19 MARCH 2020 

Dear Church, 

At this very interesting time in history, we wanted to take a moment to keep you updated about everything we are working on and inform you about our strategy moving forward as a church.

As the impacts of COVID-19 continue to grow, the government has evolved it's ‘mass gathering’ bans across the nation. Because the health and safety of our church is incredible important to us and so that we can adequately comply with our governments recommendations, 
we have made the decision to suspend all services across our church until further notice. (This includes our Youth Service held every Friday at 7PM, and our Sunday Services held at 10AM and 5PM weekly).

Although this situation has become an obstacle for some, we are seeing this as an opportunity for us. The format of church may change - but the mission hasn’t. We need to continue to preach the gospel, make disciples and build community wherever we are and however we can. For this reason we are very excited to announce to you, for the first time ever, that we will be launching - 

Petersham Online will be the main tool that we will use as a church to stay connected, build community and encounter God. The primary platform we will be using to do this will be our main church website (www.petershamaog.org.au). This is where you will go view our online services and stay connected to our community. It's important for us to recognise that the presence of God is not limited to a building - God can and will use anything to reach His people. So we are believing for more people than ever before to hear the gospel, receive healing, encounter Jesus, find community and discover the calling on their life. 

There are a few key things that we will be launching through our new online ministry which we will outline below:

Sunday connect will be a new format for how we do both church and connect group. Every Sunday at 10AM and 5PM we will be broadcasting our online service through our website. We will be encouraging all of our connect groups to gather together in smaller sizes in homes, cafes and other spaces and watch the online service together. Although we cannot meet in a large group, we want to continue to build community - this is essential to the life of our church, so it is important to do whatever you can to build community wherever you are. If you are unable to make either of these times, our online service will be available from Monday that week on our website. 

Although we may be unable to get to church. CHURCH WILL NOW GET TO YOU. Wherever you are and however you meet - you can still have church. This is a very exciting time, and our team have been working very hard to make church accessible to everyone in our community.

Note: please remember that if you are not well, please think of your health and the health of others and make a decision to stay at home and self-isolate until you are cleared by a medical professional to do otherwise.

In addition to our main service broadcasts each Sunday, we will be also uploading a Kids Service, specifically designed to engage and connect with our kids ministry across our church. It will be a fun, short and engaging service that will be available from 12AM every Sunday morning and can be played back at anytime for our children. As important as it is to have our adults and young people connected across the church, we love our Kids Ministry and we want them to love and lean into the church as well. We have heard many stories of young people making decision to follow Jesus, and we are believing that many more will come to him through our Kids connect. 

As the physical presence of a live service have changed, the opportunity to give and partner with the church has had to change also. We currently only have 2 primary giving options; either physically in a service (cash or credit card) or through direct debit online. We will be adding another option for people to give and that will be online giving. Online giving allows anyone to give through both debit AND credit options, as well as set up automatic deductions to save you time and prioritise your giving. 

At this stage, a large portion of our giving has been through our live service, and we want to take a moment to encourage you with a couple of things; firstly, If you don't give, we want to encourage you to consider giving and partnering with your church to extend the gospel. Giving is such an important part of what we believe and also what it means to be a part of our greater community. Secondly, if your primary form of giving is through a live service, can we encourage you to move your giving across to an online option. Not only will this make it easier for you, but it will also make our administrative processes easier as well.

Generosity is not just what we do - it is who we are. We need to remember that as we have so freely received, we should also so freely give. Giving is more than an act of physical sacrifice, it is an attitude of the heart. So whether its an online transfer or an automatic deduction - whatever the method, let us continue to be a generous church and as you invest into this house, we know it will help us continue to reach more people with the message and hope of Jesus.  

Pastoral care matters to us. Although our ability to meet with each other, lay hands on each other and pray for one another has changed, we want to do everything we can to stand with you, pray for you and support you however we can. We will be opening up a hotline that you can call whenever you want during business hours (AEST time) and also text 24 hours a day - 7 days a week. Our team will be available to pray with you for whatever need you may have or whatever you may be going through. Simply dial or text 0404 945 115 or jump onto our website and fill in a prayer request and our team will respond as quickly as possible to pray for your need. 

Throughout history, the church has been the most resilient organisation and community. Through the struggles of poverty - the church has grown, through the pains of persecution - the church has grown, through famine and war - the church has grown. In Matthew 16 , Jesus reminds us that HE will build HIS church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it. There is no virus or sickness that can shut down the bride of Christ, and we are believing that the best days for our church are ahead of us. So as we take PETERSHAM ONLINE, let's stand together in this new season and let's allow our church to continue to stand tall in our city and move forward into everything that we are called to be. 

Ps. Jason Mendis
Executive Pastor 

We all go through different seasons in life, while some are great, others can be really challenging. God gives us a means to change situations and provide comfort by the power of prayer.

If you have a question, prayer request or a testimony? Please fill out the form below