Latest information from Pastor Darryl and the PST in regards to COVID-19 and Brookside Baptist Church

Brookside Baptist Church has registered with the NSW Government as a COVID Safe Business. For more information please see the Brookside covid-19-safety-plan-places-of-worship

Brookside Baptist Church Hall has registered with the NSW Government as a COVID Safe Business. For more information please see theBrookside covid-19_community-centres-and-halls

Current COVID status, and values.

Dear Brookside,
This week we find the majority of us now in official lockdown. The pandemic has taken yet another turn, and we are back to meeting remotely – at least for this week.
Covid regulations are subject to change, often with only a few hours’ notice, and we are doing our best to keep up with the public health directives.

As Christians, we are reminded of the words of Jesus in Mark 12:30-31 ’30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”’
Each time we put a mask on, or abide by stay at home orders, or maintain physical distancing, we are loving our neighbours. As the church leadership team, we would encourage you to remind yourselves of this, and remember that those things are acts of love for our church and for our community.

It is hard for us not to meet. It’s hard not to sing together. It’s hard when we have to juggle numbers in order to abide by distancing rules.
Our wants – to meet in person, to sing, to hug – while hard, are no barrier to worship. Corporately, or individually, we can worship our God wherever we are, and as Christians have, throughout history. In some ways we are blessed, by the access we have to technology, which allows us to meet virtually.

We can worship when joined by technology. We can pray. We can sing at home, in our family groups, or in the shower. We can read our Bibles, study God’s word, and seek insights from God himself. What a privilege!
God sees our acts of worship and hears our hearts.

While we understand that not everyone in our fellowship may agree with each and every public health order, or may even have a differing opinion about them, we – the church leadership – are choosing to abide by them. It is our duty to love our neighbour – whoever they may be, and in so doing, demonstrate Christ’s love to our most vulnerable and to our community.

This week, we can pray more. We can read our Bibles more. We can use the time when we must stay at home to have God conversations. And this Sunday, we can meet together in the virtual world to hear God’s word together.
If you have concerns or needs, then please contact any member of the PST.

WHAT PRECAUTIONS CAN PEOPLE TAKE WHEN THEY COME TO OUR BUILDING?

We encourage everyone to take certain steps to protect themselves and others from the coronavirus, flu, and other illnesses, including:

ON ARRIVAL, USE HAND SANITISER PROVIDED IN FOYER

  • Washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds BEFORE YOU ARRIVE at church AND WHEN YOU ARRIVE HOME;
  • Using hand sanitiser when soap and water is not available;
  • Not touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands;
  • Avoiding close contact with people, especially those who are sick;
  • Staying home if you are sick;
  • Covering your cough or sneeze;
  • Disinfecting objects and surfaces regularly.
  • Please do not shake hands, hug or kiss as a greeting.

Masks at Brookside

At this time we at Brookside are strongly recommending and encouraging everyone who enters Brookside to wear a mask.
We recommend that everyone 12 years of age and over bring their own reusable or disposable mask to church.
We also understand that changes to the restrictions can happen rapidly and we will do our best to keep you informed.
https://nswactbaptists.org.au/covid19/  (Baptist Association website)
 *Children under 12 should not wear face coverings. 

Some Frequently Asked Questions about reopening

What will we find on Sunday morning?

Once inside, you are encouraged to use the hand sanitiser in the foyer and then find your seat and maintain social distancing.

What will our service look like?

The answer is, different.

At this point, one issue we are working our way through is worship. We will have worship, but it will not start off as community singing. Singing in this way produces more airborne droplets, this increases the chance of germs spreading. While we might not have community singing, we might have reflective community worship, singing in our heads as our music team play. With this, we might also use some of the things we have been using in our home church order of service eg putting artwork up on the screen and reflecting on it; maybe using small videos or other such things.

We will not be passing the offering bags during the service as we were previously. We encourage any offerings to be directly deposited into the church account.

