The Grainery Church Responses to Coronavirus

23rd April - 2:30pm

Hi Grainery church,
I’m sure you are very grateful for the way our country is faring in the coronavirus battle. We are so blessed to have unified leadership in our nation and a great sense of oneness in the Australian people. I thought you would be very interested to hear again from Laureate Professor John Attia, Professor of Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Newcastle, and a member of our church. John has been keeping us up to date through this pandemic, and once again we have an excellent update for you.

As many people will have seen on the news, the infection curve for Australia is flattening (see light blue line on the graph below) which is incredibly gratifying for all of us in the health care sector.  This is probably due to a number of factors:

  • Strong and coordinated public health response with identification, tracing, and isolation of cases
  • Australians largely observing social distancing and self-isolation restrictions
  • Decisive commonwealth government policy with state co-operation
  • As a Christian, I can’t help also thinking that behind all this is God’s restraining hand on the spread of the virus.

For all of us in the health care system, it does feel like we have dodged a bullet.  However, we cannot get complacent.  Japan and Singapore (the bottom 2 lines in brown and beige) were originally held up as model countries in their response, but when they relaxed their restrictions too early, their curves took off again, and, as can be seen from the graph, have now exceeded Australia in total cases.

Though it may be difficult to think about continuing the distancing measures, it is an opportunity to show our faith in action.  As Paul says in Phillipians 2:3-4: “ Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.  Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not only looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”  The Passion paraphrase reads “… in authentic humility put others first and view others as more important than yourselves… possess a greater concern for what matters to others instead of your own interests.”  We continue to observe the distancing rules because we seek the good of our communities and country, even if there is a cost to ourselves.

 

During this time, continue to pray:

  • For wisdom and good government from our political leaders and those advising them
  • For strength and blessing on the public health teams at the frontline, and the health care workers in the hospitals, community, and GP practices
  • For God’s healing hand on those affected by COVID
  • For God’s comfort for those who have lost a family member to COVID
  • That we make good use of the gift of time that has been given to us
  • That we maintain physical distancing but keep growing in social connectedness, bringing others into the church community in a new way.

Thanks so much John. We value you so much and the expertise you bring to our church community.
Can I encourage each of us, as part of Christ’s church in the world, to pray that in the time of isolation we will grow closer to Jesus, see many more come to know Him, and be His hands and feet in our world.

Bless you.
Sue Irwin

25th March - 2:30pm

It’s been a difficult week for many of you, so I firstly want you to know that our family is committed to praying for you every night. We are making communion and prayer a regular part of our evening meal. If you have requests for prayer please send them in and we will pray for you around our table as well as sending them to our prayer team.

I am so grateful to our Grainery teams who are going above and beyond to ensure that our church is ministered to and cared for as well as reaching out to others. This morning we filmed the VIP’s monthly event. For those who don’t have internet access, DVD’s are being made and delivered to their letter boxes. They will be disinfected before delivery. If you know people who are home and would like to access this special program which will be very encouraging, go to grainery.org.au, or email us for a DVD.

Our Grainery kids team has the creative juices bubbling. Kerith and the team are working on the following so that through the week you can access different programs for your children:
Science experiments to relate to the monthly or weekly theme.
Cooking with kids weekly video.
Guest spots with The Pretty Amazing Jono to teach the kids a trick or two.
Bible trivia quiz games.
Guided art and craft activities.
Monthly themed take-home pack that parents can drive by church and pick up from the cafe. Parents can grab a coffee or order a take-home meal.
For April the theme Is “Bloom”. You can drive by and pick up a gardening pack that will include flower seeds and some kids gardening ideas. Included will be some kids church activities.

Remember there is a nightly prayer meeting on Zoom https://zoom.us/j/9029646136 from Monday to Thursday from 7pm until 7:30pm. Meeting ID is 902-964-6136. Join in even you don’t like to pray out loud. Listening will bless you.

River Café is cooking meals for dinner. Tonight’s is Chicken, Chorizo, Pumpkin, Haloumi and Tomato Pasta. A different meal each night Monday to Friday. $5 for 700gram takeaway. Text Deb on 0420 407 230 to order. Pick up before 2pm. Available until sold out.

Take a moment to meditate on this truth and learn it off by heart if you haven’t already done that. “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28

And make sure you spend time listening to worship music rather than simply news!

