Hi church folk – this page has the latest COVID-19 related news for our parish events.

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COVID-19 Level Two announcement 12th August.


We will continue to hold our usual Sunday service at 10AM. If regulations change we will adapt.

With the C19 Alert Level Two announcement,  we at Whakatū Presbyterian will continue with our normal church activities providing numbers attending are below 100 people.

Please don’t feel pressured to attend or not attend any event – do what feels safe for you.

Please follow all usual Alert Level Two hygiene and social distancing protocols including keeping a good personal diary of where you have been.

At church we have set up the official NZ COVID Tracer QR code poster on our church front door. Use your smart phone to scan the QR code when entering the premises. The COVIDTracer app keeps a digital diary of the places you’ve been so contact tracing will go faster if it’s needed.

At church events encourage the convenor to take a digital photo of where people are sitting and use hand sanitiser. Also help your group wipe surfaces that will be touched when you arrive and wipe them again when you leave. Keep it safe for the next group.

As stated above we will have our usual Sunday service at 10AM. This service will be available live on Zoom. To get the Zoom link ring the church office or click on the internet link in the weekly bulletin.

If you need help with shopping or anything, please don’t hesitate to contact the church office. Finally, may you be fill of the Holy Spirit displaying the Fruit of the Holy Spirit.

😊 Be kind to yourself – be kind to others 😊


COVID-19 Level One Announcement – 8th June 2020


At Alert Level 1 everyone can return without restriction to work, school, sports and domestic travel, and you can get together with as many people as you want.

It’s still important to keep basic hygiene measures, including washing your hands and coughing or sneezing into your elbow.

The Golden Rules for Alert Level 1

  1. If you’re sick, stay home. Don’t go to work or school. Don’t socialise.
  2. If you have cold or flu symptoms call your doctor or Healthline and make sure you get tested.
  3. Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Wash your hands.
  4. Sneeze and cough into your elbow, and regularly disinfect shared surfaces.
  5. If you are told by health authorities to self-isolate you must do so immediately.
  6. If you’re concerned about your wellbeing, or have underlying health conditions, work with your GP to understand how best to stay healthy.
  7. Keep track of where you’ve been and who you’ve seen to help contact tracing if needed. Use the NZ COVID Tracer app as a handy way of doing this.
  8. Stay vigilant. There is still a global pandemic going on. People and businesses should be prepared to act fast to step up Alert Levels if we have to.
  9. People will have had different experiences over the last couple of months. Whatever you’re feeling — it’s okay. Be kind to others. Be kind to yourself.

Contact tracing

To stop the spread of COVID-19, it’s important to be able to quickly identify and find the people who have come into close contact with someone who has COVID-19. If you do not have the NZ Covid Tracer App, please keep a diary of where you go and when.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Do we need to physically distance when meeting for church activities? No.
  2. What about singing? Singing was an activity that was used by the government as an
    example of an activity with heightened risk. There has never been a ban on singing. As with
    all activities, churches may decide whether to include singing in worship.
  3. Can I serve food and drink at services? Yes. As always, you should consider how to do this
    safely.
  4. Do I still need a safety plan? No, but you can choose to have one if you wish.
  5. Are there still hygiene rules and rules for at-risk people? There are no specific rules. A
    common sense approach should be taken with regards to the separate issues of at-risk
    people and hygiene measures. Basic hygiene measures include washing your hands and
    coughing or sneezing into your elbow. People who feel unwell should stay at home.
  6. Can our church offer communion? Yes, if you choose to do so. As with providing food and
    drink, consider how you can offer communion hygienically. Those preparing the elements
    should wash their hands thoroughly and regularly. You may consider pre-cut bread pieces
    and the use of tongs and individual cups. Some retailers are selling individually packaged
    communion cups with wafers for use at communion services.

Whakatu Presbyterian COVID-19 Level Two Announcement – 27th May 2020


Our first gathered worship will be Sunday June 7th: Whakatū Presbyterian Governance Council has decided that we will recommence gathered worship on Sunday June 7th. This will allow an extra week of COVID-19 Level Two restriction benefits to take effect in NZ.

