COVID-19 UPDATES

Please keep an eye on this page for future updates regarding the COVID-19 Situation

**LATEST UPDATE** Friday 15th May 2020   10:00am

It is so wonderful that restrictions are slowly being lifted. Kylie and I were so excited by the announcement that we are now able to have five visitors to our home, meaning we can resume our weekly family night. We have really missed having our sons and daughters-in-law come for dinner each week. I hope that you too have been able to reconnect with your loved ones too.

 

Sadly, it still looks like it will be a couple more months before we can resume our Sunday worship services. Even with our three services it is logistically just not possible for us to meet until gatherings of over 100 people can meet again. In the meantime, please remain positive, hopeful and faithful.

 

Our Church leadership is committed to continuing to provide worship services via YouTube, each and every week. And I think that the overall quality of our online services has gotten better and better. The lighting and sound have really improved. We have almost 200 subscribers to our Mildura Church of Christ YouTube channel and each service has had over 300 views. Please continue to pass on your feedback. We have really appreciated the encouragement we have received from many people. We also welcome and appreciate constructive criticism designed to help us improve and produce the very best service that we can.

 

Not everyone in our Church has the internet, so we are also making our services available on DVD, completely FREE of charge. Each fortnight we hope to distribute the previous two services on a DVD. If this ministry would be beneficial to you, or you know of someone who this would minister to, please contact either myself or Noel and Kaye Underwood.

 

Another ministry Joshua Cole and I have begun is Pastor’s Chat with Coley and Tonks. This is a video that is uploaded to our YouTube channel every Wednesday afternoon. Our plan is to share from our heart on various topics. We want this to be a source of encouragement and equipping as we continue together through these difficult times. Make sure you check it out and we invite your contribution by suggesting topics we can discuss or sending through a ‘question of the week’.

 

Ministry and mission certainly continues through this time. One of the really exciting mission activities we have been able to launch is a Hope Pantry style ministry in Dareton in partnership with Sunraysia Indigenous Ministries. We have been given a special grant through Churches of Christ Careworks to help fund this ministry of bringing hope and love to some of the vulnerable in our region.

 

While we are still being encouraged to practice social distancing, the slightly relaxed restrictions allowing visitors into the home does mean that Pastoral Care is now a lot easier to do. However, we will still be acting very carefully in this and observing strict and wise guidelines. If you would like a Pastoral Visit from myself, Josh, an Elder or Noel and Kaye, please contact us at any time. We would love the opportunity for a brief visit to chat and pray with you. We can also arrange to deliver grocery assistance if needed or even collect your offering you wish to give.

 

I also want to encourage you to email, text or call with any prayer points you may have. A few times each week I have set aside quality time to specifically pray for the members of our Church. It truly is a privilege to pray for you and your family.

 

Speaking of prayer, I want to finish this letter by encouraging you to be praying for our nation, for our leaders and for each other. Below are seven ways we can all continue to pray…..

 

7 PRAYERS TO PRAY

 

1. FREEDOM

Pray that the Covid-19 virus will be gone, that the restrictions can be fully lifted and we can feel a sense of freedom once more.

 

2. WISDOM

Pray for our Nation’s leaders, federal, state, and local, that God will grant them the wisdom to make godly decisions that will benefit all Australians.

 

3. STRENGTH

Pray for all those working in the health industry in our hospitals, nursing homes and doctor’s clinics. Pray for all those who are providing care to so many worried and anxious people. Pray that God’s strength will be theirs to sustain them.

 

4. HEALING

Praise God that the curve is well and truly flattening and that new infections are low. Continue to pray for those who are sick and vulnerable, that God’s grace will be with them.

5. EMPLOYMENT

Pray for people who have either lost jobs or had their hours cut back. Pray for our local businesses that are really struggling through this time.

 

6. CHURCH

Pray for the Mildura Church of Christ, that we will remain fruitful and effective and that Christ will always be honoured through us. Pray for all the Christian Churches through Sunraysia.

 

7. HOPE

Pray that your family and friends may know Jesus and the eternal hope that we have in Him.

 

May God continue to richly bless you in all things.

 

Andrew Tonkin

Ministry Team Leader

Mildura Church of Christ

Friday 17th April 2020   12:00pm

I continue to hope and trust that God’s blessing is with you as we continue through this unprecedented challenge. And let that be a daily encouragement to you – that we are continuing THROUGH this challenge. This brings to mind the words of the much loved Psalm 23 where it says, ‘Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.’

