Leadership Statement - 27 May  2020

Dear Lighthouse Family

The NZ Government announced on Monday 25 May that the gatherings of up to 100 people (a social gathering) will be permitted under Alert Level 2 from 12pm on Friday 29 May. This change, along with the rules that apply to social gatherings, are set out in the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Alert Level 2) Amendment Order 2020 (Amended Order), which was passed into law today.

Under the Amended Order, a social gathering (which includes faith-based gatherings) of up to 100 people in a defined space is permitted. No social distancing is required between people attending the same social gathering. However, contact tracing measures are required.

A building can have more than one defined space if there are systems and processes in operation to ensure, to the greatest extent practicable, that each social gathering in a defined space does not intermingle at a distance of closer than 2 meters with other persons using, entering or leaving the building.

What does this mean for Lighthouse, and in particular our 9am service?

It means that we can hold one 9am service for the usual number of attendees we get on a Sunday morning, as well as fully resume kids church/Sunday school and youth meeting after the service! Praise the Lord!

We can do this because we are able to create the necessary defined spaces within our church premises, we have put in place systems and processes to avoid intermingling of different social gatherings attending church at the same time, and we have good contract tracing measures. We comply with both the spirit and letter of the law in order to create a safe environment for you to freely worship in.

For those who feel it necessary for them to continue to avoid larger groupings of people, live streaming of the service will continue to be available through our church website. However we will no longer hold a Zoom meeting after the Sunday service.

It’s Pentecost this Sunday. Come join us to experience the move of the Holy Spirit once again – live in Lighthouse.

God bless, see you soon.

Jeffrey Lai
Lead Elder
Get up, keep going, finish strong

Reference site for Amended Order:
http://www.legislation.govt.nz/…/2…/0097/8.0/LMS350875.html…

Leadership Statement - 22 May  2020

Dear Lighthouse Family

Many people have been confused by what appears to be conflicting statements between the government’s daily health briefings and the New Zealand Police guidelines regarding whether church services are permitted under Alert Level 2. This confusion arises as a result of a misunderstanding as to what a “gathering” is.

The term “gathering” has a specific legal meaning given to it under the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Alert Level 2) Order 2020 (Order), which sets out the law that applies under Alert Level 2.

The Order clearly states that a gathering is a group of people who are intermingling, whether publicly or privately. In short. there is no social distancing between people in that group. Gatherings of over 10 people are not permitted. Gatherings of 10 or less people are permitted.

The Order also clearly states activities that are not considered to be gatherings. Any activity undertaken by a business or service in compliance with the Order is not a gathering. The operational policing guidelines put out by the New Zealand Police on 20 May 2020 confirm that a church service that complies with the Order is not considered a gathering and therefore permitted.

The relevant requirements that apply are:

• keeping a 2 meter separation between groups of up to 10 people in each group;
• having contract tracing measures in place; and
• not permitting intermingling between the separate groups after the service.

Lighthouse is able to fully comply with these requirements for our 9am service. We are able to do so in a way which satisfies both the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. We are able to both obey the government and the laws of the land as well as assemble in person as a church.

Please note that we are only having one service at 9am. There is no second service.

We trust that this clears up any confusion you may have. Please feel free to contact me if you wish to discuss further.

God bless us all.

Jeffrey Lai
Lead Elder
Get up, keep going, finish strong

Reference sites:
https://www.police.govt.nz/…/covid-19-places-of-worship-gui…
http://legislation.govt.nz/…/2020/0084/latest/LMS345237.html

Leadership Statement - 14 May  2020

Dear Lighthouse Family

We trust that you have had a great first day of Alert Level 2, with some of the renewed civil freedoms that this brings. We give thanks to God for the third straight day of no new COVID-19 cases. Praise the Lord!

Unfortunately, our current Government has failed to recognise the importance and benefits to society of religious freedom and expressions of worship under Alert Level 2. We are disappointed that in-person church services of 100 or less are not allowed when other secular activities that pose an arguably greater health risk are allowed to commence. We pray for this unfair position is reversed quickly.

In the meantime, what does this mean for Lighthouse?

For this coming Sunday (17 May), we will conduct our 9am service in the same manner as we have been doing for the past weeks i.e. a pre-recorded broadcast service at 9am followed by a Zoom call for communion, prayer and fellowship.