Please note the service will begin at 10AM – the same time we have been gathering recently for our online Sunday Zoom church services. With this being our first gathered service in many weeks, it will be a celebration of the God that we worship. Our wonderful God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The God who cares for us as the Good Shepherd. The God whose love is beyond our understanding and whose patience with us way beyond our wildest dreams.

At this service there will be plenty of singing and we will also partake in Holy Communion. Please come this Sunday 7th June and celebrate with us the wonderful God we worship.

Sunday 31st May the church service will be online using Zoom. Please note once we recommence normal gathered church services, we will live-stream our regular church services via Zoom for a trial period, this will be at least until as we readjust down to COVID-19 Level One.


COVID-19 Level Two announcement at the Sunday Zoom Church service 10th May.


As you know, Monday 11th the govt will be announcing if NZ goes down to Level Two. The Thursday prior they clearly explained what Level Two will look like. But also warned we may go into Level Two in phases. So it is not yet clear when churches can begin gathering again.

Thursday evening 7th May, our parish Governance Council met and decided it is best we as a parish don’t rush into physical gatherings for Sunday worship. We all know COVID does seem to have a sting in its tail. The COVID case at Stoke New World last week was a surprise and unsettling. The person had arrived back in NZ approximately a month before they had COVID. So Governance Council believe it is wise to be prudent and not rush. Remember to keep your distancing under Level Two.

Therefore, even if the Govt announce NZ goes into Level Two this coming week (possibly 13th/14th May), Governance Council ask we wait at least one further week before we gather for church services. This means May 17th – even if we are under Level Two – we will not have any physical gathering of church. Instead we will have be another Zoom service. We may have “normal church” on 24th May … and we may not. Also note once we do begin “normal church” at the Stoke Site, we will send the church services out on the internet using Zoom.

During this week we will be drawing up COVID-19 Health, Safety and Sanitising protocols for our worship services and for all other church groups.

One thing GC asks: NO ONE is to be pressured to come to any event, be it a small group you belong to or our worship services – no pressure on anyone.

But if your small group, wants to start meeting again once in Level Two. You are welcome too recommence. Providing:

1. No pressure is put on those who are reluctant to meet.

2. Your group register with the church office that your group is meeting again.

3. Your group complies with all health, safety and sanitising protocols outlined by our parish.

As a church we have to keep a register of all groups/events, and ensure each group is following the Govt Health and Safety protocols. This includes accurate contact tracing. We will need date, name, location and contact details all attendees and photo of where each person was sitting at each and every event while under COVID-19 Level Two.

I remind us all, the PM suggested we all keep a contact diary. She said it is very hard to remember who we met last Thursday week, but if we write each contact we have and when and where, we can be very clear on our past contacts.

The GC decided that under Level Two we will not hire out our facilities. Ensuring health, safety and sanitising protocols are followed correctly is very difficult to manage and oversea with outside groups coming in to our facilities. If Level Two drags on, and we get into a good rhythm of Level Two protocols. We may revisit that decision.

PLEASE REMEMBER: Once we do start gathering again, please don’t feel pressured to attend. If you feel vulnerable to COVID-19. Stay safe and be kind to yourself and stay at home. And if others do want to attend events, let them attend. Be kind to others too.

Finally – if anyone has any niggle, sore throat, cough, any sickness – you are not to attend any event. The Govt has made that very clear.


LATEST PARISH LOCKDOWN NEWS THURSDAY 23 APRIL 2020 4PM


CHURCH WORSHIP SERVICES: We have now had five online Sunday morning worship services. There is a buzz of excitement and appreciation of being able to meet and see each other, chat online and worship God during this lockdown time. There are other online parish events each week to help us connect. You are welcome to any of them.

NZ COVID-19 ALERT LEVEL 3: As everyone knows, Level Three is not very different to Level Four. Because of that there will be no change to the way we operate as a parish when we go to Level Three.

