Dear Church Family,

The Australian Government has activated an Emergency Response Plan for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. As of 13 March 2020, the ACT has one confirmed case of the virus and the Government has not issued specific advice for public gatherings less than 500 people. 

The Leadership Team of Southside Bible Church remains committed to meeting together as God’s people to encourage and spur one another on as we follow Jesus. However, we are putting in place some precautionary measures to make it as safe as possible and ease people’s concerns about gathering on Sunday mornings. This ensures we are doing our best to care for members of our church family and beyond – especially those who are most vulnerable to the virus.

Starting today, we will be implementing the following measures: 

·        If you have been in China, Iran, South Korea or Italy, you must self-isolate for a 14-day period after your return (also in line with Australian Government guidelines)

·        Everyone is encouraged to follow personal hygiene guidelines, including regularly washing your hands with soap and water, using a tissue and covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze and minimising physical contact

·        If you show symptoms of fever, dry cough or sore throat and have recently been overseas or have had contact with a confirmed case, you should self-  isolate and seek medical attention

Our regular weekend ministries are going ahead until further notice from ACT Health. Statistically, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems are the most vulnerable to serious harm from this virus. We are aware that we have vulnerable people in our church, and out of love and a desire to take precaution, during our gatherings, we will be taking the following precautions:

When You Arrive

·        Hand sanitiser will be available outside the entrance to church. Please make use of it

·        Please ensure personal hygiene procedures and avoid close contact with others such as handshakes or kissing

In Church

·        Bibles will be cleaned before each service

·        We encourage you to bring your own Bible if you have one, or use your phone

·        All pens have been removed for the time being, please bring your own

·        Musicians are encouraged to bring their own instruments or if sharing an instrument to wipe down after use

Kids and Youth

·        All youth and children will be asked to wash their hands at the start of their programs 

·        Hand sanitiser/ hand wash will be available outside the entrance to Youth Group, Solid Rock, Bible Kids and Bible Tots

·        Youth Group on Friday nights will serve individually packed food items and ensure safe food procedures 

·        All children and youth will be asked to bring their own water bottle.  There will be no access to cups

Café Time changes

·        We will only serve basic coffee and tea during café time. There will be no access to cups, so please bring your own reusable cups

·        We will not be serving food at this time

·        Please do not enter the kitchen unless you are serving in the café time team 

·        Please don’t share food with others at this time

We are eager to do our part to make sure our community stays safe and is cared for during this outbreak.  Please continue to pray for the health and safety of those in our church family and the wider community.  Please also pray for those in authority dealing with this challenging issue that requires great wisdom.

In all of this, let us not forget the comforting words of Psalm 46:1‘God is our refuge and strength,    an ever-present help in trouble.Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way’.

We are people of the Cross with the imperishable hope of eternal life. God is working all things, including the current situation, for his glory and for our good. So, let me encourage you not to stay away from meeting with others on Sundays at church and in our Fellowship & Discipleship Groups. This is an opportunity to show Christ-like love, service and concern for others. We need not be fearful, but neither should we be careless. So let us continue to express Christian love to one another and the community around us.

Your Brother in Christ, 

On behalf of the Leadership Team