 

It has been a real pleasure for Joshua and myself to bring you our Sunday worship service each week via YouTube. It has not been easy, but I think it is getting better every week. The overall quality has been terrific and we are continually seeking ways to make it better and better in order to give you and your family the best worship experience we can during this ‘lockdown’. We have a terrific team of volunteers, particularly Clinton Waters. I am so proud of every one of them.

 

I want to encourage you to be sharing the videos of our services with your family and friends. Many people may find it difficult to walk into a Church on a Sunday morning or evening – but they would be quite happy to watch a service in the privacy of their own home. I had a friend of mine watch our Easter Sunday message. I have been witnessing to him for about 5 years, regularly inviting him to Church, but he always said ‘No’. I was so excited that he tuned in to watch our Easter Sunday service. It was the first time he had ‘been to Church’ in over 30 years.

 

So invite your family and friends to check out our YouTube channel and help keep spreading the hope that can only come through our Saviour Jesus.

 

This past week we have introduced videos for Adventure Kids. We hope to post these every Tuesday. They will be available through our Church YouTube channel or via our website. Each video will include music, Bible stories and more, hosted by Joshua Tonkin and Adele Beasy. Make sure you check it out and share it with your children and grandchildren.

 

Thank you so much to the many people who have sent texts, emails, cards, letters and phone calls to Joshua and myself. Your encouragement makes a massive difference. Thank you for your many prayers and I ask that you will continue to pray for us both as often as possible, particularly on Sunday mornings.

 

Please keep in prayer those from our Church who are involved in the medical field. We have many members who are doctors, nurses, pharmacists, radiologists and medical receptionists. Every day they are dealing with sick people, frightened people and sometimes frustrated and angry people. Pray that the Lord will bless them with patience and endurance, peace and joy, and that the light of God will shine through them.

 

Also be in prayer for our many teachers who are working in very difficult circumstances to continue teaching our children.

 

As you pray for others, please be aware that I am praying for you regularly. A few times every week I am setting aside time to specifically pray for the members of our Church. If you have any particular prayer needs at this time I would love to know how I can specifically be praying for you and your family. Please feel free to email me any prayer requests to andrew@milduracofc.org.au

It is an absolute honour and privilege to pray for you.

 

Finally, I want to share with you some words of encouragement….

 

This will pass. The Bible tells us there will be trials. 1Peter 4:12 says, “Dear friends, don’t be surprised or shocked that you are going through testing that is like walking through fire”. These are tough times, but they won’t last forever.

We need to do what the health professionals recommend. We need to take the common sense actions that will decrease the spread of this virus. We won’t need to make these changes forever. Our church will gather again.

 

Focus on what’s unchanging not what is changing. There are many changes to our world, our community, and our Church. We do not know all the changes this pandemic will have on our community or how long the changes will last. This can bring fear and uncertainty, therefore remember what hasn’t changed.

The Bible says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). In the midst of all this change, you can count on that truth. You can also know that God’s love for you and your family has never changed. God’s call on your life hasn’t changed. Don’t let all the changes make you lose sight of everything that is still the same.

 

God is going through this with you. This virus didn’t surprise God. He will walk through every bit of it with us. We will never be alone.

I encourage you to remind yourself of Isaiah 43:2 during this time: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze”. Focus on that truth and it will replace your worry with worship.

 

This is not the end of the story. The Bible says, “In times of trouble, God is with us, and when we are knocked down, we get up again . . . because we know that God raised the Lord Jesus to life” (2 Corinthians 4:8, 14). Easter reminds us that we win no matter what happens. The resurrection of Jesus proves his power and authority over ALL things. There won’t be a COVID-19 virus in heaven.

We don’t know what the future holds, but we do know who holds it.

 

God wants to use our church to help others. Our church is going through an incredible challenge right now. But God doesn’t just want our church to survive during this period. He wants it to thrive! This is the difference between how we deal with pain as believers and how the world does. The church sees every need in the world as an open door for ministry. This is an opportunity for the Mildura Church of Christ to shine; to be loving God and loving people.

Andrew Tonkin

Ministry Team Leader

Mildura Church of Christ

Wednesday 25th March 2020   10:00am

To the Members of the Mildura Church of Christ,

 

We send our love and greetings to you and your family. We are certainly in unprecedented times as a Church, as a community and as an entire Nation. We hope you are well and want to encourage you to keep pressing into the Lord Jesus Christ and draw on His strength at this very difficult time.

