Dear Members of Bethlehem Congregation,
It is with great sadness that, in line with directives from both the Federal Government and the Bishop of the LCA, John Henderson, we are announcing the closure of the Bethlehem Church building and Bethlehem House to public worship, meetings and activities. Please see here for Bishop Henderson's statement made earlier today.
A great deal of planning and discussion has been undertaken by the Pastors and Church Council of Bethlehem to try and find a way to continue our call to receive God’s service to us in public worship, and to care for each other in this uncertain time.
On Sunday night, the 22 March 2020, we had completed our gathering of responses from members about their views on whether to continue public worship within the government guidelines. Even as we were meeting to discuss options, our nation's Prime Minister announced that many public venues, including churches would be closed from midday Monday 23/3/2020. This is a drastic action to curb the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID19) on our nation.
Our energy is now focussed on caring for those who are isolated or in special need. We realise that many of our older members do not have the internet, and will need regular phone contact. We are also focussed on building online and alternative forms of worship at home, and being even more active in our care for each other.
We will continue to review our implementation of government and church directives while we work on ways pastorally to serve the congregation, and to encourage and foster home devotional life in the congregation.
The Pastors, Church Council and the office are still available by phone and email. The contact details are as follows: Senior Pastor Fraser Pearce (0434 926 428 email@example.com), Associate Pastor Joshua Pfeiffer (0431 398 713 firstname.lastname@example.org ), Chairperson David Quast (0431 503 533, email@example.com), Treasurer Karen Pienaar (0439 396 142 firstname.lastname@example.org), Office Administrator Steve McKenzie (Monday -Wednesday on the office mobile 0450 835 004 email@example.com), and Office Administrator Lisa Thiele (Thursday and Friday 0437 364 227 firstname.lastname@example.org). In the event that one of the Church Council contacts are indisposed the alternates are: Vice Chairperson Tim Materne (0418 813 014 email@example.com), and Finance Chairperson Martin Kaesler (0413 629 916 firstname.lastname@example.org).
Please continue to keep or congregation, our Australian community, and our world in your prayers. Let’s entrust ourselves and our world to the care and protection of the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by God’s Spirit that we can persevere in faith and love in this time of crisis, until we can meet again as God’s people in public worship.
May the peace of God be with you.
Senior Pastor Fraser Pearce and David Quast, Chairperson
Bethlehem Lutheran Church