May you be blessed in the depth of your being with the extravagant love of God.

Sue Irwin

22nd March - 7:30am

Current Advice to NOT meet in groups indoors
Our intentions are to do our best to protect all of us at this critical time. Last night we spoke to Professor John Attia who is keeping us advised as to how we should proceed. He advised that we should not meet in homes to watch online. This is what John says tonight. He is referring to the graph below.

“The graph shows the spread of the virus so far in Australia and how we compare to other countries. The curves at the very top of the graph are the ones that have been the worst hit: China, Iran, South Korea, and Italy. The curves in the middle show the other European countries and the UK. Australia is the red line at the bottom of that cluster. The graph is 3 days old and we have just today hit 1000 cases showing that we are following this European pattern. What we really want is to be like the 2 bottom curves (Japan and Singapore) which have had the most success in containing the spread. If we want to shift our curve we need to beef up our measures.

The point of the measures is to actually reduce the amount of face to face time not just to keep meeting in smaller numbers. To this end, let’s keep gelling our hands and wiping down surfaces; let’s keep isolating ourselves if we get symptoms and not spread it. And most of all, let’s reduce the amount of face to face time. This means not meeting together to watch church on today. If connect is going to be the only time we meet face to face then it might be worth reducing the frequency to every fortnight or once a month, and meeting in between by video link.

The feeling in the hospital yesterday was palpably tense. The staff are like people on the beach looking at the horizon; we’ve been told that a tsunami is coming but we are not sure when it will hit or how big it will be or how fast we will have to run. It is critical that we do everything we can to shift this curve and help our health system cope… And pray for them too!”

Please take notice of this advice. Contact each other by different means. Don’t let people feel lonely but protect one another. Use the Word of God daily to keep yourself grounded in the truth. As you pray and worship together, meditate on this verse, Isaiah 41:10

‘Do not yield to fear, for I am always near.
Never turn your gaze from me, for I am your faithful God.
I will infuse you with my strength and help you in every situation.
I will hold you firmly with my victorious right hand.’

21st March - 9pm

Hi Grainery family,

Our intentions are to do our best to protect all of us at this critical time. We have just been speaking to Professor John Attia who is keeping us advised as to how we should proceed. This is what John says tonight. He is referring to this graph: 

The graph shows the spread of the virus so far in Australia and how we compare to other countries. The curves at the very top of the graph are the ones that have been the worst hit: China, Iran, South Korea, and Italy.  The curves in the middle show the other European countries and the UK.  Australia is the red line at the bottom of that cluster.  The graph is 3 days old and we  have just today hit 1000 cases showing that we are following this European pattern.  What we really want is to be like the 2 bottom curves (Japan and Singapore) which have had the most success in containing the spread.  If we want to shift our curve we need to beef up our measures.

The point of the measures is to actually reduce the amount of face to face time not just to keep meeting in smaller numbers.  To this end, let’s keep gelling our hands and wiping down surfaces; let’s keep isolating ourselves if we get symptoms and not spread it.  And most of all, let’s reduce the amount of face to face time.  This means notmeeting together to watch church on Sunday.  If connect is going to be the only time we meet face to face then it might be worth reducing the frequency to every fortnight or once a month, and meeting in between by video link.

The feeling in the hospital yesterday was palpably tense.  The staff are like people on the beach looking at the horizon; we’ve been told that a tsunami is coming but we are not sure when it will hit or how big it will be or how fast we will have to run.  It is critical that we do everything we can to shift this curve and help our health system cope… And pray for them too!

Please take notice of this advice. Contact each other by different means. Dont let people feel lonely but protect one another. Use the Word of God daily to keep yourself grounded in the truth. As you pray and worship together, meditate on this verse, Isaiah 41:10

Do not yield to fear, for I am always near.

Never turn your gaze from me, for I am your faithful God.

I will infuse you with my strength and help you in every situation.

I will hold you firmly with my victorious right hand.

