Adapting to Covid-19
This page is work in progress and contains a summary of what has been done within the congregation to adapt to circumstances surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
Attendance at the church for the worship was seen as too risky for many in the congregation, and was eventually proscribed by Government edict anyway. Traditional worship was replaced by:
Worship streamed live in Sunday mornings at 10:00am on a YouTube channel and subsequently made available as a video podcast. Members of the congregation pre-record prayers, bible readings, songs, and other relevant materials for use in worship.
Prayer Live Broadcast 7:00am Wednesdays
Evening Reflection Live Broadcast 7:30pm Thursdays.
See also CovidResponseMarch18 for immediate decisions.
Music in Worship
Music has traditionally played an important part in the worship of the Glen Waverley Uniting Church. "A church or school without a choir is like a body without a soul (John Rutter)."
Singing, either by a worshiping congregation or by choirs, is considered to be a particularly dangerous activity in the context of spreading a virus like Covid-19.
The following approaches were taken to provide music associated with live streamed worship.
- Musically and technologically gifted families used multi-track recording techniques in their homes to prepare songs that were subsequently inserted into worship, along with words, to allow listeners to sing along if they wished.
- Hymns from previously recorded worship services were extracted from recordings and inserted into worship.
The FreeSpirit choir produced Zoom versions of anthems and blessings previously recorded and prepared some 'Zoom choir' new work as recordings that were inserted into worship.
Contact with the Ministerial Team
For reasons of safety, the ability of the ministerial team to visit members of the congregation is extremely limited. While the ministerial team is generally acessible by phone, designated times have been set aside each week to encourage Cuppa Calls with each member of the ministerial team as well as a time for a Zoom check-in with NeilPeters. In addition, members of the ministerial team often drop into Zoom meetings held by different groups within the church.
- GOMERs on Monday mornings (see below) is regularly attended by Neil.
- GOWERs on Monday mornings is regularly attended by Di, who often switches across to the men's group (GOMERs) afterwards.
add others here
Activities for Children, Families, and Young People
Details to be added.
Keeping in Touch with Members of the Congregation
The following initiatives encourage people to keep in touch.
Happy Day emails. Every day an email is sent to all on-line members of the congregation containing something encouraging, light hearted, or inspirational as a reminder that the community of the congregation is still active, even though we can't meet with each other.
Drop-in (mystery) call. Provides a way for people to meet people in the congregation that they may not know well. People were invited to register their interest in receiving a phone call (or a Zoom) from someone in the congregation that they may not know with a view to getting to know them better. With this list, pairs are randomly selected and the people involved informed and invited to call each other.
Watch and chat. Some people are enjoying watching concerts, musical events, and other things on YouTube and catch up TV. This initiative encourages people to agree a time to watch something and then follow up with a chat to discuss (either one or one, or in small Zoom groups).
What's going on? Groups are asked for a sentence or two (and maybe a photo or screenshot) about what they are doing to keep together when we can't physically meet. Responses will be put on a wikipage, in Kingsway and perhaps trickled out in 'Happy Day' emails.
Who am I? To help people get to know more people in the congregation, clues about a person are given out over a week in 'Happy Day' emails and members of the congregation asked to try to guess who the person is. Saturdays are the reveal.
Feedback during worship. A cheap pre-paid mobile SIM and number is published during live stream worship with a question seeking SMS feedback (during worship).
Would you like us to contact you? At the conclusion of worship live stream, watchers are asked to contact us if they wish. Watchers are also asked if they would like us to contact them (e.g. send us an email at .... if you would like us to contact you).
Remembering those who are not on-line. Many of the activities of the congregation during Covid-19 restrictions are on-line. However, we are mindful that not everyone is on-line. To keep in touch with those people, letters are periodically sent to those people containing news. Some people have DVDs of worship delivered to them. Contact with some people is maintained by telephone.
Church Council, Missional Groups, Functional Groups
Committees of the congregation that usually meet in person used Zoom (see CommunicationsChannelsZoom) meetings to do their business.
Other Church Groups
GOMER (GomerInfo) is a group for men to have a walk, coffee and a chat on Monday mornings. They are usually accompanied by wives meeting as a separate group at the same time. This has transitioned to a Zoom meeting on Monday mornings at 10:00am. GomerFun is a page that originated from this Zoom meeting.
The mindful meditation group has transitioned to Zoom meetings on Tuesday afternoons at 2:00pm.
Free Spirit (Choir)
FreeSpirit has been meeting using Zoom at its normal practice time to prepare musical recordings for use in worship.
Saturday Morning Coffee Group
This group usually met in the Food Court of The Glen on Saturday mornings at 10am. Since COVID, they have been meeting via Zoom, and this has enabled our friends from Canada, the Robinsons, to join us!
Details of more group activities to be added.
Watch this space.
Property Use and Cleaning
The buildings were closed for normal worship, Church Group activities, and hirers in accordance with givernment lock-down requirements concerning gatherings of groups.In accordance with government requirements, the worship centre was used to live-stream worship on Sundays.
The lawns and gardens were used to display to the community that the life of the congregation continues with:
- a field of messages of hope (written on small heart-shaped posters), created by members of the congregation, in the lawn; and later
- a 'spoonville' with characters painted on spoons.