Dear St Thomas Family,
I hope that this Newsletter will find you and your loved ones safe at this time? If you have any need of assistance please don’t hesitate to contact the office on firstname.lastname@example.org / 0445333430 or 0671948034.
As a church family and Bitou community we certainly have had to learn new skills and develop an enduring tenacity these past few months in tackling the COVID19 pandemic! We are all well-aware that the crisis is far from over and it will be with us for many months to come.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved with assisting people in need; thank you to all those who reached out with such compassion and generosity. I have been utterly amazed at the creative, committed, and courageous responses of STMC and in the strategies developed and implemented in reaching out to people in our immediate and wider community.
Please keep all our businesspeople close to your heart and keep them in your prayers as they try to reignite their business with the easing of lockdown regulations. Pray that they may continue to have courage, strength, and wisdom in tackling the huge business challenges that lie ahead for them. Pray for their staff too.
Please continue to pray for our doctors, nurses, and caregivers. Their courage is inspirational. Pray for their families that they might be kept safe and find healing ways to deal with the extraordinary burden of stress on them at this time.
Thank you to our Fellowship Groups and Organisations who have so cheerfully got involved in making sure that contact has been authentic and genuine and specially so with the more vulnerable and isolated members of our church family. Thank you to our Pastoral Team and their many telephone calls and important acts of “reaching out” to others.
The current format we have used of online church services, the Youth and Young Adults online meetings, the Children’s Ministry and the Pastoral Team and our mission strategy and outreach assistance has worked well these past months.
This will continue to be the model we use for the next few months ahead.
I met with our STMC Leaders Meeting on the 12 August and after much discussion and careful thought the decision was taken to keep our current format of online worship and pastoral care in place. We as the Leaders felt that our current strategy that is a cautious and compassionate approach that takes into prayerful consideration the risks faced by the vulnerable members of our church family needs to be maintained and adhered to.
Therefore, we will not resume normal church services in our church building during Level 2 of lockdown.
The Level 2 Lockdown regulations make it clear that church gatherings of more than 50 people may not take place. Furthermore, if worship services, funerals or meetings take place at a church (consisting of 50 people or less) then all the necessary social distancing regulations and sanitising requirements as stipulated in law must be followed, and registers kept of all the people attending the meeting. Home based Fellowship Groups please also take special note of the Level 2 law that stipulates families and friends may meet in homes, however the number of people that meet in this way may not exceed 10.
Fellowship Groups, Bible Study Groups and Organisations may meet in the Foyer of our church building if they choose to do so. The Young Adults Group may meet in the Youth Chapel. This approach will enable groups of more than 10 but less than 50 people to meet.
Please make sure that if you would like to make use of the Foyer or Youth Chapel that you contact the office in writing at email@example.com and if your preferred meeting time is available, it will be booked for you. This procedure will enable us to sanitise the Foyer and Chapel before, and after, each group has met and to control access to the church building. This is a legal requirement of Level 2. If any person attending such a meeting tests positive for COVID19 then all those who attended the meeting will have to be tested, and the venue will be closed.
The Leaders Meeting also made some changes to our Calendar for 2020.
- The Fete scheduled for October 2020 will not take place. I will meet with the organisers and plan a new Fete strategy.
- The Rage will not take place this year and is postponed to 29 January – 6 February 2021. I will liaise with the Red Frogs. The STMC involvement in the Red Frogs outreach for the Rage will be guided by the COVID regulations at the time.
Please make sure you keep up to date with STMC news and activities by regularly visiting our website at www.plettmethodist.co.za .
Thank you for all your care, support and faithfulness that enables our work at STMC to continue. It is deeply and gratefully appreciated.
Be safe and God bless,