This means there will be at least three more Sundays we cannot gather physically and therefore we will continue with the online church services. If you have friends anywhere in the world missing church, they are welcome to gather with us as we worship our amazing Lord. See the weekly bulletin for the Zoom link, or the Zoom ID Number and password.

At Alert Level Three all parish staff will continue to work from their homes.

If you need pastoral care, if you need prayer or support, please do not hesitate to contact the ministers, youth worker or the church office. Or contact your pastoral visitor.

MOVING DOWN TO COVID-19 ALERT LEVEL 2: From what the Prime Minister stated on Monday 20th, NZ might move to Level Two as early as Tuesday 12th May. If this happens our first worship service at Songer St could be as early as Sunday 17th May. This will also depend on whether gatherings of less than 100 are permitted at Level Two.

Once we are in Level Two, for anyone over 70 and/or anyone who feels vulnerable to COVID-19, please do not feel pressured to physically attend any worship service or other event. Yet on the other hand, we know many people want to get out and gather physically together for church and other events. Everyone will be welcome. But when in Level Two, if you attend any gathered worship service or event please follow all the appropriate COVID-19 hygienic precautions and physical distancing etc.

For those in our parish who feel unsafe or unable to attend “normal” church, we will put the Sunday church services online. We will trial using Zoom for this. One reason is to allow a form of two-way interaction, including having some folk from home lead prayers or readings etc.

Going forward, once we are in level two, as a parish we’d like to encourage as many parishioners as possible who are currently not online to make the jump to be online and have internet at home. For those of us who use the internet, please encourage those who are not online to make that jump. Explain the benefits you have experienced during lockdown.

We are currently pondering running a few internet workshops on how to be online. Not too complicated, just the basics. The reason for this is parishioners who have been able to meet face to face online during lockdown are really enjoying it, and appreciating seeing each other. I have heard folk say how sad they feel for friends whose churches have not gathered for online church services. Hence, we’d like to get as many people as possible online for future similar lockdown times if they ever eventuate.

PEOPLE ON THEIR OWN: Because lockdown can be a lonely time, please continue to ring each other, and have a good natter, and especially ring folk who you know are on their own. Take care of each other.

EASTER SUNDAY 2020: At our Easter Sunday Service 2020 we had more people attend the service than we normally have had on past Easter Sundays. Likewise, our Good Friday service had a lot more people attend than our usual Good Friday service. One of the things we did on Easter Sunday was break into small groups and brainstorm good things resulting from COVID-19. Here is the list of things mentioned.

GOOD THINGS RESULTING FROM COVID-19

  • Seeing people face to face for church and not the back of their heads
  • Less traffic on the roads
  • Seeing spouse more
  • Great prepping for retirement
  • Seeing and interacting with the neighbours more
  • Simplifying life
  • Fun experimenting with food
  • A chance to decide what is important in Life
  • Saving money by not buying takeaways
  • Funny Memes on TV
  • Having more time with Children
  • Good Fitness times
  • No pollution coming from the MDF Plant.
  • It is quieter
  • The birdsong seems to be louder
  • Lots of Teddy Bears in people’s windows
  • Everyone is in this together
  • Learning to use new technology
  • Good creative time with Children
  • New level of cooperation between countries
  • More families out biking and walking together.
  • Stopping and talking to strangers on the streets
  • Don’t have to dress up and do hair
    (thank goodness that a bad haircut only lasts two weeks)

FROM JON’S DESK

Pondering our exit from COVID-19 Alert Level Four and Three down to Level Two and lower, please do not slip back into normal life too quickly! Somehow hold on to the beautiful simplicity lockdown has brought to us. Sadly, we will lose some of the good things on the above list when we go down to Level Two and lower.

Years back when we lived in Vanuatu for 24 months, we had no mains electricity. Life in the jungle was simple, it was beautiful, and we had time to attend to each other, and read books, and swim and relax as well as work. We had to make do with quiet and simple activities. On a Sunday afternoon, the options for entertainment were to either walk left or walk right along the road. So, coming back to NZ there was reverse culture shock. And some of that reverse culture shock was subconscious – we lost some beautiful simplicity without knowing. The first morning in NZ, we had finished eating toast and drinking hot drinks before we realised, we had used an electric toaster and electric jug – things we had missed for two years. We slipped back to “normal life” way too quickly.

