Are you wondering what the latest changes to COVID restrictions mean for Brunswick Uniting?

August

Olive Way remains closed – NEW 28/7
Sometimes there are no good options. This is the dilemma we face as we emerge from lockdown 5.0. With a very uncertain situation regarding the virus, my wife Sharm’s impending surgery and need for home support (and hence my needing time off), we find ourselves in a bit of a bind when it comes to opening up Olive Way.

 It isn’t a particularly joyous decision to keep us closed whilst other places are opening up. I have missed the usual chats, banter, and friendship of our guests and the wonderful collegiality of our volunteers over this past lockdown. Life is just a bit less interesting without the warm and often exciting environment of Olive Way.

 So, with a heavy heart its looking like we’ll be closed until the 10th of August. Nonetheless I will use this time to gear us up to a grand re-opening on that date when we can warmly welcome people back. Stay tuned and hold tight folks.

Worship 1st August – NEW 27/7
Worship will be offered in person with a capacity limit of 80 people.  Please book to attend, check in on arrival and wear a mask during worship.

July

Worship 18th July – NEW 15/7
Worship will be offered by live-stream only on Sunday 18th July.  Sadly the Welcoming Ceremony has been postponed.
The Olive Way will be closed on Tuesday 20th July, please check again for confirmation that the program will be open as usual on Wednesday 21st July.

Worship 11th July – NEW 8/7
We are returning to pre-lockdown arrangements (ie 1 person per 2sqm) – no need to book, check in and mask wearing required.

Worship 4th July – NEW 1/7
Worship will be in person and via live stream.  We can have up to 80 people in the church. Please book using this link to register a place.

June

Olive Way – NEW 13/6
The Olive Way program will be open as usual on Tuesday 11:30am-1pm and Wednesday 10am-1pm.  The. Olive Arts program will be open on Wednesday 10am-noon.  Contact Peter Blair, Olive Way Pastor for more information, 0431 193 810

Worship next Sunday – NEW 13/6
Worship will be offered in person and on livestream on Sunday 20th June.  We are anticipating a cap on numbers, possibly 50.  In anticipation we have set up Trybooking again and will monitor and adjust the cap if neccesary.  Please book to attend worship in person.

Emerging from Lockdown – NEW 10/6
Our worship on Sunday 13th June will be pre-recorded.  Everyone is invited to join Ian for a post worship Zoom Chat at 11am.

The Church Council COVID Reference group is waiting for further guidance as we emerge from the two week lockdown.  We are anticipating that there will be a number limit for worship in the foreseeable future with the possible outcome of a return to using Trybooking for those who wish to attend worship in person.  Check here for details re worship on Sunday 20th June.

Peter Blair, Olive Way Pastor, is also waiting for further guidance re opening of the Olive Way.  Watch here for details over the next few days.  If opened we will return to the Main Hall.  Olive Arts will operate alongside the Olive Way if opened.

May

Responding to Lockdown – NEW 27/5
We hold our community in prayer as we enter into this seven day lockdown.
Here are some of the immediate changes for our congregation in regards to worship:

Sunday Worship
This week’s service will be pre-recorded. You can watch it live at 9:30 on Sunday morning or view the recording later.  Go to our YouTube Channel.  An invitation join Church Online will be included with the Saturday worship email.

Sunday Chat Returns
Jump onto Zoom with a cuppa to catch up with one another and respond to the themes of the service.
11:00 AM Sunday 30th May. Join Zoom Meeting

Annual General Meeting
The meeting is on our calendar for 6th June after worship.  If the lockdown is extended beyond 7 days we will look for another date.

Meetings and Gatherings
The church will be closed for the duration of the lockdown.  The Olive Way and Olive Arts program will be cancelled.  Scheduled meetings can go ahead on Zoom if appropriate or otherwise be rescheduled or cancelled.

Pastoral Care
If you or anyone you know is need of support please contact a member of the Compassion Team:  Ian 0438 547 842, Gwen 0413 047 938, Glenice 0414 319 649, Leanne 0449 912 092.