This letter contains some very important information for every member of our Church. So please take the time to read it through carefully.

 

PASTORAL CARE

We want to continue to extend pastoral care to as many people in the Church as possible, particularly to those who are at risk of isolation and loneliness. However, we want to ensure that all pastoral care is done appropriately, respectfully and most importantly, safely.

Government restrictions on visits to hospitals and nursing homes will make it difficult to visit some of our elderly and sick. Some of our elderly members and families with very young children have chosen to ‘self isolate’ for the time being. We want to respect that decision.

 

We hope that we will be able to make regular phone calls to most of our Church members, and we encourage you to do the same as an expression of our brotherly love for one another.

If you do want a personal visit then please contact Andrew, Joshua or the Church office and that can still be arranged. But we do not want to make wrong assumptions in this sensitive climate.

 

GIVING

Please continue to GIVE. It is very important that every member of the Church continues to give their regular offerings. We still must meet our regular expenses such as wages and utilities and there have been a number of extra expenses in order to set up the online worship services.

 

If you are someone whose offering is given as cash at Sunday services then please consider using online banking. The bank details are…

 

Mildura Church of Christ

BSB:  703 810

ACC:  05300208

 

If this isn’t possible then the office will be open Monday mornings, 9:00am till 11:00am.

 

HOPE PANTRY

Our Hope Pantry contains several food staples such as milk, cereal, canned fruit and vegetables, soups, noodles and more. We even have been able to get some rolls of toilet paper and feminine hygiene products.

If you or close friend is in genuine need of some basic essentials, then please contact the Church office. We want to help in any way we can.

We also encourage members to continue making generous donations to our Hope Pantry. Items can be brought to the Church office during the week and put into the shopping trolley in the foyer. Please call the office or Andrew to arrange a time to drop off.

 

CONNECT GROUPS

The Church Board has decided that all our connect groups will not be able to continue meeting face to face. However, if any groups would like to investigate the possibility of meeting together via an online group chat, then we can help facilitate that. Please contact Joshua Cole for more information.

 

PATIENCE

This whole situation is one giant unknown. The restrictions be enforced are the most severe in our nation’s history. We all need to be extremely patient as we endure it faithfully together.

 

Our worship and tech team will be doing their very best, but there may be some unexpected difficulties, so please be patient and encourage them as they seek to provide the very best services they can.

 

PRAYER

Thank you so much for your faithfulness in this. Your prayers are absolutely essential.

Pray for the unity of our Church.
Pray for those members who are among the ‘at risk’ categories; elderly, young children, pregnant mums, etc.
Pray that the online services run well and there will no major technical problems.
Pray that this will be over soon and we can resume our regular ministries.
If you would like to talk further about any of this we invite you to contact a member of our ministry team or an elder at any time. Please be assured of our continual prayers for our whole Church.

 

In His Service,

 

The Elders, Mildura Church of Christ

Thursday 19th March 2020   8:00pm

A statement from the Mildura Church of Christ Ministry Team and Eldership


From this Sunday our Church, the Mildura Church of Christ, will be meeting online as our considered and prayerful response to the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic. There will not be any physical Church service. Our Sunday service, including worship, communion, prayers, Bible reading and sermon, will be available live on Youtube at 10:30am each Sunday and continue to be available to watch on demand through the week.


We understand that in many ways this is a very disappointing announcement. But we truly believe it is the correct one to make at this current time. This is not an action based on fear but is in line with our government’s latest decision around mass gatherings. We currently have almost 300 people attending our Sunday services.
 

Through February attendance at our 10:30am service was around 180 people. Logistically we cannot see how we can continue to meet each week without violating the new law restricting all gatherings to less than 100 people. The decision is also a responsible expression of love and concern for our region as we work together in doing what we can to slow the progress and reach of the disease.


We invite you, as Hebrews 10:25 encourages us to ‘not giving up meeting together, but encourage one another’ by gathering for our online service each Sunday – live at 10:30am.  Gather your family together or perhaps meet in small groups with close friends. Let’s commit to continuing to worship and witness together regularly. Whilst we will not be in our usual physical venue, we are still the Body of Christ united. We trust that every one of us will stay committed to giving and connecting online as we would if we were in church physically.