All of a sudden we had choices! I remember one day after being back in NZ for a few months, our family had a major 30-minute argument in the supermarket as to which ice creams we would all have. Afterwards sitting in the car trying to figure out “what just happened then”, we realised that in Vanuatu there was only one choice of ice cream. The simplicity of life had huge blessings and we didn’t notice we lost those blessings when we came out of our Vanuatu lockdown. (I won’t go into the arguments we had with the family over why seatbelts in cars are needed! When you travel on the back of a ute for two years you forget about seatbelts and sitting inside cars.)

Level Four and Level Three Lockdown has brought blessings to NZ and when kiwis become footloose and fancy-free hitting the shops and cafes again – NZ will lose some of its beautiful simplicity without even knowing it. I encourage you all to continue to embrace the Spiritual Discipline of Simplicity. Be Still and Know that I am God Ps 46:10

May God be with you – I love you all
Jon


LATEST PARISH LOCKDOWN NEWS  30th March 2020 4PM


SUNDAY WORSHIP: At last Sunday’s online service over 35 folk gathered online together in a virtual room using software called “Zoom”. It was great connecting! We really enjoyed seeing familiar faces and being able to chat with each other. It worked really well. There are many online events each week of lockdown to help us connect. Why not give it a go?

NEW LINK FOR ALL ONLINE EVENTS: We will trial using one Zoom ID number for all parish online events. Do note that due to internet security issues, we cannot post the Zoom ID Number on our parish website. You will need to read it on the emails that are sent out.

PEOPLE ON THEIR OWN: Yesterday at the online service we all would have seen some people who live on their own. And, we all know of folk living on their own. That knowledge tied with the fact that lockdown is a lonely time. Can all church folk ring each other, and have a chat, and especially ring folk who you know are on their own? Take care of each other.

LIVING IN THE STILLNESS: Joel Tempero and Cassie Close have produced this short video, with “Tips on how to live in the stillness” – well worth a watch. Click on the following link.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyBGpP0Tpek

WEEKLY ONLINE EVENTS
Sunday Morning Online Church.
Come to our normal worship – but online.
Weekly on Sunday; 10:00 – 11:00am

Cuppa n Chat: Come and bring your cuppa to the computer and have a natter online with friends. Come and go as you please. This will be each weekday morning for 30 minutes during lockdown.
Weekly on weekdays; 10:00 – 10:30am

Zoom Tuesday Prayer
Weekly on Tuesdays; 9:00 – 9:45am.

Country Gospel Ukulele: Online with Ian. New people always welcome, play the Ukulele in the comfort of your own home. Or just attend and watch and listen (and maybe laugh – Ian is great)
Weekly on Tuesday; 10:35am – 12:00pm

Wednesday online 30 Minute Worship: Our usual Wednesday 30-minute service open to anyone who wants to come.
Weekly on Wednesday; 10:30 – 11:00am

Thursday evening Zoom practice: A chance for those new to Zoom to practice using Zoom
Thursday 2nd April 7pm – 7:30pm 

TITHES AND OFFERINGS: If you usually bring your tithes and offerings by envelope to church, you might want to consider using the automatic payment system to do this in the meantime. Contact the church office about this.

OFFICE PHONE: The phone number for the church office during lockdown is 021 090 29149.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR USING ZOOM

  • If you have not used zoom before. A few minutes before the event, simply select (click on) the Zoom ID link above; and the computer/device will lead you through a brief software set up.
  • Follow the prompts to install Zoom on your computer/device. Trust it. Say yes to all permissions so it can talk with your computer/device camera and audio system.
  • Keep following the prompts. If there is an option to “remember this option in future” choose Yes.
  • Wait for connections to get sussed – this can take a few minutes. And then you will be connected and see friendly faces.
  • After the first time you use Zoom, it will be quicker as there will be no software setup.

