Coronavirus – COVID-19
Communications for churches during Coronavirus
The outbreak of COVID-19 means churches are having to rethink the way they worship, gather, and interact together. We have gathered together some options and resources to help keep your church connected online and to the community. We’ve put together a flow chart with some options for services and live streaming as well as a host of other resources.
Not sure what you need? Click Here for the Interactive flow chart, which may help you sort out a communications plan.
If churches want help with streaming, there are a number of people from our churches that have offered to can help with advice, solutions, software, AV packages including, installation and setup.
Churches/pastors can contact Mark Westhuyzen firstname.lastname@example.org and he can put them in touch with people who can help directly.
Access the full Resource List
- Click here to see "How to record your service" from Mark Westhuyzen (Director of Church Health Services) This is is a great resource for churches to quickly set up an online presence.
- Click Here for the Basic Live Streaming - An Introduction to Churches Document
- Click Here for Financial Support in Challenging times - Special COVID-19 Supplement from David Elvery (Director of Pastoral Services)
- QB Call to Prayer_April Meeting Details.
- 10 Ideas for Ministering in a Coronavirus World
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness caused by a new virus. Symptoms range from a mild cough to pneumonia, including fever, flu- like symptoms such as coughing and a sore throat, and shortness of breath. We have published the following communications from Queensland Baptists
6th April 2020 - Coronavirus Update - Queensland Baptists - 6th April 2020
1st April 2020 - Coronavirus Update - Queensland Baptists - 1st April 2020
30th March 2020 - Coronavirus Update 2 - Queensland Baptists - 30 March 2020
30th March 2020 - Coronavirus Update 1 - Queensland Baptists - 30 March 2020
25th March 2020 - Coronavirus Update - Queensland Baptists COVID 25 March 2020
24th March 2020 - Coronavirus Update - Queensland Baptists COVID_24 March 2020
23rd March 2020 - Coronavirus update - Queensland Baptists COVID_23 March 2020
12th March 2020 - Statement regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Click to view the statement
3rd March 2020 - Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response - Click to view the statement
QB Convention Leadership Day
Due to the Federal Government restrictions on gatherings of over 100 people, the Annual Assembly of The Baptist Union of Queensland needs to be postponed until further notice. It is a constitutional requirement that an annual assembly is held in each calendar year, so there will need to be a meeting at some point, but the timing of this will depend upon these restrictions on public gatherings. Certain business will need to be transacted by other means in order for QB to continue to function. The Board will review these issues at their meeting on 2nd April, and an announcement about how these matters will be processed shall be made once this has been worked through.
These are complex times – please continue to be praying for the many implications of these changes, and we shall update the Baptist community further as information comes to hand.
QB Convention Pastors and Spouses 2020
The Federal Government has announced restrictions on non-essential indoor gatherings of over 100 people. In light of this, the decision has been made to cancel our Annual Convention (Pastors and Spouses Conference) planned for April. Further advice for those who have already registered for Convention will be forthcoming. We apologize for any inconvenience that this has caused.
The Annual QB Y&YA Pastors & Leaders Retreat
The QB Y&YA Pastors & Leaders Retreat has been POSTPONED (not cancelled). We have decided to postpone this event due to the possible spread of COVID-19.
This is an attempt for us to lower our risk of spread and wasn't an easy decision to make as the team and I highly enjoy and anticipate this time together. At times like this, it is important to exercise faith and action. Let us err on the side of caution as we are mandated by Christ to care for the vulnerable as well as the able.
This might just be what faith looks like in these times. We will assess our options Re: new dates etc. in due course and will notify you once we have determined our plan for retreat.
Thank you for your understanding.
QBY&YA Team Leader
For constituents who have mission trips planned for 2020, we strongly encourage you to rethink your plans and postpone your travel in this current climate. In cases where there may be no cover for cancellation, it is important to note that the costs of continuing your trip and having members of your team quarantined and requiring medical assistance while overseas, could be far greater than associated cancellation costs. Should you still decide to travel, you will need to call TravelCard direct to confirm cover - failure to do so prior to travel may negate cover.
As the Coronavirus is now a 'known event' in insurance terms, in many cases, there is no cover. Please read the document attached for further information. It is also important to bear in mind the duty of care Baptist churches and organisations have regarding their members and staff.
Queensland Baptists – COVID – 19 Update 1 April 2020
Frequently Asked Questions
Can we record at or livestream from our church?
Under the Non-Essential Business Closure Direction from the QLD Chief Health Officer, QB Baptist churches as places of worship have been significantly restricted in how we can now operate, with exclusions only pertaining only to weddings and funerals.
No.4 of this Direction issued today 1 April has seen the following update, providing some clarity around online activity.
