Practically our activity as a church is limited by ever-changing government restrictions. Broadly speaking:
- At Level 4 no-one is allowed to meet in anything larger than their home bubble. All our in-person gatherings are suspended but the church is more alive than ever. We have loads of online meetings, a shopping and delivery service and our pastoral care team go into overdrive to connect with people on the phone. The highlight of the week is a weekly service live-streamed from the pastors’ house with contributions from lots of people across the church. You can watch the service on YouTube and contact Dan to get a link to other online gatherings or access pastoral support.
- At Level 3 the situation is largely the same as Level 4. Occasionally the live-stream will come from the Rawene Centre as we have permission to do so if we have fewer than 10 people, physically distanced, in the building.
- At Level 2 the schools are back and our primary strategy is to get our kids and youth ministries up and running. Home groups can restart, midweek activities restart at the Rawene Centre and, although church services are limited in number, we encourage people to join bubbles to watch the service online on Sunday mornings. Anyone coming to the Rawene Centre will need to sign in and numbers are strictly limited by government guidelines.
- At Level 1 we go back to normal. Meeting together frequently, eating together, and sharing life as God intends and the early church enjoyed (Acts 2:42)
“From our limited vantage point, our lives are marked by an endless series of contingencies. We frequently find ourselves, instead of acting as we planned, reacting to an unexpected turn of events. We make plans but are often forced to change those plans. But there are no contingencies with God. Our unexpected, forced change of plans is a part of His plan. God is never surprised; never caught off guard; never frustrated by unexpected developments. God does as He pleases, and that which pleases Him is always for His glory and our good…
“…it is difficult for us to appreciate the reality of God sovereignly doing as He pleases in our lives because we do not see God doing anything. Instead we see ourselves or other people acting and events occurring, and we evaluate those actions and events according to our own preferences and plans. We see ourselves influencing or perhaps even controlling or being controlled by the actions of other people, but we do not see God at work. But over all the actions and events of our lives, God is in control doing as He pleases— not apart from those events, or in spite of them, but through them. Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery— a malicious act in and of itself—but in due time Joseph recognized that through his brothers’ actions God was acting. He could say to them, “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God” (Genesis 45:8). Joseph recognized the hand of God in his life sovereignly directing all the events to bring about God’s plan for him.”
excerpts from “Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts” by Jerry Bridges