We are working towards a live webcast at 9am on the following Sunday (24 May). By God’s grace, we will webcast the service live from our church premises. Assuming there is no change to the 10 persons limit on gatherings, only the team that is involved in producing the live webcast will be present. All members will watch the live webcast from their homes. A Zoom meeting will be held after the live webcast ends.

Testing of our live webcast capabilities will be undertaken this coming weekend. Let’s pray for the technical and worship teams as they prepare to bring us an even more Lighthouse flavoured Sunday service in the coming weeks!

When we are able to move to in-person church services of up to 100 people, we will hold two services – one at 9am for families with Kids’ Church aged children and one at 10.30am for those with youth aged young adults. A live webcast will be streamed at 9am for those unable to attend either service. Kids’ church and youth meetings will recommence.

Finally, we encourage everyone to continue to fervently pray for the elimination of COVID-19 in New Zealand and all restrictions caused by it to be fully lifted, so that the full expression of our Lighthouse community is restored to us.

God bless us all.

Jeffrey Lai
Lead Elder

Get up, keep going, finish strong

Leadership Statement - 01 May  2020

 Dear Lighthouse Family

 

We are now out of lockdown and in the waiting room of Alert Level 3. Praise the Lord!

 

In the past five weeks, Lighthouse has not only survived but innovated and thrived, with our 9am online broadcast service and Zoom corporate gathering for fellowship, communion and prayer. Life groups have continued virtually. We kept our spiritual posture (2 Timothy 1:7) and followed our guiding principles of obey and assemble.

 

Yes, it’s been difficult at times but well done everyone for doing your part to help keep our church community going. We especially want to thank Michelle, William, Daniel and the rest of the delivery team for making our online content, Zoom gatherings, social media posts and email and txt updates possible. Great work, guys!

 

At Alert Level 3, Lighthouse will continue to operate in the same manner as presently, as the restrictions on gathering remain effectively unchanged.

 

At Alert Level 2, if the rules for gathering are similar to those in place before the lockdown, we plan to reinstate in person Sunday services with a live webcast for those unable to join us on the day. As the applicable rules have not yet been announced or published, we will continue to monitor the situation and let you know as soon as we can what the Sunday service arrangements will be.

 

Finally, it’ll be Mother’s Day two Sundays from now, and we are planning something special for all Lighthouse mums as part of our service. Please join us to celebrate our mums together online and in your respective bubbles!

 

God bless us all. Shalom and kia kaha, Lighthouse!

 

Jeffrey Lai

Lead Elder

 

Get up, keep going, finish strong

Leadership Statement - 25 March  2020

Dear Lighthouse Family

 

Very shortly, New Zealand will go into Alert Level 4 lockdown for at least the next four weeks. This will be a difficult, even distressing, time for many and I’m sure a lot of you will be feeling the strain of the situation. I pray God’s peace, His shalom, upon you even as I write this.

 

How we live our daily lives over the coming weeks will clearly change. How we express faith and community as Lighthouse will change also. But in keeping with our Spiritual Approach (2 Timothy 1:7) and two guiding principles of Obey and Assemble, I want to assure you that Lighthouse will continue to express faith and community together as one body in a lawfully compliant manner.

 

We’re working hard on how Sunday services can be effectively delivered during the lockdown period within the limits of our resourcing. We may not have a lot, but we have all of Jesus. We expect to roll out a very basic bare-bones service this Sunday and have something more developed for the following Sundays. We’ll inform you of the details of this Sunday’s service (29 March) through our Facebook page by tomorrow night. We will also follow up with calls, txt and instant messaging.  

 

In addition, we’re developing some new initiatives for the lockdown environment that we’d like to roll out and get you to participate in. Keep a lookout for the big reveals. If you’ve got a few ideas yourself, feel free to share them with us.

 

We’ll enter this lockdown and go through it together. Remotely in our separate household bubbles, but still together. United in faith, hope and love. Joined in praise and prayer. One in mission and purpose. And eventually, by God’s grace and His mighty power, we’ll come out of it. Together. Stronger.

 

God bless us all. Shalom and kia kaha, Lighthouse.

 

Jeffrey

Get up, keep going, finish strong.