If you have any questions or concerns please contact Ian 0438 547 842.

Signing in – NEW 6/5 
Physical sign in sheets will no longer be available at worship since sign in using the QR code became mandatory as of April 23.  If you are unable to use the QR code one of our welcomers will be available to assist you with this important task.

Masks – NEW 6/5
We are continuing to follow health department recommendations by asking Sunday worshippers to wear masks in the church. This includes people who have been vaccinated as health authorities currently don’t have enough information from research to understand whether those vaccinated can pass the virus onto others.
We see this as an expression of our faith:

• to care for the most vulnerable among us, giving them a sense of safety so that all may feel included in our community.
• to give prophetic witness to ongoing healing
• to live out our love for creation
• this reflection by Ian explains these points in detail: https://youtu.be/5dMvQzHostk  

We will review this policy week by week as more people are getting vaccinated.

Morning Tea – NEW 6/5
We offered food with morning tea after worship on 2nd May.  Many thanks to Sheila and Jason.  Food is being served from tables set up alongside the windows.  Servers are hand santizing, wearing masks, serving food with tongs or gloved hands.  There was a buzz of joy and delight in the hall.  Thank you to all who offer this ministry of hospitality – providing and serving food, setting up and serving tea and coffee, cleaning up afterwards.  We would love to welcome more people to these rosters.  Contact Saide, saide.cameron@bigpond.com to offer.

April

Masks during worship – NEW 22/4
During worship on 18th April Ian offered Witnessing to the Body, a reflection on resurrection and mask wearing, focusing on Luke 24:36-49.

Morning Tea – NEW 22/4
We are delighted to be preparing for offering food during morning tea after worship.  The details are being worked on by the COVID safe reference group.  We will offer food for the first time on 2nd May.

March

Masks during worship – NEW 24/3
A number of people have asked whether the easing of restrictions this week means that we don’t have to wear masks in church any more. In the current low risk environment we have decided to give priority to fitting our whole congregation into the church rather than using an overflow space. This means that it is impossible for us to strictly maintain 1.5 metre social distancing during worship. The current restrictions still say that “facemarks must be worn at all times when social distancing cannot be maintained.” And while singing has been allowed in worship for months, the following recommendation still holds: “Singing and chanting in religious settings have been shown to spread the virus. It is best if face masks are worn by congregants when singing occurs.” It is on the basis of these two points that we are continuing to ask people to wear masks during worship at BUC.

Seating capacity & booking – NEW 24/3
The seating capacity for our worship space is now 160 provided everyone is signed in electronically.  If you physically sign in on arrival our welcomers will transfer your details to the Service Victoria site.  Also please note that we are no longer using Trybooking – all you need to do is come to worship.   See you soon.

Worship in March at Brunswick Uniting Church

Welcome to March.  In response to the recent easing of restrictions we have made some changes …

Sunday morning worship will be offered onsite and in person.  We need to continue to attend to a range of COVID safe requirements including

  • social distancing (updated) – the requirement to maintain 1.5 metres space between individuals or household groups remains in place and when this is not possible masks are to be worn.
  • seating (updated) – all pews are now open and available for use, the yellow dots remain in place as a guide for social distancing.
  • mask wearing (updated) – as the opening of all the pews will make it difficult to maintain 1.5 metres distancing, masks are required at all times unless you are leading parts of the worship or receiving Holy Communion
  • Note – A Household group may sit together.
  • hygiene – sanitiser is provided on entry and before Holy Communion, the worship space is thoroughly cleaned before and after worship

Morning Tea (new)

  • Tea and coffee will be provided after worship.  If you would like to assist with setting up and/or serving please contact Saide Cameron, 0407 096 743.
  • We are waiting for further advice before serving food however we will reintroduce it as soon as possible.

Live streaming worship

  • Our worship services will be livestreamed and recorded.
  • The services will be accessible via the BUC YouTube channel at 9:30am.
  • The regular worship email will also be sent out on Sunday afternoon with the link to the recorded service.

