Services have been suspended.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13.8), but things around us are changing rapidly. With the arrival of a COVID-19 pandemic, many familiar practices and patterns have already changed.
Our Archbishop Glenn Davies announced that in light of the “global catastrophe” of the pandemic, that “the Anglican Church in Sydney should suspend all public church gatherings until further notice”. He explains his reasoning, grounded in the greater good and especially in care for the vulnerable, in why he is going beyond the current government directive in suspending gatherings even smaller than 100 people. You can find his letter here: COVID-19_Letter_from_Archbishop_Davies.
There are a number of implications for St George’s, Paddington. First, it is clear that we will not be gathering this Sunday, or in the near future.
While our physical gatherings are suspended, our faith, hope and love in the Lord Jesus are not. Nor is our call to care for one another and those around us. These are crucial and non-negotiable, unable to be cancelled by disease, war, drought, flood or fire.
We intend to begin new forms of engagement from this Sunday but please be patient. We have already witnessed some ugly responses to uncertainty like fear-based greed and aggression. So many among us and around us are carrying burdens of anxiety, grief and confusion. We implore you to be gentle with one another as we find a way forward together.
Last Sunday I concluded my sermon with the following words. They are now the last words I will say to you in the church as your rector:
Our faith, hope and love in Jesus as the Saviour will almost certainly be tried and tested in the weeks and months ahead. Some of us are in the vulnerable category. But we do not lose heart. Why not? In life and in death, Jesus is Lord.
With the grace and peace of the Lord Jesus Christ,
with Jessica and Byron Smith