Bless you,

Sue and Graeme

Source: https://www.health.gov.au/news/australian-health-protection-principal-committee-ahppc-coronavirus-covid-19-statement-on-17-march-2020

Just a quick reminder of some of our control measures

  • Wash hands with soap (30 sec)
  • Use hand gel on entering the building or houses
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with left elbow
  • Avoid touching your nose, mouth, and eyes
  • Avoid contact with people who are unwell
  • Disinfect door handles, crash bars and benches often
  • If unwell with cold/flu-like symptoms please do not attend events and seek testing for Covid-19

For more information head to health.gov.au

 

19th March - 4:00pm

Make sure you’re ready for Sunday online. Plan with your family or friends to get together for a particular celebration time. Consider doing that today so you’re all organised. Our online celebration times will be 8:30am, 10:15am, 4:00pm and 6:00pm.

Navigating a website can be hard, so we aim to keep it simple.

Firstly, go to our website https://www.grainery.org.au/

To access our videocast services, simply scroll down till you see “Church Online.” Click that link and it will take you straight to the latest service. For specific ministries, scroll down just a bit further and you will see options for Sundays, Kids Online, and our current covid-19 updates. Click any one of those for specific services and resources. We want you to feel connected at this time, and we as The Grainery are doing our best to provide new and engaging content.

Our Grainery Kids church will be available online. Each week we will update to a new lesson, so you can have kids church right at home in your pj’s with your children. We encourage parents to download the ‘Parent Cue’ app. This is another way to view the weekly lesson videos and get parenting tips. We have included a link to the app on our web page. We are also giving parents access to daily kids devotionals that are interrelated to our weekly lesson themes. Each week we will have links to fun crafts, games and other activities that relate to our weekly lesson theme. Grainery Kids will be asking families to share videos and photos of their kid’s church time on our Grainery kids Facebook page. This will be a fun way to stay connected and share how we’re doing as a community.

Bless you and may you be a blessing this week as you live in God’s love,

Grainery Youth Update - 18th March

As a church, on advice from medical advisors and the leaders of our country, we have decided to move our Sunday Celebrations online until further notice. We believe that it is important to keep our teenagers and team safe, so we have decided to take the same precautions by taking our weekly Youth gatherings online. Youth is happening! It’ll just be a lil’ different. This coming Friday, we will be videocasting a sermon from Joe via YouTube live. We invite you to gather a few friends, head to our channel – Grainery Youth – and tune in @ 7pm.

At Grainery Youth we believe strongly in putting others’ needs before our own, because of this we have also decided to postpone our trip to Oakvale Farm. While there has been no advice against outdoor activities, we do not want to risk putting our beautiful Sansom family’s business in a compromising position. All those who have completed their registration for Oakvale Farm will be returned a full refund in the coming days.

On the 27th of March we intend to have ‘House Youth’ on fridays during our regular program time. House Youth will look similar to connect groups in that small groups of 10-15 people will be meeting in homes across our region. Our plan is to have 2-3 leaders at each house, facilitating worship, prayer and an online teaching where all groups will be able to communicate with one another. Parents, we really need your support with this one, so if you are willing to offer your home as a place of meeting, please contact us youth@grainery.org.au

At this stage, our leaders and youth are still able to meet in connect groups. This is a time for our youth to grow as a strong community and still reach out to others. If our youth are unable to join in person with their connect group, we are encouraging connect leaders to use online communication (facetime, messenger, zoom etc) to ensure inclusion.

At Grainery Youth we feel comfortable to call each other ‘family’. We will be doing our best to foster a sense of community via online platforms such as Instagram, Facebook Groups and Youtube. We’re in the process of creating content for these platforms, such as devotionals, Bible challenges and guided prayers. We are aware that measures such as self-isolation can lead to feelings of loneliness, so we also want to encourage our youth to be intentional in reaching out to one another. It’s normal to feel sad, stressed, angry or confused during a crisis. Talking to people you can trust is helpful and, of course, our leaders are always here to help. We believe it is important to remember that we are a family who leaves no one behind.

‘We Can Love Radically’ remember that the greatest hope comes through the love of God. Let’s not just think of ourselves during this time. It’s time to action this kind of love. Grainery Youth would like to offer support to those in our community who are in need. If you can spare some of the essentials, we will be collecting and distributing these items.
Can you help?

What initiatives can we be a part of to show support and love to others?

We pray Peace and Grace over you and your families. Take this as an opportunity to rest and remember the simplicity of the One whom we are here for. We pray that in the midst of this moving environment, each of you hear His voice speaking to and over you.

