Firstly, thanks for your continued support for Sarah, Charlotte, and myself. We’ve now enjoyed our final meal from the dinner roster you formed for us—what an incredible support that has been. In fact, given the quality of your cooking we’ve decided to keep the roster going on a permanent basis. Just kidding! Our sincere thanks.

Secondly, what a buzz it was to have more than 30 people come along to the first Grow Night on Tuesday! The café was packed with a range of people, and we enjoyed animated conversation about the topic, “Why was Jesus born?” Next week we’re asking, “Why did Jesus live?” It’s not too late to join the fun!

And thirdly, like many of you I’ve been keeping a close eye on news around the world about the Covid-19 virus. Behind the scenes, we’ve been working in collaboration with the Baptist Union of New Zealand to form policies to guide our response as and when the impacts are felt closer to our area. We are paying close attention to what the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation are recommending for our response. Here’s three things to be aware of:

1. Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield is advising that people should not go to work or public places if they are sick, even mildly so. He said self-isolation was one of the most important tools New Zealand had to contain the virus. In light of that, can I please encourage you that if you are feeling mildly sick to stay at home and contact us by phone. Let’s do our best to protect one another by taking safe precautions.

2. On Sunday we’ll interrupt our Lord’s Supper series to consider our response to this virus and to instances of wide-spread suffering generally—what does the good news of Jesus have to say to such a time as this? As you’re aware, Sunday will be the one-year anniversary of the mosque shootings. Let’s seek the Lord’s wisdom and hope together.

3. We are also beginning to work out a plan for how we will function if, as is happening in parts of the world, we need to practice self-isolation on a large scale (e.g., how to continue our gatherings online, how to continue pastorally caring for one another, and particularly for those who are most vulnerable). We’ll keep you posted as and when necessary. In the meantime, please make sure your contact details at church are up to date, and encourage others to do likewise.

Thanks for continuing to pray:
for our church community, that we might be a faithful witness to Christ and the hope of his gospel in our communities;
for our nation’s leaders, that they will continue to lead sensibly and with concern for our most vulnerable;
for our world, that day will follow night, and that fear will make way for love and mutual self-concern.

Nāku nā,
Elliot Rice
Co-Senior Pastor