February 2022 Update – Elders guidance and leadership to BCC re. vaccine mandates
We heard from George Carter on behalf of the BCC Elders and leadership concerning how BCC will be doing church while under Red Light settings. If you’d like to hear the full details, you can watch George’s video or click the pdf to read it in text here Vaccination_passports_elders_message. Based on this information, we will be continuing to do church online as per recent weeks with a 10am service including moments to pause and pray together or discuss the topics or passages raised.
As per our pastor Dan’s email (you can read it here) which lays out the plan for church during this time, we have set up several small home groups that are gathering to have church together. You will receive an invite to AT LEAST one of the groups, but you are welcome to reach out to any of the hosts to see if there is space for you to join with them on any given Sunday. Please contact us if you have any questions, concerns, or don’t know where to go.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (Col 3:12-14)
December 2021 Update – BCC in the Traffic Light System
We are itching to be able to get back together, to sing together, to share communion together and even to listen to a sermon together!
That being said, we will have to hold on a bit longer until we get the full church experience.
We have three very clear principles, outlined at the start of this lockdown, which are both organisational principles and also instructions for our behaviour as individuals:
- We will try to encourage each other to stay close to God.
- We will continue to obey the authorities regardless of whether we agree with them or not.
- We will strive for the unity of the church.
In light of these principles, and in response to the covid protection framework due to start on Friday, we have put a plan together. This takes into account restrictions set out in the ‘Traffic Light’ system and will be in place for services from this Sunday through most of January. This is set out below and then a few FAQs are addressed.
If you have any specific questions or concerns then please reach out to individual elders/pastors or email email@example.com.
Services will be broadcast at 10am every Sunday, but will take a slightly different format. Namely, the services will be designed to have moments of group interaction (eg sharing thoughts, prayers and communion). Our strong encouragement is that you watch the services together with others, pausing for group interaction and making the most of the fellowship available.
*PLEASE do not attend any gathering if you are feeling sick or a close contact of a known covid case – instead reach out to one of us and BCC will support you in any way possible.
There will be about 10 different venues hosting small gatherings, some of which will be using vaccination passports and some won’t. This is at the discretion of the host in each location and is deliberately designed to accommodate as many people as want to gather. The specific guidance we are following is that (at ‘Red’) for ‘gatherings in private residences’ the capacity is 25 if proof of vaccination is not required and 100 if it is.
The hope is that you will all receive multiple invitations to join a gathering this Sunday. If you have not received an invitation you can accept by Friday night then please feel free to get in touch and we will rectify that.
A larger gathering will be held at The Rawene Centre, for up to 100 people upstairs in the Chelsea Bay Lounge to watch the streamed service. No invitation is required for this gathering, but vaccine passes will be checked. This will be hosted by Pete and Shelley.
How do you see God’s hand in this plan?
We are very excited about growing a culture at BCC where people are comfortable in one another’s houses, where faith-based conversation & prayer happens outside the walls of the Rawene Centre and where multiple people step up as leaders rather than relying on the same people on the stage every week.
Hebrews 10:25 reminds us not to neglect meeting together and so we are excited about the ability to meet and fellowship in bigger numbers.
Why can’t we have 100 vaccinated people in the auditorium like last time at level 2?
We might stay at ‘Red’ for a long time and it is not clear as yet how best to do church in a healthy way over an extended time period. We are a church of over 200 people and, of those eligible, about 90% are vaccinated. The elders are still working through how best to meet the needs of everyone long term, while staying within the guidelines set forth by the government.
What if the government restrictions loosen?
We need a little bit of certainty in planning events and services. Rather than continually changing plans and causing confusion the expectation is that we will stay like this until towards the end of January. We will reassess the situation once most people are back from Summer Holidays.
What about Christmas?
The highlight of the BCC year, for many, is the Christmas Eve service. This is looking very unlikely with the current restrictions but there are various exciting ideas circulating and awaiting confirmation. We will communicate more about Christmas celebrations in a week or so.
“Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
These aren’t ideal circumstances but our prayer is that we all remain strong and courageous in the Lord.
As before, if you have any specific questions or concerns then please reach out to individual elders/pastors or email firstname.lastname@example.org
August 2021 Update – BCC in COVID lockdown levels
- 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 – see our pastor’s response here concerning the new “steps” for Level 3 and how that affects church life and activities. 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