 Booking

Signing in

  • you will be asked to check in using the QR code or by signing in.
  • please download the Service Victoria App in preparation for using the QR code.

Overflow (updated)

  • The worship committee will continue to monitor the need for the overflow space in the Youth Hall.
  • Please let contact Saide, saide.cameron@bigpond.com if you would like to be a host in this space.  Details provided.

Feedback

  • The worship committee has been reflecting on our live stream broadcast noting the positives and challenges
  • We’d love to hear from people who have been joining worship by livestream. Please tell us why you are joining by live stream, what that felt like, what worked and how we can improve both in terms of technical issues, visual experience and engagement
  • Please email saide.cameron@bigpond.com with your comments.

Updates

February

Worship in February at Brunswick Uniting Church

 Welcome to February.  We will continue with many of the same processes for worship however there are a few new things to share.

Sunday morning worship will be offered onsite and in person.  We need to attend to a range of COVID safe requirements including

  • social distancing – keep 1.5 metres space between individuals or household groups.
  • To assist with this, every second pew has been roped off and yellow markers placed on the open pews 1.5 metres apart.
  • A Household group may sit together.
  • hygiene – sanitiser is provided on entry, the worship space is thoroughly cleaned before and after worship
  • mask wearing is required at all times unless you are leading parts of the worship or receiving Holy Communion

Live streaming worship

  • Our worship services will be livestreamed and recorded.
  • The services will be accessible via the BUC YouTube channel at 9:30am.
  • The regular worship email will also be sent out on Sunday afternoon with the link to the recorded service.

 Booking

Signing in

  • you will be asked to check in using the QR code or by signing in.
  • please download the Service Victoria App in preparation for using the QR code.
  • New – one of the sign in tables will be moved to the steps to assist with people movement before and during worship

Overflow (new)

  • We are currently limited to 80 people in the worship space.
  • The worship committee will therefore be hosting an overflow space in the Youth Hall.  We can welcome approximately 20 people into this space.  We look forward to sharing this space with you as we worship onsite alongside the main worship space.
  • Please let contact Saide, saide.cameron@bigpond.com if you would like to be a host in this space.  Details provided.

House church (new)

  • Another possibility for sharing worship is to invite people to your place to watch and participate in the livestream worship together and then share morning tea or lunch.

Feedback (new)

  • The worship committee reflected on the live stream worship offered during January noting the positives about this and the challenges experienced
  • We’d love to hear from people who have been joining worship by livestream
  • Please tell us why you are joining by live stream, what that felt like, what worked and how we can improve both in terms of technical issues, visual experience and engagement
  • Please email saide.cameron@bigpond.com with your comments.

Reconnecting

  • Morning Tea will not be provided at the moment.
  • Thankfully though we can stay, chat and catch up in the worship space and outside
  • New You may also like to join a regular group of worshippers at Café Marcella’s just up the road from the church for coffee & cake or maybe even lunch after worship.

Updates

Worship this week – 14th February

Dear Friends,
We hold our community in prayer as we enter into this snap lockdown.
Here are some of the immediate changes for our congregation in regards to worship:

Sunday Worship
This week’s service will be live-streamed. You can watch it live at 9:30 on Sunday morning or view the recording later.
Go to our YouTube Channel

Sunday Chat Returns
Jump onto Zoom with a cuppa to catch up with one another and respond to the themes of the service.
11:00 AM Sunday 14th February.  ZOOM Link

Ash Wednesday Service
Our planned Ash Wednesday service will now happen on Zoom.
A reflective time to enter into the season of Lent.
7:30 PM Wednesday 17th February
ZOOM Link

January

Worship in January (posted 31st December)

As we prepare to farewell 2020 the worship committee is delighted to be sharing our plans for worship in January.

Sunday morning worship will be offered onsite and in person.  Please register your intention to attend here.