Part 1 (7) A person who owns, controls or operates a non-essential business, activity or undertaking may continue to do so online or through the internet, unless stated otherwise in Column 1 of the Definitions table at paragraph 8.
In the Definitions table (here), no exceptions currently exist for places of worship in relation to this additional provision – meaning churches can operate online (stream/record content).
Our understanding of whether or not this can be done from the church property is determined in accordance with the Home Confinement Direction which prohibits the following:
- persons from leaving their residence except for permitted purposes; and
- groups of more than two persons who are not members of the same household from gathering in any place except for permitted purposes.
The permitted purposes that is of specific relevance here is:
“to perform work on behalf of an employer that is engaged in an essential business, activity or undertaking, and the work to be performed is of a nature that cannot reasonably be performed from the person’s principal place of residence;”
Based on this we recommend only church employees be involved in streaming/recording, that it be limited to 2 employees (maintaining social distancing requirements) and where it cannot possibly be performed from a private residence.
Can we do other work from our church office?
Based on our understanding of the QLD Health Home Confinement Direction, we consider that churches can have employees performing duties where the work to be performed is of a nature that cannot reasonably be performed from the person’s principal place of residence;” AND where the 2 person limit and social distancing requirements to apply.
This is very much a grey area when considered against the Non-Essential Business Closure Direction that defines churches as non-essential businesses (only permitted to operate in accordance with the current wedding and funeral exclusions). As such we expect this will be addressed in further advice from the National Cabinet and/or The QLD Chief Health Officer in coming days.
We will continue to do our best to provide guidance to our churches and will be continuing to pray that we as a body be strengthened for love in action during these changing times, just as Romans 12:11-13 calls us to: “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the LORD. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the LORD's people who are in need. Practice hospitality”.
Queensland Baptists – COVID – 19 Update 24 March 2020
School is still open, so is it ok to run youth group?
Running youth group as an activity on church property is captured under the non-essential business directive. Some churches are thinking through ways of how to modify this ministry to maintain fellowship and discipling. For some this looks like recording podcasts, streaming kids worship services and issuing study tools.
We have a wedding booked for this weekend, can we do it outside?
Under the restrictions to facilities of the non-essential business directive from QLD health, we see weddings captured. These measures also apply to outdoor spaces associated with our venues. Churches who choose to move weddings to offsite locations need to consider how they will still meet the restrictions outlined in Part 1 Section 9 of the directive on mass gatherings and adhere social distancing requirements and recommended hygiene practices.
Can we keep having our usual prayer meetings at the church property?
Churches would need to consider this carefully and be able to maintain only very small groups of 2 with 1 person per 4 square metres. Some churches are choosing to continue running regularly prayer meetings via phone/video conferencing. For the purposes of contact tracing in the event of a confirmed case of COVID - 19, churches should consider ways to a record attendance at such very small gatherings.
We have been streaming our services, but that involves using our church. Are we still allowed to use the church building for this?
Production and/or worship teams that are required to facilitate live streams/recording of services also need to abide by the latest restrictions, more specifically to have only very small groups and where the 1 person per 4 square metre rule applies
Can we keep running our OP Shop?
“Retail” stores are not captured in the latest restrictions, and so churches that operate these would need to ensure they continue with the previous recommendations in relation to social distancing and good hygiene.
What about our home group ministries?
With the ambiguity in the latest restrictions from a National and a State level, we encourage churches to implement new virtual meeting arrangements, using platforms such as Skype or Zoom for small groups to connect with one another from the comfort of their own homes.
Can we continue our normal pastoral care services?
Depending on the nature of the pastoral care, churches would need to ensure they continue with the previous recommendations in relation to social distancing and good hygiene, and also where the 1 person per 4 square metre rule applies.
Can we hold Easter services?
We don’t expect to see the current restrictions lifted in time for Easter, and we note that the National Cabinet will be considering further Stage 2 restrictions if social distancing measure are not adhered to. Many churches are coming up with amazing ways to share the Good News at Easter. One Pastor wrote to us suggesting that we all place a cross on our front lawns on Good Friday and a sign declaring Christ is risen on Sunday. Such great innovation coming out of necessity!
Can we do church outside?
Under the latest restrictions, church buildings are considered as facilities that are no longer able to open from midday 23 March 2020. This restriction applies to outdoor spaces associated with your facilities.
What about church giving?
We encourage churches to be promoting options for electronic giving. Baplink can assist with setting up individuals with this.
What about copyright if we are live streaming?
Under Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI) live streaming is permitted. If churches wanted to save their stream for later viewing, they would need to remove the worship section or be holders of an APRA Performing Licence. Please see CCLI for FAQ in relation to licensing.