PS.  With isolation in place, our main channels of communication will be via texts and emails.  If you would like to be excluded in the email or txt circulation list, please email lcf.shalom@gmail.com to opt out. 

Leadership Statement - 21 March  2020

21 March 2020

 

Dear Lighthouse Family

 

We issued our first Lighthouse leadership statement on the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 on 1 February 2020 during the early stages of the outbreak overseas. We encouraged you not to allow legitimate concern to morph into full blown fear. We encouraged you to apply 2 Timothy 1:7 to the situation, because God has not given us a spirit of fear but has given to us a spirit of power, love and a sound mind. We encourage you to continue to apply this faith led posture to your everyday lives.

 

At the present time, COVID-19 is classified by the World Health Organisation as a global pandemic and New Zealand has unfortunately not been immune to the effects of this virus. Our government and health authorities have to put in place increasingly stringent but necessary restrictions on travel, public gatherings and daily life. These restrictions impact Lighthouse, how we express faith and community, and the way we continue to love and serve one another.

 

Accordingly, we wish to issue our second leadership statement on COVID-19 to set out how Lighthouse and its leadership will approach and respond to the situation.

 

Approach

 

We do not view the COVID-19 situation only in physical terms as a public health issue. We also recognise that there is also a spiritual element at work. How we approach the COVID-19 situation as it affects Lighthouse must be based on a Godly perspective that is founded on the Word of God and on Jesus Christ who is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6).

 

We reaffirm the overarching principles of 2 Timothy 1:7 as set out in our first leadership statement. This is our Spiritual Posture. We will continue to approach and deal with the situation with a spirit of power, love and a sound mind.   

 

To this, we add two guiding principles which we will use to assess and determine how we continue to practically express faith and community while the COVID-19 situation continues – the principles of Obey and Assemble.

 

Obey (Romans 13:1–10; 1 Timothy 2:1–4)

The Scripture tells us to submit to earthly authorities as persons appointed by God and to pray for those who are in authority so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life. We submit and obey out of love because love does no harm to our neighbours, and the guidelines and restrictions are intended to avoid, reduce and minimise harm.

 

Assemble (Hebrews 10:24,25; 1 Corinthians 14:26)

The Scripture also tells us not to forsake assembling together to exhort (encourage) and edify (build up) one another, to stir up love and good works. More than ever, in times such as this, we need to come together to exhort and edify one another, for the good of the spiritual, mental and emotional health of Lighthouse family members.

 

Responses

 

Continued Assembly

For as long as God permits, we will continue to hold in-person Sunday services. We strongly encourage life groups to continue to meet in person as and when able to do so. We will adapt the way gatherings are conducted to meet the guidelines and restrictions specified by the NZ government and health authorities.

 

If church services and other meetings are required to cease for a time due to imposed restrictions, we will comply. If this occurs, we will look to the use of technology to facilitate continued assembly in smaller groups and/or family units. There is a range of live streaming, video and online conferencing, social media messaging and other broadcast and download facilities that can be deployed to enable this. It won’t be perfect but by His grace we will make it work.

 

Self-Care and Group Care

We strongly recommend all Lighthouse family members who are required to self-isolate, avoid public gatherings due to age, health or other reasons etc. to comply with the guidelines and restrictions in accordance with the Obey principle. Look after yourselves and one another. If you are affected, please stay at home. If you know of anyone affected, please make every effort to reach out and bless that person as it can be a distressing and isolating experience.

 

Whether a person must comply with a guideline or restriction is not always clear. Open dialogue and God’s wisdom will help us determine what needs to be done on a case by case basis. If we are led to exclude you from gathering together at a given time, we pray that you will understand and forgive us for any upset caused.

 

COVID-19 Response Group

We have an established COVID-19 response group, led by Jeffrey Lai and coordinated by Michelle Soo. This initially operated as a situation management team for Contrast 2020, our Lighthouse conference. It has since been expanded to deal with how the COVID-19 situation will affect Lighthouse more broadly. The response group now includes all the pastors and trustees of Lighthouse, as well as key persons co-opted on an as-required basis.

 

Members of the response group monitor all pronouncements of the NZ government and health authorities, review reputable news sources and take into account key developments in Australia (which coordinates with New Zealand on many of its responses to the COVID-19 situation and therefore is a useful indicator of potential upcoming changes to guidelines and restrictions).