Some Zoom etiquette to note:

  • Please mute yourself when not talking. (click the option on your face on the screen)
  • You are welcome to make use of the ‘chat’ feature when you can write a message to the whole group or individuals
  • There is a ‘put your hand up’ button if you can’t get a word in 🙂

PRAYING AS ONE FOR NEW ZEALAND

New Zealand Christian Network has announced that it has been able to work with a number of groups (NZCN, Move NZ, Rhema Broadcasting, Intercessors for NZ, Missions Interlink, and the World Evangelical Alliance) to pull together Pray As One NZ, a 9-day initiative intended to unite Christians all over NZ in prayer and fasting for our nation. We are inviting leaders from all over NZ to join us in leading this initiative.

This will begin with national day of prayer on Wednesday 1 April, with a full day (5:45am – 6pm) Zoom prayer conference, followed by an evening live streamed prayer and worship service (8-9pm).

Days 2-9 will consist of a nightly 1-hour interactive Zoom prayer conference, from 8-9 pm.

Further details about Wednesday and the 8 days following will be uploaded on to the Pray As One NZ website


1:00PM Thursday 26/3/2020


Parish Lockdown News

Hi everyone.

Well………things are a tad different aren’t they. Although here on first day of lockdown Sage told me that at 8.30am there was a long queue to get into Richmond Pac n Save. When I was meditating this morning, at 7AM on the main road, Whakatu Drive, it was fairly busy. And even now in the middle of the day there are vehicles on it all the time, but not jam packed. Let’s hope and pray people do lockdown.

I am wondering how are you all? As some of you know, Sage and I are slowly ringing everyone. And the pastoral care team are also ringing everyone. Connecting during this time of lockdown will be really important. It would seem to me ringing each other during this time is vital. Can each of us ring three different parish folk each day, and have a good natter.

Where is God in all this covid-19 stuff? God is right here, right now in the middle of it all, with us. Never departing, never running away. And deep in my bones I sense God saying to us in this time in history………

Jeremiah 29 “Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce. Marry and have children. Then find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren. Multiply! Do not dwindle away! And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.”

I believe this is just something we must go through, just another thing, we’ll be fine. The main thing is to care for each other, to Love God and to love your neighbor. And we will come out the other side where well be able to carry on and enjoy life and walk with God at the same time. Please don’t worry. It is going to be alright. With COVID-19, the big thing is we all do lockdown properly. If we do that, it will help our city, our nation. If people fudge lockdown and spread the virus, that will be a real nuisance.

So do read the Bible and pray, and when you are still and quiet; let God whisper to you. God Bless. Jon

Connecting Whakatū folk with each other while on lockdown!

Church Office Phone Number: With the lockdown and all staff working from their homes. We have set up a temporary church office phone number: You can ring Kaye on 021 0902 9149. This is the office phone and will be only turned on during office hours.

ONLINE CONNECTING  

During this past week the Governance Council and parish staff have met in various online groups, some large groups of over 20. It was easy and successful. Therefore we are going to try and help each other connect in the lonely time of lockdown.

We will do this using software called “Zoom”. Instructions on using it are below. Using Zoom is really cool – you arrive in a virtual online room on your computer/device screen and can talk with friendly familiar faces – it’s really good.

You will need to turn on the sound on your computer/device and have a camera on your computer/device. Get the grandkids to get it working.

God Bless
Jon


1:00PM Tuesday 24/3/2020


  • ALL CHURCH EVENTS and GATHERINGS ARE CANCELLED.

  • The church office is now closed. All church staff are working from home. Contact them via email or phone. Please see contact details for staff on the Church website here.

  • Please keep in phone contact with each other. Help each other. Shop for each other.

  • We have a team of church folk prepared to do grocery shopping for those who do not want to venture outside their home. Contact the church office or ring your pastoral visitor to activate this.

  • Our goal is to do our best to connect with all parishioners as often as we can. Be it online message, phone calls, video messages and written messages. Please protect yourself and those you love from COVID-19.

  • Let us all pray for each other and our neighbours and friends and enemies, let us love them and to seek the welfare for our city and region.

God Bless
Jon

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