Message from the Bishop
“Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord” (John 20:20)
We continue to rejoice in the resurrection of Jesus Christ as we journey through the 50 days between Resurrection and Pentecost. We also have in our sights a different kind of resurrection: new life beyond Lockdown as we transition out of Level 4 into Level 3 at 11.59 pm Monday 27 April and look ahead to Level 2, possibly as early as 12 May 2020.
It is going to be quite a challenge to live well through Level 3 because in most ways it means living as though we are still in Level 4. Our current habits, our current commitment to staying in our bubbles needs to continue. It is our continuing collective action which will ensure success. Individual actions which contradict the intent of Level 3 have potential to undermine what we aim to achieve. We have come a long way. Many of us are tired and drained by the experience. But we still have some way to go. So, deep breathing, perhaps some energy chocolate, and lots of prayer asking that the joy of the Lord will be our strength!
While in Level 3 we will continue to stay at home for worship and provisions for worshipping online will continue. Our period in Level 3 will need to be used to prepare well for Level 2. Our communication about church life in Level 2 will be: to the clergy by end of Friday 1 May and by Special e-Life to the Diocese on Monday 4 May 2020. Our general aim in Level 2 will be to continue to live in ways which are safe and prevent the virus being transmitted even as we, somewhat cautiously, resume gathering together.
Anzac Day services: towards the end of this e-Life (and also on our Diocesan website) we provide details of Anzac Day services being offered online by our ministry units.
Many have contributed money to the City Mission to assist with purchase of food and other supplies to meet significant needs through the Lockdown. This update is from City Missioner, Matthew Mark:
“Demand across all services continues to grow as our changing environment begins to bite. More within our community are feeling the effects of wage reductions or loss of income, closure of business’ or challenges with cash flow. This is seeing an ever increasing need in support through our foodbank, budgeting services and social support. We do not see this need abating for the foreseeable future and as such we are looking at how we best structure ourselves moving forward to ensure we meet this need and provide, as best possible, a solution.”
In one hundred and one ways, across our ministry units, amazing ways to continue in ministry have been developed. This week I want to highlight Children’s Ministry and share with you the experience of two of our parishes.
Sarah Hancock (St Christopher’s, Avonhead, Children’s Worker) writes:
“During lockdown I have been in contact via text/ messenger/ whatsapp/ email with all our families, sent out Easter cards to each family with personal messages and have kept up with sending out birthday cards as well. I sent out a survey to families at the beginning of lockdown to ascertain how and when they would prefer to be contacted during this time and what sort of resources they would like from me to support their spiritual journey at home. I have been responding with material posted on our Facebook page or sent to families directly accordingly. Each week I make videos for Sunday school. Usually one is a short Jesus story aimed at under 7s and our numerous ESOL children. The benefit of the video is that they can pause and rewind to help with their listening and understanding of the story. I also make a more in-depth video for the older children with a follow-up activity. I have connected with all our newer Chinese families on WeChat and am in regular contact with them throughout the week posting the videos and keeping up to date on how they are doing in lockdown. WeChat allows me to write normally in English and they are able to translate it directly into Chinese when they receive it. Likewise they are able to respond to me in English or Chinese and I can translate their responses. This is helping us to have a much more complex conversation than is possible in person or on the phone where the language barrier restricts what we can talk about.
Then Jenny, Children’s Volunteer from from St Mary’s Halswell writes:
Preparing for lockdown was rushed as I hastily put together packs of activities for families up until Easter and then raced around dropping these in letter boxes and the church porch for those further afield to collect.
On 29 March we started out Kidzone Zoom gatherings. The children and families engaged in these and the kids loved chatting and using the ‘reactions’ to give a thumbs up. Since we started ‘zooming’ on Sundays we’ve had quizzes, stories, readings, movie clips from youth group, scavenger hunts and completed craft activities from packs and now sent on email.
We also have weekly challenges such as, take a photo using the people in your bubble to depict one of our term 1 stories (this included movies from some families). ‘Make an Easter model’ saw some great Lego models, sandpit models and even a full size cardboard cross complete with a live Jesus! Photos of ‘lockdown school’ included forts, masks, models, and even piano practice.
Our sessions include greeting (with screen high fives), birthdays, prayer and close with the Grace where we all hold ‘virtual’ hands. We’ve got creative with prizes which come from the prize box and include such things as ‘have an extra 15 minutes screen time’, stay up an extra half hour, get someone else to do your chores for a day’ and ‘be the boss of the house until lunchtime’. Why did we ever spend money on prizes – these have been very well received!
It’s been great to see some of the older congregation members also join us and the kids are all pleased to see them. We have all missed the contact with our church family but have managed to stay connected via the online platforms. I’ve done a weekly update for the Vicar to send out to the congregation so they can keep up with our activities as well.
Zoom Kidzone has been great, but certainly does not replace the joy of gathering, and being together to share the joy of God’s love. We look forward to that in the future.
“And this is love, that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.” 2 John 1:6″
Thank you Sarah and Jenny and all who are working with children at this time. Below we supply some “go to websites” for children’s activities.
- Illustrated Ministry resources
- Our Diocesan Children’s Ministry website
- Austin Stone Worship has some great kid’s worship videos to sing and dance along to at home
- The Diocese also has a subscription to the Children’s Bulletins website—but you need a password—so email Emma on firstname.lastname@example.org.