As you are aware, President Ramaphosa addressed the nation on Sunday night with regard to extraordinary means taken to curb, as best as possible, the coronavirus pandemic. While he did not specify places of worship, he did state that government had prohibited gatherings of more than one hundred people. Subsequently this has been reduced to fifty people.
As a result, the elders have taken the decision that all formal church-related activities will be closed with immediate effect until we are able to re-evaluate. We recognise that these limitations cannot continue indefinitely, but the principles revealed in Romans 13, submission to legitimate authority and love for neighbour, necessitate that we take this step.
Of course, we cannot allow the ministry of the word to cease completely. Thankfully, we have access to digital technology which, while not allowing us to simulate gathered worship, at least allows us to broadcast the preached word. We have therefore decided that, beginning this Sunday, we will live stream sermons via the church’s Facebook page, both Sunday morning and Sunday evening. Regular audio recordings will continue to be provided via the church’s podcast platform immediately at the end of each service. The recorded video sermon will be made available on YouTube as normal within several hours of recording.
At this stage, Facebook will be our only live streaming option. You will be able to view the stream even if you do not have a Facebook account by visiting facebook.com/brackenhurstbaptist. We will begin the livestream as normal at 9:30 AM on Sunday morning and 5:30 PM on Sunday evening. The stream will comprise nothing more at this stage than prayer and preaching. While we would love to stream to YouTube also, account limitations prevent us from easily doing so at this stage.
We realise, at the same time, that there are other elements of gathered worship that will be affected by this. Some of these interruptions are unavoidable: for example, corporate singing and the Lord’s Supper. For others, we might be able to provide an alternative. For example, we recognise that there are members who prefer to structure their giving in cash rather than via EFT. If you prefer to continue to give this way, please feel free to contact the church office during the week for more information. We want to at least make this option available to those who would benefit from it.
This providential circumstance provides unique opportunity for us to reach out to the more vulnerable. Since COVID-19 seems to be most dangerous to senior citizens, and those with various medical vulnerabilities, some of you may understandably be nervous about leaving your homes, while at the same time requiring regular groceries. As a Body we can minister to you.
Brothers and sisters, a wonderful way to minister to these members is to offer to do shopping and other errands for them. We plan to set up a platform by which these needs can be communicated and, we trust, met. If you would like to be a part of this, drop Tommie a message and he will co-ordinate. Our VIPs and other vulnerable people can then communicate their needs to Tommie, who will coordinate to ensure that these needs are met.
We will maintain regular contact with the church through various means. If you are not on the church’s WhatsApp broadcast, send a message to (063) 492 8869 and we will reply with instructions for how to be added.
Finally, please read the various WhatsApp messages and emails that will periodically be sent to you. The information is aimed to be a help to our family of BBC.
Let us use this time of uncertainty to grow in our trust of God, to allow our perseverance to be tested, and to serve one another by love.