Congregation Update – COVID-19

Dear Congregation Member,

I am writing to you to tell you about the many changes that have been brought about by our attempts to help play our part in ensuring that the spread of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) is slowed down in our State.

From this Monday, 23 March, all public worship and parish organised groups have been suspended in the Diocese of Melbourne. This means that although we can still broadcast livestreams of worship services, St Paul’s Cathedral has not been able to facilitate gatherings of any kind since Monday.

This is not a closure of ministry. However much we love our beautiful Cathedral, the church is first and foremost you, our people, and not our building. That’s why in these uncertain times, we want to enable every one you to continue to be able to participate in a full life of worship, and we are committed to continuing our pastoral ministry remotely, either online or by phone.

Our worship is now online

We continue to worship in a way that complies with the current advice of the State and Commonwealth Governments. We are also prepared for the event that a total lockdown results in our inability to leave home.

This means that worship will not look quite the way you would expect it to if you were able to join us in the building. While it is our hope that we may continue to broadcast from the Cathedral, it may well that services will eventually be broadcast from the home of the presider of the day.

Our teaching and social programs will be delivered on Zoom

One of the best tools at our disposal to continue pastoral outreach is Zoom. Zoom is a computer program which facilitates online video calls with multiple participants. We have enclosed (Guide to Zoom) a ‘beginners guide’ to getting Zoom set up on your own device at home enclosed with this letter. I’d strongly encourage you to familiarise yourself with this program. If you have any trouble following the guide, please reach out to the Cathedral Office. Staff in the Cathedral Office would be delighted to help you become comfortable using the program and can talk you through some of the difficulties you may have.

Our new timetable

For the coming week, we have scheduled the following events, all of which will be held electronically only:

On Sunday, 29 March:
8am BCP Eucharist, led by Dean Andreas, and broadcast on our Facebook page and Youtube Channel.

9.15am-9.45am: We will meet for morning tea held via Zoom.

10am Sung Eucharist, broadcast on our Facebook page and Youtube Channel. In the event of a total lockdown, this will held as a said Eucharist, led by Dean Andreas.

11.15am-12.15pm Bible Study Group to be held via Zoom. (The Revd Canon Dr Stephen Ames will be in touch with the 9am study group directly to coordinate those that wish to meet earlier)

2pm Mandarin Worship 華語崇拜 broadcast via Youtube

During the week ahead:

Lunchtime Eucharist:
12.15pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. Broadcast on our Facebook page and Youtube Channel

Weekday Evensong:
5.10pm on Wednesdays and Fridays. Broadcast on our Facebook Page and Youtube Channel (not during school holidays and the week after Easter, 29 March-18 April)

Weekly emails:
On Wednesdays we will be sending you service updates and Heather will provide some study notes on the Sunday Gospel reading. On Fridays we will send out prayer points for you to share in.

Daily Prayer:
The ministry team of St Paul’s Cathedral has been meeting electronically for morning prayer, during which they remember each member of our electoral roll and other parishioners by name over the course of the week. Know that we are holding each and every one of you in our prayers.

We all look forward to a return to normal patterns of life and a big celebration by all of us to say thank you to God for his faithfulness in time of this crisis.

In the meantime, we continue in prayer for you as part of our Cathedral community, and ask that you remember us also as we seek out ways to maintain our ministry, proclaim the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and to continue share in fellowship.

Yours in Christ,

Dean Andreas and Canon Heather