As fears mount about the impact of Coronavirus (Covid-19), I wanted to reach out to all within our Church.
We are concerned about how Covid-19 will affect us, our families, our churches and our communities. For many of us, there is added stress that our livelihoods are at risk, as measures to contain Covid-19 impact our jobs.
I urge you not to panic. The New Zealand government response to Coronavirus has been swift and comprehensive and is helping to minimise the impact on Kiwi families. But, these are indeed difficult times, and it is at exactly these times that our faith becomes even more important. I look to Jesus’ words for comfort: “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
While many things have been cancelled by the Coronavirus, love has not, and I urge you to take all practical steps to care for yourself and others. (See the Church’s Coronavirus resource for advice about actions to take at church.)
Please respond to the call to introduce measures into your daily life – not shaking hands, keeping personal distance, limiting travel – to slow the spread of the virus.
Faith communities typically come together in times like these, and while most of our congregations (those under 500* people) can still gather, there may come a time when this isn’t possible. If this was to occur, I remind you that you are not alone – God is with always with us: “This is my command — be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
We are in this together – as Kiwis, as Christians and as communities, and I ask that you keep in your prayers the sick, all the medical professionals and others working hard to help keep Kiwis safe.
Rt Rev Fakaofo Kaio
Moderator, Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand
* A subsequent announcement @ 3:30pm on 19 March has prohibited internal gatherings of 100+ people (excluding schools, workplaces and public transport)