Letter from the Pastors

Dear Riverstones Church Family

As the Word says, GREATER is He who is in us, than he who is in the world – and this is certainly true for COVID-19! So unlike the world and the media, let us keep our eyes firmly on Jesus, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

In relation to COVID-19 the Government has released strict regulations nation-wide which includes groups/gatherings/events. On 19th March the Prime Minister announced that indoor gatherings of 100 or more people must be cancelled. However, Riverstones will continue to meet on Sundays as numbers attending our weekly gatherings do not exceed 100+ people in a single service.

At this very challenging time, we acknowledge and understand that some people/families will choose to ‘socially isolate’ due to being more vulnerable. We want you to know that protecting the health of our church community is our number one priority which is why we are engaging in the plan below.

People will not be allowed to enter our building if;

·        they or someone they know has travelled outside of NZ in the last 14 days

·        have a cough, shortness of breath or sore throat (or any ONE of these symptoms)

·        have been in close contact with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19

PLEASE NOTE: Until further notice, ALL people attending a church service at Riverstones will be required to enter the building through the front single door on the left hand side. The greeting team (who will be wearing hi-vis vests) will stand near this door and welcome people as they arrive. They will then request them (including children) to first go to the rest rooms and wash their hands for at least 20 seconds, then dry their hands thoroughly, before they go to be seated. This request will not be optional, but a requirement for those who want to remain in our services. 😊

SUNDAY SERVICES

The preaching of the Word and worship will continue to be offered at Riverstones on Sundays. As mentioned above, our numbers at weekly gatherings does not exceed 100+ people in a single service. However, the Pastors and Elders have made a decision to ‘cap’ numbers at 85 people. Our services will be shorter than normal – beginning at 10am and finishing at 11.15am sharp. The emphasis will be time spent in worship, prayer and the preaching of the Word. We will not be engaging in any ‘one on one’ ministry and we also request that people take responsibility for the necessary social distancing. Chairs will also be spaced further apart except for families who wish to be seated side by side.

Remember that our sermons will continue to be available online and you can watch these on our website – www.riverstones.org.nz

NO COMMUNION

We will not be taking Communion for the next 3 weeks, up to and including Sunday 5th April. In the meantime, we encourage you to take Communion in your homes.

MORNING TEA

This coming Sunday (22/2/20) will NOT include morning tea/coffee as is our usual practice. We are currently discussing how we could resume offering morning tea/coffee the following Sunday/s under strictest hygiene measures.

SMALL GROUPS

  • SoulFood and Crafty Creators

Not meeting for at least 3 months. Online groups have been set up.

  • Defined Bible Study

This group will be moved to Riverstones House and continue as a small group – meeting fortnightly on Tuesday evenings. The next meeting will be this coming Tuesday 24th March.

  • Prayer meetings // Music Team Practice // Youth Group // Young Adults

Will continue and be managed accordingly in conjunction with the Pastors/Elders.

CHRISTIANS AGAINST POVERTY (CAP – Debt Help Centre)

Pastor Graham will continue to manage our Debt Help Centre, taking necessary precautions when engaging with clients.

RIVERSTONES KIDS

There will be NO children’s ministry up to and including Sunday 12th April. We will re-evaluate the situation after that date and inform all families accordingly. Families with young children are requested to bring quiet toys/colouring books/crayons for their own child/children. NO toys/books/colouring in items will be available as is our usual practice. Parents/Caregivers must take full responsibility for keeping their child/children amused during services. Children MUST remain seated next to their parents and not be allowed to move throughout the building during worship or the preaching of the Word.

SMALL GROUPS MEETING INSIDE RIVERSTONES BUILDINGS

Please know that any person attending a small group meeting inside Riverstones buildings will be required (as stated above) to first go to the rest rooms and wash their hands for at least 20 seconds, then dry their hands thoroughly, before they engage with the group or be seated. Again, this request will not be optional, but a requirement for those who want to engage in all small groups meeting at Riverstones.

PASTORAL CARE

Caring for the spiritual needs and practical welfare of our church community is a priority for the Pastors, Elders and Leaders - who will be ensuring ‘voice to voice’ contact is maintained with those who are not attending weekly services. We will make every effort to speak with you so we can listen to any concerns you may have and to pray for you. Our contact details are listed below for your information. 

Finally, the Pastors and Elders will re-evaluate the plans mentioned above as necessary.

Numbers 6:24-26 (NLT)

‘May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.

26 May the Lord show you his favour and give you his peace.’

Much love in Christ Jesus who is our Rock and Fortress – an Anchor for our soul

Pastors Graham, Gina, Tania and the Elders – John, Angela and Rajesh

Riverstones

(An Assemblies of God Church)

Website: www.riverstones.org.nz

Taking the Gospel of Jesus Christ to our City and Beyond