Our worship team are committed to creating high quality services, for not only our regular attenders, but anyone who would like to remain ‘in community’ at this time.  Everyone is welcome. So this may be the perfect opportunity to invite your family and friends to go online with you.


We have a brand new online and interactive church platform to access. The new platform is available via this link……. The link is also available via our webpage and Facebook group.


If you are unsure how to get this working properly then please speak with someone in your family who may able to assist you, or call the Church and we can arrange for someone to help.


If you would like to talk further about any of this we invite you to contact a member of our ministry team or an elder at any time. Please be assured of our continual prayers for our whole Church.


God is good and He remains in control.  Be blessed and we hope to see you online this Sunday.


For our whole Church.

Wednesday 18th March 2020   10:00am

Dear Friends,

 

I want to update you on the Mildura Church of Christ’s response to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic and the steps we are taking to lessen the risks, and to ensure as a Church family we continue to model the faith, hope and love that is at the heart of the Gospel.

 

First, what we are doing.

 

We are continuing to host all of our current programs and activities, including all three Sunday services, and will continue to do so until we are advised otherwise. This weekend Josh will continue our ‘Didn’t See It Coming’ series.

 

We are closely monitoring and following advice from government, health professionals and our Churches of Christ head office, and will continue to do so.

 

We are continuing to ensure our property is thoroughly and hygienically cleaned.

 

As soon as local supplies are re-stocked we will provide hand sanitiser and encourage you to apply this on entering and leaving our venue, and to wash your hands thoroughly at other times.

 

We will make appropriate changes to some of our regular practices.

 

While we want to ensure all people are made to feel welcome, we encourage you to smile and wave but refrain from handshakes and hugs.

 

Morning tea will see some changes to how it is served. Be assured that all servers will be extra vigilant in their own personal cleanliness.

 

Communion is a central part of our weekly worship. We will still ensure quality time is spent reflecting on the sacrificial death of our Lord and Saviour. However, we will not be partaking in our regular emblems of the bread and cup. We will also not pass the offering bags but ask that you place your offering into bowls as you either arrive or leave our services. (Perhaps this may be a good time for you to consider giving regularly via your bank’s online services.)

 

Second, what risk-mitigation efforts are we asking of you.

 

If you are unwell, particularly if you have cold or flu like symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat etc.), please do not attend any church activity until you are well again. If your symptoms do not improve please telephone your health care provider and seek their advice. Or alternatively phone the Coronavirus Hotline – 1800 675 398.

 

If you have travelled overseas within the last 2 weeks, or have been in contact with a person who has travelled overseas who may have been exposed to the Coronavirus, we ask that you do not attend any church activity. If in any doubt we ask that you err on the side of caution and please do not attend any church activity.

 

Restrict hand to hand contact at gatherings (we will remind of you this during welcome times), and use sensible precautions when in close proximity to others.

 

Thoroughly wash and/or sanitise hands regularly.

 

I want to also give my blessing to anyone in the ‘at risk’ category to feel free to stay home on Sunday. If you are elderly, if you are pregnant or have preschool aged children, if you suffer from a respiratory condition, or if your current state of health means your immunity levels are compromised, then perhaps it is in your own best interest to stay at home.

Third, let me talk about our opportunity in this unprecedented and challenging season.

 

This pandemic is a serious global crisis that we all must take seriously and humbly do our part. Having said this, while we need to be wise in minimising the risks to ourselves and others, we also are not governed by fear. God’s perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18). In and through Jesus we also have a hope that is imperishable (1 Corinthians 15:42). Together, with our words and by our actions, let’s model the Gospel hope we have.

 

How?

 

Pray for those who are infected with the virus – for their healing.

Pray for our world and our nation – that the pandemic will slow and halt. 

Pray for our health care and other professionals on the front-line, including many in our church, for safety and strength.

Pray for our state and national leaders – for wisdom.

And pray for those whose livelihoods which have already been impacted by the economic fallout – for provision.

 

Let’s make sure we care for one another, be extra sensitive to the needs of those around us while at the same time placing our faith and confidence in a great God. (Philippians 4:4-9) We don’t need to fear the future when our lives are in the hands of the one who controls the future. This is a great opportunity for us to demonstrate God’s love and care in practical ways to a fearful world.

 

We will keep in touch with you regarding any further developments as necessary. 

 

Grace and Peace,

 

Andrew Tonkin

Ministry Team Leader

Mildura Church of Christ

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