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2021 COVID Updates

2021 DELTA COVID Updates

September 8
Update 18

Kia ora e te whaanau o Raleigh Street,
This Tuesday morning, the Covid-19 Response Team met in order to assess how we will respond to the recent announcement that most of New Zealand is moving back down to an amended Alert Level 2. This update aims to highlight key points from that discussion. We are basing most of the initial decisions on the indication from the government that they are keen to move down the levels as quickly as the data allows. We will modify our plans as we continue to receive updates. The key differences from previous level 2 requirements are the mandatory signing-in, reduction of maximum event size to fifty people, increasing the physical distancing to 2m in many situations and increasing the encouragement of mask wearing.
With respect to upcoming church-based ministries: Most ministries have indicated that they remain closed. Raleigh Street Youth will be running modified program with smaller groups to stay within the fifty-person limit. As the national situation becomes clearer, we will issue further advice about church ministries for the coming weeks. For ministry leaders or those running events we have updated the ministries operating plan which you can find here https://rsccnz.sharepoint.com/...
With respect to the upcoming Sunday service: we are planning on-line services for the next two Sundays. We encourage people to get together in homes as allowable under level 2 to watch together. We will explore options during this time Updates will come via email and will also be posted to Facebook and the Raleigh Street Christian Centre webpage.
With respect to Home-groups. Home groups are allowed under level 2 and we encourage people to gather together for encouragement and fellowship. We understand that homes are different from places of worship hence our expectations are more relaxed than for ministries. Latest updates can be found here https://rsccnz.sharepoint.com/...
Thanks for all the effort that people have put in during this time. Some contributions are highly visible, but there are also a lot of unseen phone-calls, prayer, and communications of encouragement that uplift and bless other people. We continue to be particularly mindful of those who are unwell and who have added complications during this time.
We are mindful that many of our church whanau are being cared for within home groups or other ministry groups but want to extend our pastoral care to everyone connected with our Raleigh Street community. We are especially concerned for those who are not currently connected with a home group or those who are new to our church. If you or anyone in your family or circle of connections would like to talk with someone from our church community for encouragement or to receive some prayer please do be of good courage and reach out to someone who has shared their name and contact details on the list below. If you are also aware of someone who would be the welcome recipient of a pastoral call, please contact Julie Mckenzie and she can help connect your friends or family members to a pastor or volunteer from our church family.
We continue to point to Galatians 5:22 for our guidance in conduct at this time: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” More than ever, we will need to “walk by the Spirit” in the coming days. During this time we want to continue to honour God and comfort one another through our conduct. The conviction of the church leadership is that seeking to follow government instructions remains the best way to fulfill our calling at this time. In this way we demonstrate obedience to temporal authorities, show care to other New Zealanders, and preserve the reputation of the church in the community. God be with you all as you seek to do his will.
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17).
Ngaa manaakitanga,
The Elders, Raleigh Street Christian Centre
Women Pastoral Contacts
Anna-Lisa Stokes 021 231 4766 Mel Moore 021 025 66959 Amy Gardiner 027 253 9856 Anneka Vuletich 021 252 5785 Hughie Castle 027 204 1599 Julie McKenzie 021 041 6331 Sophie Lind (Youth) 022 304 6594 Debbie Barham 021 128 6784 Kath Lind (elderly/those living alone) 022 053 3010
Men Pastoral Contacts
Geoff Crawford 027 496 9438 Bryce McKeown 021 128 4209 Fred Needham (elderly/those living alone) 027 430 0924 Ross Johnson (Business owners/elderly) 021 923 594 Ken McKenzie 021 656 561 Nick Goodwin 027 417 8205 Aaron Hodgson (Youth) 027 417 8205 Jeremy Lind 022 353 3010

September 1 2021

Elders Update #17

Kia ora e te whaanau o Raleigh Street,

While Covid-19 currently dominates the news cycle, everyday life carries on, and many aspects of our life together as a church have not slowed down, even if they have gone online.