We need to attend to a range of COVID safe requirements including

  • social distancing – keep 1.5 metres space between individuals or household groups.
  • To assist with this, every second pew has been roped off and yellow markers placed on the open pews 1.5 metres apart.
  • A Household group may sit together.
  • hygiene – sanitiser is provided on entry, the worship space is thoroughly cleaned before and after worship
  • mask wearing is required at all times unless you are leading parts of the worship or receiving Holy Communion

Signing in

  • you will be asked to check in using the QR code or by signing in.
  • please download the Service Victoria App in preparation for using the QR code.

Live streaming worship

  • Our worship services will be livestreamed and recorded.
  • The services will be accessible via the BUC YouTube channel at 9:30am.
  • The regular worship email will also be sent out on Sunday afternoon with the link to the recorded service.
  • The live stream is being offered as a trial – please provide any comments or feedback about the live stream to saide.cameron@bigond.com

Managing numbers

  • We can only welcome 80 people to the worship space.
  • Please register your intention to attend worship using Trybooking
  • If you arrive for worship and number limits are reached you will be encouraged to access and share the livestream using your personal devices, ie phone, tablet.
  • You may choose to:
    • sit with others in the chairs available in the hall
    • gather in the outdoor spaces
    • go to a local café
  • A welcomer will join and support those in the hall.
  • Don’t let this discourage you from coming! There will be a place for everyone – including visitors and those without access to technology. No one will be turned away, and we are all encouraged to work together to make this possible.

Reconnecting

  • Morning Tea will not be provided at the moment.
  • Thankfully though we can stay, chat and catch up with each other after these many long months apart.

Updates

  • Any changes to these arrangements will be advised by email, Facebook and on this page.

December

27th December
Worshipping on site
We worshipped together onsite on Christmas Day and we will continue to worship onsite on Sunday mornings at 9:30am.  However this is not yet a full return.  We need to attend to a range of COVID safe requirements including

  • social distancing – keep 1.5 metres space between individuals or a group of people.
  • Please sit where there is a yellow marker in the open (not roped off) pews
  • A Household group may sit together.
  • hygiene – sanitiser is provided on entry, the worship space is thoroughly cleaned before and after worship
  • mask wearing is required at all times unless you are leading parts of the worship

We can only welcome 80 people to the worship space

  • you will be asked to check in using the QR code or by signing in.
  • please download the Service Victoria App in preparation for using the QR code.

Morning Tea will not be provided, thankfully though we can stay, chat and catch up with each other after these many long months apart.  We will be trialing live streaming the service to support those who prefer to stay at home and possibly to provide an overflow into the hall.

Live-streaming worship
The roster for our return to worshipping together on site in January has been prepared and is available here.  We are interested in hearing from anyone who is available to join the laptop and sound system operator rosters.  There will be lots of support for these tasks alongside our trial of live-streaming worship.  All offers to join the laptop and sound system operator rosters are welcome as are expressions of interest to support the live-stream trial.  Please contact Saide, 0407 096 743 or saide.cameron@bigpond.com

13th December
Sunday Afternoons in December – 2pm In-Person Worship.
We are holding another Advent service in the church this Sunday 13th December at 2pm. It was great to be together last week and to know the joy of worshipping in person. Come and share the love! There is plenty of room despite physical distancing restrictions – please just let Ian know that you are coming (iferguson@icloud.com 0438 547 842) and spread the word!

When you come you will notice a number of changes:

  • You will need to sign in using a QR code or on the sign in sheets provided.
  • You will need to wear a mask.
  • You will need to sit and stand at least 1.5 metres away from anyone who is not part of your household. We are facilitating this by blocking off every second pew and by marking 1.5 metre intervals along each pew.
  • Initially all the music will be recorded. You are welcome to join in singing with your mask on.
  • There will be no afternoon tea, but you don’t need to hurry off – stay and chat while observing physical distance.

We will hold these 2pm services during December only. We plan to commence 9:30am in-person services in January. Stay tuned for our “Moving Towards COVID Normal” updates.

