the least bit.

1 Samuel 2:2  “There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no one besides You; there is no Rock like our God.”

Our protection is in the Lord – He never sleeps and watches over us.

Psalms 33:20-21  “… the LORD; He is our help and our shield.  21  In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name.

Our hope is in the Lord – not in what we see anywhere in the world.

1 Peter 1:3  “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,”

You are loved so very, very much.

Ps Milton