This past Monday night we held one of our regular elders’ meetings (via Zoom, of course). The agenda was very full, as we considered pastoral concerns, theological questions, the future of the church and a variety of other matters which have little to do with our current house-bound circumstances. Among the many issues we discussed was a piece of proposed legislation that is currently being considered by government – the Conversion Practices Prohibition Bill. As an eldership we are concerned by the impact this piece of legislation could have on Christian freedom of thought, expression and religion, and have therefore decided to make a submission to the Justice Select Committee regarding the Bill. In the interests of making sure our submission represents the wider Raleigh Street community, we want to share the current draft of our submission with you. Please find it attached. For your convenience, we also attach the Bill itself.

When we discussed this draft submission on Monday night, we had a number of ideas about how we might improve it. But we are also keen to hear your thoughts. If you would like to provide feedback on the draft submission, please email your suggestions and ideas to Nick Goodwin (nick@rscc.co.nz). We will be finalising our submission early next week in order to meet the consultation deadline of 8 September.

In the meantime, we are moving into Alert Level 3. For practical intents and purposes, this means little change for the way we approach church life. We remain in our bubbles, physical church gatherings are prohibited, and staff will still be working from home. However, both eldership and the Covid-19 Response Team are looking ahead to Alert Level 2 and beyond. Once we can meet again, we already know some things will be different to our past experience of Alert Level 2. For instance, government have indicated that their expectations around contact tracing will be tightened, and we will therefore be required to ensure all attendees aged 12 or older have signed in. For now, church continues online, but keep an eye out for future developments as – we hope and pray – the threat of the current outbreak recedes, and present restrictions are relaxed.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our church services in the past two weeks, and who in other ways continue to serve the body of Christ and our community.

“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labour is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58

Ngaa manaakitanga,

The Elders, Raleigh Street Christian Centre


August 26 2021

Elders Update #16

Kia ora e te whaanau o Raleigh Street,

Like the rest of New Zealand, we have all spent the last week readjusting to life in our family bubbles and returning to our familiar bolt holes.  Church operations have also been adapting: the Covid-19 Response Team has reconvened and begun to plan for the weeks ahead; Sunday services have moved rapidly back online; various ministries are making plans to stay connected in appropriate ways; and the building itself has been closed.

As part of the process of adjustment to this current turn of events, it may be worth asking what our three Raleigh Street values for 2021 – repentance, generosity, and welcoming – mean during this time of lockdown.

Repentance:
For most of us, living in a bubble means close and constant contact with a few other people.  In this context, irritations become magnified and troubled relationships can become an overwhelming problem.  Our natural human inclination is to either avoid conflict by minimising our contact, or to retaliate and fight back.  This is absolutely understandable; however, an important part of the Gospel message is that the restoration of broken relationships is possible – first, our relationship with God, and then, as God enables, our relationships with other people.  “God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them.. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:19).  In the quest for reconciliation, repentance is the humble admission of wrong and acceptance of responsibility to change and make amends.  Forgiveness is the Christian response, which involves clearly acknowledging what is wrong, and then sacrificially seeking resolution in place of retribution.  Both repentance and forgiveness involve vulnerability and risk, but the rewards in terms of transformed relationships can be enormous.  As life slows down for many, we have the opportunity to focus on mending what is broken as best we can.  So, who do you need to have a serious conversation with?  Do you need to repent, or to forgive?  Or, as is often the case, does restoring a relationship require that you do both?

Generosity:
Lockdown seems to bring out the best in many people; we have all observed neighbours leaving out boxes of fruit and putting toys in windows, even though in normal times they might not bother.  But for many of us, lockdown can just as easily become a temptation to embrace the isolation of the bubble and forget the world beyond our front gate.  In the face of this temptation, Jesus issues a call to stay connected and keep giving.  “You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ… whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly” (2 Corinthians 8:9, 12).  At present there will be members of our community struggling with work disruptions, the pressures of parenthood, and illness.  At the same time, scientific fears have eased around the potential to spread Covid-19 through surfaces, and this makes it less problematic to leave gifts and messages for others than was the case in our original Alert Level 4 lockdown.  So, do you know someone who could benefit from your time, empathy, act of kindness, or a simple gift left in the letterbox?