Will there be morning tea?

Yes, it is. However, it too looks different. we ask that once you grab your coffee, tea, or biscuits that you move away from the counter area to social distancing.

What about Brook Kids/Sunday School?

Brook Kids is back! Starting term 1 2021. and again it looks a little different as our Brook Kids program will run the entire time of our service.

When will community singing start again?

There is no easy answer to this. But at this stage we feel that once all restrictions are removed these things will recommence in one format or another.

Should I come to Brookside if I am not feeling well?

We strongly encourage anyone who is feeling sick or running a fever to stay home (and away from small or large group gatherings) and let someone in the church know that you are not feeling well. We want to care for you well in every way we can, as your church family, without unnecessarily exposing others to potential sickness. Particularly if you are elderly or more physically at risk, in light of the coronavirus COVID-19, we encourage you to minimise social interactions during these days while still staying connected to your church family through other means. Specifically, we invite everyone who is unable to come to a physical gathering for any reason to worship online with the church family.

I came across this saying the other day. The church never closed. We adapted! Rather than be part of the problem, we became part of the solution. We found new ways to worship God and new ways to serve a broken world. And that is what we still need to do. We need to adapt and show grace.

We also want to thank you for your support of our church and of each other at this time.

Pastor Darryl Spicer

Co-vid19  – The road back!  27th May 2020

No doubt you have heard the news and or seen that our federal and state governments are starting to relax some of the coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions. With this in mind, we want to inform you of our six-stage plan to reopen Brookside Baptist Church.

We would also like you to know that the PST and I are carefully and continually monitoring this situation. As information evolves, our plans might change; this means that we will be sending e-mails like this one with the most up-to-date news. We will also post information on our webpage www.brookside.org.au and on Facebook. We are committed to doing everything we can to provide a safe environment for our church family and surrounding community.

Guiding principles

  1. Our first concern is towards the health and safety of all members of Brookside Baptist Church and to the local community
  2. We want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem
  3. Our mission has not changed, but we need to be creative with our methods
  4. The church is not a building, it is the people
  5. We want to be wise and safe when it comes to gradually opening up
  6. Once the advice changes, we are aiming to start our changes the following week.

Brookside’s reopening six-stage plan

Stage 1. Online.

The Church building is closed to all groups.

Sunday sermon online/live streamed video available via Facebook or website.

Stage 2. When the government says religious institutions are allowed 10 people plus a facilitator; (Our current stage from 27th May 2020)

The Church building will be open for use by groups with fewer than 10 people. Such as the Saturday Morning Prayer Group.

Social distancing and other criteria will need to be met.

Sunday Church service/sermon online/live streamed video available via Facebook or website.

Stage 3. When the government says religious institutions are allowed 25 people plus a facilitator and social distancing must still be adhered to;      

The Church building will be open for use by small/connect groups, as arranged with Sonya.

Social distancing and other criteria will need to be met.

Sunday Church service/sermon online/live streamed video available via Facebook or website.

Stage 4. When the government says religious institutions are allowed 50 people plus facilitator and social distancing must still be adhered to;  

The Church building will commence Sunday services. Limited to 35-40 people and a church attendance roster will be issued.

Social distancing and other criteria will need to be met.

Online/live streamed video for those who are not able to attend.

The Church building will be open for use by small/connect groups, as arranged with Sonya.

 Stage 5. When the government says religious institutions are allowed 100 people plus facilitator with social distancing measures still in place;

The Church building will continue Sunday services.

We will still be limited to 35-40 people and a church attendance roster will be issued.

With online/live streamed video for those who are not able to attend. Social distancing and other criteria will need to be met.

The Church building will be open for use by small/connect groups as arranged with Sonya.

Stage 6. When the government removes all restrictions on meetings;

The Church building will be fully open to all people to attend a Sunday service.

The Church building will be open for use by small/connect groups.

The Church will start to seek to re-establish Brook Kids Program, morning tea and so on.