6th December
Sunday Afternoons in December – 2pm In-Person Worship. 
During December we invite you to come and worship in person at BUC, 2pm in the church worship space (we will be continuing our online worship offerings in the mornings). We have trialled these services over the past couple of weeks for those who haven’t been able to access our online offerings and this Sunday we are pleased to open the service to the whole congregation.

If you would like to come, please RSVP to Ian iferguson@icloud.com, 0438 547 842, by midday on Sunday – this will help us keep track of numbers. We are currently only allowed 80 people in our worship space.

When you come you will notice a number of changes:

  • You will need to sign in using a QR code or on the sign in sheets provided.
  • You will need to wear a mask.
  • You will need to sit and stand at least 1.5 metres away from anyone who is not part of your household. We are facilitating this by blocking off every second pew and by marking 1.5 metre intervals along each pew.
  • Initially all the music will be recorded. You are welcome to join in singing with your mask on.
  • There will be no afternoon tea, but you don’t need to hurry off – stay and chat while observing physical distance.
This is our plan for December only. We hope to commence 9:30am in-person services in January. Stay tuned for our “Moving Towards COVID Normal” updates. 

November

29th November
The COVID Reference Group continues to work with ministry groups and committees to study the changing government guidelines for religious gatherings.   Synod is assisting with advice for use of our halls for groups and activities. Groups that have been meeting on Zoom will continue to do so until the New Year, of course with the usual Summer holiday break. Watch out for information about some special pre-Christmas activities for the Olive Way and Children and Youth.
The Worship Committee is exploring options for worship services in the New Year, including a combination of in person and live streaming, overflow in the hall, or a second service time.  Attendance at our gatherings is limited by the physical distancing rules  for each of our rooms and spaces, which for the main worhsip space is 80 people. Committees and Group leaders will stay connected with their members, so you will be informed when your group is to start again.
Thank you to everyone for your patience. We are all looking forward to when we can meet in person once again.  If you have any questions or comments about moving towards COVID-normal please contact Helen Rowe on Email helen.rowe@rocketmail.com or Mobile 0423 009 813

24th November – COVID Reference group meeting
The COVID Reference Group is meeting on Tuesday 24th November.  If you have questions or concerns you would like the group to address please email Helen Rowe, helen.rowe@rocketmail.com

22nd November – Worship
As restrictions ease the worshipcommittee is providing opportunities togather for worship onsite.  This week’s service is by invitation only forpeople who have not been able toaccess our online services.  But in the weeks to come we will open up to more people. See weekly updates onthe website, Olive Press and Facebook.  Contact Ian Ferguson, 0438 547 842‬, for more information.

15th November – Worship
Your Church Council COVID Reference Group is supporting the Worship Committee to trial a small worship gathering at BUC in the next few weeks.  This will be by invitation only.  A number of friends in our worshipping community are without access to technology and have been unable to join the weekly Worship services on-line during lock-down restrictions. We hope this will be a small beginning to reconnecting in fellowship with each other as the restrictions are lifted.  We are working together to keep everyone safe.  Contact Ian Ferguson, 0438 547 842‬, for more information.

8th November
There is much to consider before we can safely re-open our buildings including restrictions on the number of people who can gather.  The Church Council COVID Reference Group monitors all government advice as it is issued and we are working with Synod to  implement appropriate safeguards. By taking a cautious approach within the guidelines the aim is ensure the health and safety of everyone.  Leaders of programs and groups are developing their COVIDSafe plans but for the foreseeable future groups using Zoom and other virtual options to stay connected will continue in this way.

We will keep you informed about the timing of any activities recommencing at  the BUC Sydney Road site. There are also some limitations for small groups and Committees that normally meet in homes.  Our Pastoral Care Team is available if you are seeking personal support at this time.  Contact Rev Ian Ferguson 0438 547 842‬ or Gwen Arnold 0413 047 938.

Please contact Helen Rowe if there are any questions about this message. Email helen.rowe@rocketmail.com or mobile 0423 009 813