Please follow our youth and wider church updates as the situation continues to develop and changes need to be made.

All our Love!

Grainery Youth

18th March - 5:15pm

Today our church has been busily planning and creating new ways of doing and being the church through these current times of change and uncertainty. I want to keep you regularly updated with all that we are doing and help everyone stay connected and growing in faith, hope and love.

Our media team is doing an outstanding job of reorganising everything. Their role has changed dramatically as they plan how everything we do normally can be done differently and reach an even broader group of people. We are preparing now to video-cast our celebrations, beginning this Sunday, and creating something beautiful for Good Friday and Easter Day. Several people have so generously donated money to go towards the purchase of the equipment needed for this. We are so grateful for this incredible kindness.

A member of our community raised the idea to start a fund to care for people during the coronavirus pandemic and offered to begin it with $500. I thought that was a great idea and extremely generous of them. So, we’re starting the fund, which contribute to it if would like to. We will be using this fund to create care packages for this who are vulnerable or marginalised. Our young adults are getting ready to be the blessing team, who will deliver packages to people in need or meeting with people who are lonely (even if it’s at the door of their home.) If you choose to contribute, it would be wonderful, if you’re able to, to give this on top of your regular giving, as we need to also keep everything operating as well as rising to the current challenges.

As an initiative of The Grainery Church executive team and with the encouragement of The Australian Prayer Network, the church will be hosting a nightly prayer meeting on Zoom from Mondays to Fridays for the foreseeable future. The meeting will go from 7pm until 7:30 pm Monday to Thursday and this link will take you directly there. The meeting ID is 902 964 6136.

The first meeting is Thursday the 18th of March.

Our VIP’s team is developing a care plan to ensure that no one feels marginalised or isolated. If you know of any of our seniors who are in need, please let us know. VIP’s will still be happening next week in an online form – we will keep you posted about this as more details come to hand.

We will contact you soon with details for connecting with our online celebration this Sunday. Plan with your family and a few friends now as to which celebration you will join in with.

If you would like to give to the care fund, simply tag it –  CCare
BSB Number: 302-985
Account Number: 0147828

Remember the Zoom Prayer meeting is on tomorrow night! Above all, let’s pray.

17th MARCH - 6:00pm

With Coronavirus (COVID-19) beginning to spread in our region and after listening to our medical advisors, our executive team has met today and has decided that in order to love people well and provide protection for everyone, in particular the vulnerable, our Sunday celebrations will be online only at our usual celebration times. Our Maitland Alpha course will continue to meet as usual.

The church is people and together we, the Church, will continue to grow and flourish. This is a time when our connect groups play a major role in growing us as disciples of Jesus, as groups who live as Jesus to one another, and as people who plan how we will show His love to the world around us in this time of great unrest.

Already we are making plans to videocast our celebrations at the same times of 8:30 am, 10:15 am, 4:00 pm and 6:00pm. We invite you to gather with others, open your home to family and friends, and be the church. We will send you information during the week as to how to access this. We are looking at ways for this to be as interactive as possible and ways to enable you to experience the power and love of God from your home with your family and friends. Our Maitland Alpha course will continue to meet as usual. 

We will also be presenting an online kids program. We encourage parents to watch this with their children at a different time to your regular celebration. 

Our children’s, youth, young adults and VIP’s team are all coming up with creative and innovative ideas to keep us growing, connected and flourishing. We are discussing how the different age groups can support one another. We will be holding an online prayer meeting on a regular basis to ensure we are untied in prayer.  

At this stage, we are still able to meet in connect groups. This will be our time, as groups, to consider how we can grow as strong communities and still reach out to more people. If you are unable to join with your connect, we are encouraging connect leaders to use online resources (Facetime etc.) that will help keep you connected.

If you are not in a connect group or not receiving regular communication from the Church, please let us know. The spiritual, emotional and physical wellbeing of everyone is our high priority. I believe this is a time when the church will grow and thrive.

As we grow together in our year of ‘WE CAN,’ remember that there is hope through the power of the love of God.

Be sure to follow us for updates about small events throughout the week as the situation continues to develop and any changes we may need to make.

Let us know if you have any questions or need any help. Do you need prayer, help with shopping or someone to talk to? Please contact us if you do.