Welcome Back - Instructions for Returning to Church
FROM PASTOR PABLO:
Welcome Back to Castle Hill
February 10, 2021
“‘Love the Lord your God’... ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’”
During this pandemic, one way we express love for ourselves is in doing what we can to protect ourselves from getting sick. In the same way, one way we express love to our neighbours, is in doing what we can to protect them from getting the virus.
In the last year, this pandemic has dramatically changed our lives and turned our world upside down. The pain and anxieties it has caused around us are real. Additionally, as Christians we’ve grieved the inability to meet in person with our church community in Castle Hill. We’ve been longing to gather again.
This Sabbath, February 13, we’re returning to church for the first time in 48 weeks. However, we must consider how to do so in safe ways that consider our most vulnerable neighbours by not spreading COVID-19.
It is important for us to remember that our Church never actually closed, just the doors to our buildings. As Christ’s disciples, we are learning to live out our calling to worship, pray, encourage, witness, disciple, and serve in creative ways that minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
We’ve gone online, moved our Sabbath School to Zoom, and found new ways to love our neighbours. We are still the people of God, we—not our buildings—are the real church.
Now, we enter a new phase of COVID-19, as restrictions loosen to a 2m2 rule on Friday, February 12. As we look toward gathering again, with eagerness and gladness of heart (and perhaps some anxiety), we need to do so wisely.
Through this process, trust God’s faithfulness and goodness while also being realistic about possible risks, threats, challenges, and complications from COVID-19.
To help in this process, our Church Board has implemented an initial framework that we believe is best-practice for a safe return.
We encourage you to work with us and humbly follow instructions from our deacons and leaders. Remember they’re all volunteers wanting to serve and make a difference.
Sabbath School will commence at 9:30am. All Sabbath School groups will continue as per normal in their allocated rooms. Our worship service will start at 11:00am. Please respect the deacons as they direct you in the church. Listed below are necessary guidelines for our time together.
PROTOCOLS FOR WORSHIP AT CASTLE HILL # Please register with our COVID Marshalls upon arrival before attending Sabbath School or Church.
# There will be two registration areas, the entrance to the foyer downstairs to the hall, and the entrance area to the main church building.
# Each Sabbath School group is to use antibacterial wipes to wipe down chairs and tables at the end of the class. All cleaning products will be provided by the church.
# Church pews will need to be wiped down between Sabbath School and our 11:00am worship service.
# Everyone entering church will be allocated seating for Sabbath School and our Worship service.
# Toilets will be cleaned at 30min intervals—please be patient as this takes place.
# Frequently touched areas will be wiped clean.
# Singing in church will be limited to the Praise and Worship team.
#Congregants are not required to wear a mask—but you may do so if you choose.
# We have an incredibly loving culture, however, let’s skip the hugs and handshakes in favour of a smile and a wave. And, let's ensure we maintain social distancing of at least 1.5 metres, whilst still being social, warm and loving with one another and visitors.
# The Pastoral team won’t be at the door to greet at the end of the service.
TITHES & OFFERINGS
Thank you for your generosity during this time and your continued faithfulness in giving back to God throughout 2020. We encourage you to continue to give online via eGiving in 2021. Thank you for investing meaningfully in the mission of Castle Hill seventh-day Adventist Church.
Tithes and offering will be collected during our worship service by the deacons. Also, we’ll have Donate / Giving areas with “Tap n Go” and eGiving. The Sabbath School Offering will be collected by each group. Please allocate one person to hold the collection plate rather than passing it around.
NOT FEELING WELL
We would ask that as per the NSW Health Department guidelines, if you are showing any symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, sore throat, coughs, colds or similar symptoms, please stay at home and do not attend church at Castle Hill. Please get tested and treated ASAP and let the pastoral team know so we can keep you in our prayers—all information shared will be treated with confidentiality.
The COVID-19 pandemic in its present form will pass. One day we’ll look back on this time and see clearly how God has been with us—working in our midst for good. Knowing this, we can turn to Him today and ask Him to give us constant wisdom, compassion, and faith to make the right decisions for Castle Hill at this time.
We’re also excited to continue to offer the church service online every Sabbath at 11:00am. If you’re not able to join us at church, go to: castlehillsda.online.church
CHILD PROTECTION TRAINING
This Sabbath, February 13, we’re offering Child Protection Training for everyone involved with children. We’re responsible for the wellbeing and safety of our children. Please BYO lunch as the training starts at 1:00pm in the church hall. We value our children and want to make sure we do everything possible to protect ourselves and our children.
FIRST ADVENTURERS CLUB MEETING
The Adventurers club will have their first meeting on 20 February at 2:00pm.
Please check details via Adventurers webpage: http://castlehilladventurer.club
or leaders Chris and Lucy Engel - 0412760401
Please pray for our church community and continue to influence your world to advance God's kingdom on earth. We greatly appreciate your generosity, understanding and cooperation in these matters. We are here to help and serve. If you have questions or concerns, please make contact with me.
Yours—because of Jesus
Pastor Pablo Lillo
P.s I can’t wait to hear from you and see you all again soon!