On behalf of the Pastoral team and the Ministry Reference group, we want to thank each and every member of the Box Hill Baptist community for the efforts that you have gone through to ensure that we are all kept safe, included and cared for through this uniquely difficult time. It is that spirit of care and concern from and for all that makes this such a cherished community. 

With the increasing information and guidance that is being given to us about the COVID-19 pandemic, both by our governments and the Baptist Union, for the safety and wellbeing of all in our community we have been required to make some challenging decisions in the last week. 
Sunday Services
Services being held at Box Hill Baptist will temporarily cease from this point. As such, there will be no service on or after the 22nd of March.

While it is still legally acceptable to meet indoors with less than 100 people, the best advice to minimise the impact and spread of COVID-19 is to avoid social interaction wherever possible. As such, out of love for our community and the broader society, we are compelled to cease gathering until such a time as it is considered safe to do so. 

There will be some members attending the church this Sunday to support any people who are not aware of this and turn up – and we would appreciate your assistance in sharing this information with anybody who might not receive these emails. 

For this Sunday we are preparing some video material which we will make available to you Sunday morning at 10am via the church’s Facebook page, website and via email. We encourage you to check in, make some comments, share how you are faring with others in the community, and see how we can continue to love and serve each other. 
And after that?
We are still examining how we will continue to support each other and ‘gather’ as a church whilst staying safe in this time. The Ministry Reference Group has met a number of times this week and is considering a range of approaches. However, with the rapidly changing situation and advice we aren’t committing to any specific plan at this point. 

We will provide more information early next week about what church will be for the next 6-8 weeks at least. There are however some things we are putting in place that we can inform you about and support you with now:

1. Weekly inspiration and updates

There will be a range of material coming your way, both in video and written format, which will both keep you informed about any upcoming activities, and enrich you with messages, reflections and inspiration from Jim (and others!). So if you or anyone you know are not already on the church’s email list, make sure you let Eddie know or email office@boxhillbaptist.org.au so you don’t miss out.

We also encourage you to become a part of the church’s Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/boxhillbc so that we can continue to share our joys, challenges and needs, and find new ways to love and serve each other.

2. Staying in touch

We are conscious that in the days ahead there will be those in our community who are directly impacted by the coronavirus. You may yourself develop the virus or, as a precaution against infection, you may need to self-isolate for a period of time.  If this is the case, please know that we are here to help in any way we can. 

There will be the capacity amongst our community for people to assist in the purchasing of groceries and delivering them where needed, to bring meals or to run errands for you. A request for assistance, no matter how small, is never an intrusion but a means through which we can care for each other. 

If we can be of support, you can give Jim a call at any time on 0425 462 277 or send him an email. And if you would like to participate in assisting and caring for others through the next months, please let Jim or Kath know.  

3. Contributing to the Offering

This is a financially difficult time for all of us, with many in our society and our immediate community losing work, having additional expenses, and being concerned for the future. We understand that in this time your ability to contribute to the church’s ministry may change and want to support you in those decisions. However, for those who are still able and keen to support the work of the church as we seek God’s purpose for us in this crisis, we would greatly appreciate that. 

Electronic options for the offering are available, so if you wish to take up these options please contact the office at office@boxhillbaptist.org.au and we can help you organise that. 

4. Church Office

The physical church office will be closed for at least the next 6 weeks, however emails and phone calls will continue to be responded to, so we’re still ‘open’ for business. If you have an essential need to access to the church buildings over this period please let Eddie know and he can assist with those arrangements. 

Our heartfelt thanks again for your support of each other, the Pastoral team, and the MRG, and we look forward to continuing to share love and joy through these difficult times.

May we know God’s presence and grace in new and surprising ways.