Welcoming.
It may seem strange to speak of hospitality when none of us can visit or receive visitors.  However, the concept of welcoming is wider than simply hosting a meal.  In a sermon early in the year, Jeremy Lind defined welcoming as “the opening of my world to allow another to enter.”  When we are welcoming in this way, we follow the example of God’s actions towards us: “Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13).[1]  Technology means physical isolation needn’t prevent us from inviting others to share our lives.  If your neighbours are strangers, is this the time to reach out with a phone call?  If your homegroup is meeting online, could you invite someone in a distant location to join you?  Or if you know someone who has been shy about trying out our church, perhaps this is an ideal time to invite them to join us online?

“Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” (2 Corinthians 13:11)

Ngaa manaakitanga,

The Elders, Raleigh Street Christian Centre

[1] In an unusual way, Raleigh Street has been given the opportunity to be welcoming toward the Leamington Medical Centre in the past week; staff are using the porch of our main entrance as a book-in drive-through Covid-19 testing centre. This has saved people from driving to Hamilton for testing.

4812.608


August 20 2021
(Revised version of earlier email sent Wednesday)

Kia ora e te whaanau o Raleigh Street,
Due to the Alert Level 4 lockdown announced on Tuesday, our lives as a church will look very different for at least the next few days.
As you might expect, all in-person church activities will be suspended until further notice. The building itself is closed, and staff and office workers will not be present during the Alert Level Four lockdown period. If you would usually expect to host homegroups or similar informal gatherings at your house during this time, we would ask that these also be suspended, so that all our activities comply with government expectations. As before, we desire to act responsibly out of love for neighbours during this time.
Though the building is shut, God’s people remain a present and ongoing reality, and the church of God is never closed, even if its visible activities cease temporarily. Please continue to support each other remotely and meet online as appropriate.
Having confirmed this afternoon that lockdown is extended, we are planning for the next two Sunday services to be held online. The service this Sunday will start at 9:30 am, with a children’s programme airing earlier, starting 9:15 am. You can access the service either through a link on the website (www.rscc.co.nz), or by visiting our online church platform at https://rsccnz.online.church.
For the duration of this lockdown we anticipate that email will be our primary mode of communication, since this has the widest access to all in our community. Please keep checking for updates and information. However, there will also be updates posted to our website (www.rscc.co.nz) to ensure we reach everyone with important information.
If you have any questions, please contact Ben Vivian (ben@rscc.co.nz) or Julie (julie@rscc.co.nz) in the first instance.
Ngaa manaakitanga,
Covid-19 Response Team, Raleigh Street Christian Centre


August 18 2021

Kia ora e te whaanau o Raleigh Street,

Following the announcement of lockdown measures yesterday, we are emailing you in order to provide information about what will happen at Raleigh Street Christian Centre over the next few days.

As you might expect, all in-person church activities will be suspended until further notice.  The building itself is closed, and staff and office workers will not be present during the Alert Level Four lockdown period.  If you would usually expect to host homegroups or similar informal gatherings at your house over the remainder of this week, we would ask that these also be suspended, so that all our activities comply with government expectations.  As before, we desire to act responsibly out of love for neighbours during this time.

Though the building is shut, God’s people remain a present and ongoing reality, and the church of God is never closed, even if its visible activities cease temporarily.  Please continue to support each other remotely and meet online as appropriate.

There is a good chance lockdown will be extended, and we are planning for this coming Sunday on the assumption that church will be held online.  Full details, such as starting time, and how to join online, will be given in the weekly Friday newsletter (which you should receive via email).

More generally, for the duration of this lockdown we anticipate that email will be our primary mode of communication, since this has the widest access to all in our community.  Please keep checking for updates and information.  If you have any questions, please contact Ben Vivian (ben@rscc.co.nz) or the church office (office@rscc.co.nz) in the first instance.

Ngaa manaakitanga,

Covid-19 Response Team, Raleigh Street Christian Centre



 

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