 

The response group is tasked with developing Lighthouse’s response to situations raised by COVID-19, based on the information it has gathered, evaluated and prayed through. A key aspect of this is how we approach our main Sunday service. We have developed a range of contingency plans for it, taking into account the restrictions recently imposed (updated as at 12pm on 21 March 2020). We are also developing plans for various ministry and life groups e.g. kids and youths and how they should operate during this time.

 

Ongoing Communication

The COVID-19 situation is fluid and there are constant changes as the NZ government and health authorities update their position. We must remain alert, agile and flexible in our responses. How we deal with a given situation may change quite quickly and this in turn requires us to communicate clearly and effectively with you on an ongoing basis.

 

Accordingly, we will regularly publish on our website and social media accounts the latest information on how our main church service will be conducted, how ministries and life groups should operate and anything else of relevance to the practice of faith and community at Lighthouse. Please check in regularly for the latest news.

 

Where there are major announcements or changes, we will email and txt you. We will, where possible, also make individual follow up calls to ensure key information is actually received. It is important that your contact details are up to date so that we can effectively communicate with you during this time.

 

Truth, not Lies

Be like Christ. He is the Truth, not lies. Therefore, beware of fake news. Don’t be the source or spreader of false information. Don’t be the conjurer of fear or the sower of panic. Be wise. Be responsible. Speak truth. Share truth. Truth is what the Word of God says. Share it liberally.

 

Also, share good information. We live in a society where we have a good-intentioned, stable government that wants to prevent and restrict harm. The official sources of COVID-19 information can be found at:

 

 

 

On a personal note, please allow me to conclude with the words King Solomon in Ecclesiastes 12:10 – The Preacher sought to find acceptable words; and what was written was upright – words of truth.

 

I pray the words written here on behalf of the COVID-19 Response Group, Pastoral Oversight and Trustees of Lighthouse Christian Fellowship are acceptable, upright and truth, and therefore life to us.

 

Shalom and God bless

 

Jeffrey Lai

Lead Elder

Leadership Statement - 10 March  2020

10 March 2020

 

Dear Lighthouse Family

 

The outbreak of COVID-19 is a global public health issue that has understandably caused a great deal of concern for many people. 

 

Left unchecked, legitimate concern can morph into full blown fear. But God has not given us a spirit of fear. He has given to us a spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).

 

As the leadership team of Lighthouse, we apply this verse to the current situation, and encourage each of you to do the same.

 

Sound Mind

Let truth and wisdom guide our thoughts and actions. We will heed the advice of our government, through the Ministry of Health, on the situation as it develops, particularly as it relates to public gatherings.

 

This advice can be found on the MOH website: (https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov). It is updated daily and the guidelines for latest advice on self isolation, public health and hygiene advice can be found on that website.

 

Our cleaning procedures at church are already thorough, but we are taking extra precautions and paying particular attention to various touch points surfaces (eg. door nobs, hand rails etc).  Since mid February, we have increased our placements of hand sanitizers around the church building, as well as signage for hygiene and prevention of COVID19. 

Additionally, we should each take the usual precautions for preventing illness and infections such as good hand hygiene, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home if unwell. 

 

Finally, let’s be conscious of the need to seek and speak only what is true. In an age where misinformation can easily spread by careless dissemination, let us be discerning so that we do not contribute to a climate of fear but speak the comfort of the Lord and His grace into every situation.  

 

Love

Let love guide our thoughts and actions. Let’s look out for one another. Give someone a call to encourage them, especially those with family in China. Send them a message or email. Comfort those who are afraid. Lift up those who are burdened.

 

Power

Let the power of God guide our thoughts and actions. We are not powerless in the face of this illness. We have the power of God to call upon, in faith and through prayer. Let us pray for the medical experts and governments of the world. Let us pray for the sick and afflicted. Let us pray for the Lord to sovereignly intervene and bring respite to the affected nations so that His lovingkindness will be known to all. 

 

Shalom and God bless

 

Jeffrey Lai

For and on behalf of the Pastoral Oversight and

Trustees of Lighthouse Christian Fellowship

© 2016 Lighthouse Christian Fellowship