What about weekly meetings booked in our church hall?
As a non-essential business, the restrictions that came into effect 23 March 2020 capture our churches as facilities will be restricted from opening. We recommend that churches comply with this even in relation external hire of their venue.
What cleaning recommendations should we follow?
We recommend referring to health authorities as information changes regularly. The latest from the Department of Health can be found here
Can church staff still work at the church office?
It is our interpretation that employees of the church can still perform their office based duties at the church office and that any workplace recommendations would apply, as well as previous recommendations in relation to social distancing and good hygiene, and also where the 1 person per 4 square metre rule applies.
The current crisis is obviously causing a lot of social and economic upheaval, not to mention the business closures and job loses that are putting stress and strain on so many. We have put together devotions and prayer guides to encourage you, your church and community.
News relating to the QB Movement
Partnering together to help Australian Baptists share Jesus – Crossover Easter Offering 2019 For over thirty years Baptist Churches across Australia have been taking up a special offering at Easter for the work of evangelism, through the ministry of Crossover. Crossover is Australian Baptist Ministries’ agent for helping pastors equip people in the local Baptist church to creatively share the good news of Jesus, as they demonstrate Christ’s love in community.
We greatly appreciate your ongoing partnership with us through the Easter Offering. As this is Crossover’s only source of funding, it is vital to us as a movement to facilitate and support church leaders as you equip your congregations for mission.
The Values Project from Australian Baptist Ministries (ABM) is designed to help organisations, churches and groups reflect, talk and learn about our identity and values as communities of faith within the Australian Baptist movement. As we are reminded of the values that underpin the historical and cultural backbone of our movement, we reflect on how these values impact our attitudes, practices and decisions in our unique contexts. The Values Project strengthens our sense of identity, encourages connected-ness and community across our movement, and informs decision making and leadership.
Watch the first video below and view all resources, videos and downloads at The Values Project
On 15 December 2017 the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse presented a final report to the Governor General, detailing the culmination of a five year inquiry into institutional responses to child sexual abuse and related matters. There are 27 recommendations made by the Royal Commission that relate specifically to religious institutions to ensure the safety of children now and into the future.
The establishment of a National Redress Scheme was one of the major recommendations of the Commission. The National Redress Scheme has been seen as critically important to acknowledging the horrific experiences of child sexual abuse that people experienced in institutions that were entrusted with their care and protection.
Over the past decade, the Board of Queensland Baptists (QB) has conducted twelve reviews of various aspects of the denomination’s work. Reviews are a very valuable tool in renewing and developing the work of any ministry. Aware that the QB constitution requires a review of QB every five years, the Board decided to increase the scope of the evaluation within the Future’s group and conduct a wider review of QB. The desired outcome of the Review is that it will provide important information and recommendations which the QB Board can include in its strategic planning process.
A number of churches have enquired as to how they can assist in giving to those communities affected by the severe drought that has impacted a large part of Western Queensland. QB are not managing any appeal funds as such. After some feedback and consultation with those on the ground, we have the following suggestions for you to consider in directing your giving. These groups are engaged directly with the community and are seeking not just to provide physical support but also emotional and counselling support to drought affected families.
We have been confronted by disturbing images of suffering associated with the massive bushfires in New South Wales and Victoria over the Christmas period, including the emergency evacuation of Mallacoota by sea. Naturally we want to respond to this situation and encourage those who are ministering in the area. There have been some enquiries as to whether QB is going to be setting up a bushfire appeal. At this stage we are not planning to do so, but we are encouraging everyone to support the appeals being operated by our fellow state Unions in the most affected states.
The Baptist Union of Victoria (BUV) has opened a tax deductive appeal to assist those in need. Quoting from their website: “The bushfires in East Gippsland are causing unspeakable heartache, massive devastation and huge loss of livestock. Our hearts go out to all the families who have experienced loss or are in affected areas and our prayers are with them. This is a time for all our Baptist family to stand together to help those in need". "In addition to the significant threat to homes and lives, farmers in these bushfire stricken areas who are already experiencing extreme hardship due to the drought are now under additional pressure with livestock in grave danger. A couple of our churches (Lakes Entrance, Corryong) have already taken the initiative to provide free hay to farmers to feed their livestock. The BUV is partnering with our churches with this effort and we need your help". Donations to the BUV Bushfire Appeal are tax deductible.
We will manage the disbursement of funds towards free hay and other relief efforts. As events unfold in coming weeks, there may be other ways we can help and so we implore you to prayerfully join us in our Bushfire relief efforts.
