In response to the recent announcement by the State President that religious gatherings will be permitted, our Synod has made the decision not to open our churches for services or gatherings until further notice.
Please see below a formal communication from our Synod Bishop in this regard.
Bearing in mind that many mass infections have occurred at church gatherings, it is prudent and responsible to err on the side of caution. This is not a lack of faith but a God given gift of reason and scientific sense.
We also have a majority of our congregation who are high risk or are connected with high risk persons. It is our task as Christ’s disciples to protect the vulnerable and to act justly.
We all miss our corporate worship and interaction but now is a wonderful opportunity to shift our focus from services to being the church in action and witness.
The church is and has not been closed but has been active and functioning. We have just not been having public gatherings. Worship, ministry, pastoral care and mission continue.
I will continue with the video streaming services on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/BergvlietMethodistChurch) and YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCt5aW2PctEXyA6GEi0B0hPw).
It is regrettable that some of our members do not have smartphones or social media access, Please inform me if this is the case and we will attempt to find a way of including them.
Thank you for your faithfulness and generosity in giving financially that sees us still making ends meet with the ability to offer financial support to those in need.
If you give only in the offering plate could I please suggest that you deposit your pledge into the church bank account. Our bank details are:
Methodist Church of Southern Africa – Bergvliet Society
First national Bank: Plumstead
Account number: 6218 039 9381
Branch code: 201109
I am available for counselling by appointment. Please do not hesitate to contact me on 0828231766 or email@example.com and I will do my best to assist where possible.
Thank you for your ongoing feedback, affirmation and support. I continue to offer my prayers for us all.
The Bishop’s letter follows.
Grace & Peace
28 May 2020
STATEMENT ON THE CAPE OF GOOD HOPE SYNOD RESPONSE TO THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE POSSIBLE OPENING OF CHURCHES FOR WORSHIP AND OUR CONNEXIONAL RESPONSE AS THE MCSA
Dear Members and Friends of the Cape of Good Hope Synod
I write to you in order to clarify the pastoral and practical response to the State Presidentâ€™s recent announcement that under the Level 3 Lockdown Regulations, religious gatherings will be allowed, provided they adhere to the strict protocols as prescribed by Government. This also takes into consideration the official statement of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa which was released yesterday evening, which reiterates our extreme caution in this matter, as we â€œrecognise the moral burden and responsibility of leadership as all levels of our Church i.e. Society, Circuit, Synod and Connexion.â€
The consultative Bishopâ€™s meeting which met on Thursday, 27 May, in recognising the diverse nature of our contexts within our Connexional family, resolved that Synods and Circuit leadership, in prayerful discernment, will make the decision as to â€œifâ€, â€œwhenâ€ and under what conditions, worship services may resume in our buildings. In addition, careful consideration needs to be given to the understanding of what it means to be regarded as Essential Services and the implications thereof for our clergy and greater prophetic, compassionate and pastoral ministry at this time.
I have met with our Synod Management team in order to prayerfully consider our response as a Cape of Good Synod, especially given the fact that the Cape has been identified as a hotspot, with the spike of infection expected to rise far quicker than other Provinces. This, together with the many other considerations that influence our loving, prophetic and pastoral response and this time, has led us to decide that the Cape of Good Hope Synod will not open our churches for services or gatherings from 1 June onwards, nor for the foreseeable future.
As a Management Team, we are committed to consult with an advisory team in order to thoroughly examine both the Government Regulations and the Guidelines, Norms and Standards of the SACC member Churches to Self-regulate to protect lives at worship, in order to engage with churches in terms of their capacity to conduct essential services, such as funerals, feeding schemes, etc. as well as any preparations that they will engage in, in order to prepare for a time when we may consider opening our churches for worship in the months ahead. We believe that this must be taken in a responsible manner and we will resist any attempts to rush into ministry at this time. We will consult with and update Circuit Superintendents on this matter as we prayerfully and carefully move forward. We recommend that Ministers and churches strengthen their alternative forms of worship such as virtual gatherings, teaching and preaching using the many means available to us, as well as continue the pastoral and practical care through creative ways that do not put people at any greater risk of spreading the virus.
I commend our Methodist people who have lovingly and sacrificially embraced a new reality of being the Body of Christ at this time. I, like many of you, long for many beautiful expressions of our life together as a Christian community, such as exuberant worship and dancing in Godâ€™s spirit, the loving embrace of sharing Godâ€™s peace and gathering at the Table of the Lord, fellowship and feasting together, but recognise that the time to do that is not now. As your spiritual leader and pastor, I implore you to accept this decision as our collective commitment to the adherence of our Methodist Rule of life of doing good, doing no harm, and staying in Love with God. I implore you to â€œpray without ceasingâ€ as we seek the discerning wisdom of Godâ€™s Spirit, so that our action as Christâ€™s disciples may be guided by His grace. I continue to uphold you and our extended family in prayer.
Yours in Christâ€™s Service
Rev Yvette Moses