Donations may be made either on-line or at any Westpac branch into the following account: Name: Baptist Union of Victoria BSB: 704-922 Account: 100008417 - Please clearly designate “Bushfire Appeal”
The Baptist Union of New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory has also opened an appeal. Quoting from their web site: “Parts of Australia are experiencing unprecedented bushfire activity and central to many of these communities are Baptist Churches and ministries. These churches are supporting many people from their churches and the community pastorally and practically even in the midst of their own loss, grief and distress". "The Disaster Relief and Recovery Campaign has been established by the Baptist Association of Churches to support work in disaster impacted communities through direct support to victims, church grants to support the work of the local church in affected communities and partnership programs aimed to compliment the already excellent work done by aid organisations on the ground".
Your donation helps Baptist Churches give people the support they need in disasters, whenever and wherever they happen. It also helps in the recovery phase with support for those who have to get their lives back on track over time.
The fund equips local churches to show the love of Christ to those in need and for our movement to practically demonstrate our collective love for those impacted by tragedy and emergency. Donations may be made through the web site set up specifically for this matter with Baptist Financial Services Donations made to this appeal are tax deductible.
Registered Pastor Stewart Beveridge is heading up the Samaritans Purse Rapid Response team whose role is to swing into action with practical assistance on matters whenever a disaster strikes. The churches in Townsville speak very positively of this group’s practical response in the immediate aftermath of the flood crisis in their city in February last year. Quoting from their web site:
One town in Northern NSW, Killabahk, had bushfires that have now dissipated but the task of rebuilding homes and lives has only just begun. Over 40 Samaritan’s Purse volunteers joined together there to work on multiple properties that had been impacted by the fires in the region in December. The volunteers worked in sweltering heat, using chainsaws to chop up fallen trees, removing sheet metal from homes, shovelling ash, and more.
On one property, Samaritan’s Purse volunteers shovelled the ash of what was once a man’s home. He had been living alone and he was still very emotional as he shared that he had just lost the home that he had built with his own hands and raised his daughter in. Our volunteers were caring and supportive as they worked with him to help him come to terms with the loss. To donate to support their work, please Click Here to Donate There is also the opportunity to volunteer to join future deployments with Samaritan’s Purse. If this is of interest, please click here.
Statements and Community Issues
We believe that ethically human life begins at conception, and that each human life bears the image of God, so should not be ended through any human intervention. We recognise that in rare instances the mother’s life is in such danger that the continuation of a pregnancy would result in the death of both mother and child, and that only in such circumstances is it ethical to terminate the pregnancy. We believe God has a particular care for the most vulnerable in our society, and that this includes unborn children. The Queensland Baptists (QB) board submitted a statement to the Queensland Parliament on the Law Reform Commission’s Report on termination of pregnancy laws, tabled in Parliament on 16 July 2018.
Pastors and churches regularly deal with the practicalities of end of life care, visiting those who are dying and spending time with loved ones after the death to arrange funerals which celebrate the life of the deceased. The care arm of Queensland Baptists, Carinity, makes a significant contribution to aged care in this state. Click the link below to view the QB response to the Parliament enquiry into Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD)
- QB Submission to the Queensland Parliament’s “Inquiry into aged care, end-of-life and palliative care and voluntary assisted dying”
- Article on Voluntary Assisted Dying
A bill has been introduced into our Federal Parliament proposing amendments to the federal Sex Discrimination Act. These have come in response to the leaked recommendations of the Ruddock Review into Religious Freedom. On the face of it, the bill has the commendable aim of preventing religious schools from expelling students only on the basis of their personal sexual orientation. In practice our religious schools do not seek to discriminate in this way anyway. However, in effect (perhaps unintentionally) the proposed bill goes further than this.
What can we do?
1. Commit this matter to prayer, particularly over the next few days as the bill is debated in the Senate on Monday (today) and following this, in the Lower House.
2. Contact your local Federal MP early in the week and calmly raise these concerns with them. Remember they will be in their parliament house offices in Canberra. Highlight that we agree that a student should not be expelled from school purely for their personal sexual orientation. Our concern is the possible wider implications for religious freedoms discussed above which, though perhaps unintended, are nevertheless real and incompatible with a free, just, tolerant, pluralistic society.
Find your local MP Here: https://www.qld.gov.au/about/contact-government/contacts/local-mp
- 23 March 2020 – Temporary Suspension Of Religious Instruction from Queensland State Schools
- 1st March 2019 – Statement of Stewart Pieper 010319 – National Redress Scheme
- 7th September 2018 – Statement of Stewart Pieper 070918
- 6th July 2018 – Pastor Logan Robertson and Pillar Church
- 12th March 2020 – Queensland Baptists Statement regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- 3rd March 2020 – Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response
- 18th March 2019 – Response to Christchurch Shootings from Australian Baptist Ministries
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