20 March, 2020

Dear LifeWay family and friends,

'Unprecedented times!’ It’s a comment echoed throughout the media and uttered from the lips of our nation’s leaders in these days. ‘I’ve never seen anything like this in my lifetime’ is another constant refrain that is given voice across the generations.

We find ourselves in an incredible time in human history. This global pandemic is causing chaos in every sphere of society; it has plunged the world into uncertainty, mass panic and great fear. Now the Prime Minister’s announcement on Wednesday, limiting indoor gatherings to 100 people, has touched us and given us another interesting challenge to navigate.

The Leadership Team have met at length to pray and consider the best way forward. We have reflected on the advice given by the LCA, considered the responses of other Churches, and wrestled with how we can love and protect people. We want to respect our government and their leadership, be responsible in helping to flatten the curve” of the virus, but most of all “fear, love and trust” God above all else.

To this end, the Leadership Team have made the following difficult decisions:

1. There will be NO formal gatherings at either Epping or Newcastle, effective immediately. Instead, we encourage all members to stay at home or gather in small groups and worship through the live streamed service from Epping at 9.30am AEDST each Sunday.

- Pastor Mark, the band and those assisting with the sound and livestreaming will gather to provide an online service for you. The doors will be open and we will have minimal people onsite, so that anyone from the community who turns up looking for the hope and peace that only Jesus can give, receive the ministry they need. Pastor Mat will be present at Newcastle Church for the same purpose. Social distancing, and safe hygiene practices will be put in place out of love for people.


- Simply go to []( and click on the icon underneath that countdown timer or click this link which will take you straight to YouTube.

- We will have someone online who will monitor the chat function, so let us know that you are joining us. Submit your prayers either in the chat screen on the right, or via the LifeWay App. If you need help to get it prepared, please speak with Pastor Mark or Pastor Mat.

We know that there will be many who are disappointed with this decision, especially for some in Newcastle, considering that your numbers are below the mark set by our Prime Minister. Please be assured we have made this decision because we love you, and we do not want to put you at risk. Our younger members also care about you a lot and don’t want to be responsible for causing you to catch the virus.

- The early Church met in homes – would you consider gathering together as a LifeGroup, or contacting an elderly member near to you, so you can worship via the YouTube Live together? Gatherings of 10-15 people in our homes, as long as we are not unwell and practice good hygiene and social distance, is still okay. It’s a great way to grow community and care for each other.

- Families: each week, we will email resources into your home that you can print for your children as you equip them in the faith. Lead them in worshipping online as a family.

- ZOOM VIRTUAL COFFEE CHAT. After the streamed service on Sunday, join us from your lounge room, or kitchen, with a coffee, tea and meet with other’s online. Go to []( and set up a free account on your phone, app, or computer. We will post a link on the App for you to click and you can join us for a chat about the sermon, ask your questions, share how you are feeling for 20 minutes at the end of each service.

2. All face to face ministry events at LifeWay are cancelled or postponed until further notice.

This includes:

- Youth Beach Gathering – Sunday 22 March - cancelled

- Easter Sunday Victory Breakfast - cancelled.

- Travellers – Album Party Launch – 28th March – postponed

- Sunday Lunch – 29th March – Cancelled

- Kids Church - April 5 - cancelled

- Evening Service – due to start April 5, postponed to later in year

- KidsWay – suspended until further notice

- The Table (Kids ministry in worship) –suspended until further notice

- Mainly Music (both sites) - suspended until further notice

- Step-Up to Communion - postponed till later in the year

- ·Songbirds and Praise Dancing – suspended until further notice.

- Cambodia Mission Trip - cancelled

3. LifeGroups:

- LifeGroups are free to continue meeting in person provided no-one is displaying symptoms, everyone is comfortable meeting, good hygiene is practiced and any food is served individually. If you can't meet in person, meet online using zoom, or go to meeting. Go to meeting has 14 day free trials. Different members of the group can log on to set up the free trial and you should have 2-3 months of free video connection should you need it.

4. Offering

- LifeWay relies on the regular, generous offerings of its members and friends to support the ongoing mission of LifeWay. If you haven’t done so, please set up a regular weekly/fortnightly/monthly payment to enable us to continue to share the hope of Jesus with all. Direct Debit Details


- Account Name: LifeWay Offerings, Epping

- BSB: 704 942

- Account Number: 65945

- Reference – either your name or offering Epping


- Account Name: LifeWay Offerings, Newcastle

- BSB: 704 942

- Account Number: 153782

- Reference – either your name or offering Newcastle

o You can also use PayID and the following email for Newcastle [email protected] or for Epping Offerings [email protected]

o Another simple way to give is via the App or website - just go to the 'Give" menu and select the cause - Offering Epping or Offering Newcastle.

5. LifeWay Angels of Mercy

- If you are healthy and willing to join the LifeWay Angels of Mercy Team, please ring Pastor Mark or Mat. We are wanting to have a team of people who are willing to run errands, get basic necessities for the elderly and those at risk, or to take them to shops so they can get what they need. If you can help, please let us know your availability to be an Angel of Mercy.

6. Staying in Touch

- If you haven’t logged on to myLifeWay yet, now is the time to do it. Go to the website, hit the connect tab and scroll down to myLifeWay. Or click this link That will take you to our communication hub for all things LifeWay. Click on Request account and fill in the details. Use your email address you have supplied to LifeWay and it should automatically accept you. Make sure you update all your details, so we have current email/phone numbers to get messages out in these changing times. We will be ringing all members over the next week or so, to make sure details are right.

7. Back to Basics – Caring for Others

- Who is someone you know in the congregation who is isolated? Has no family around or the family is away? Family away? Living alone? Set a reminder on your calendar to contact them by phone or FaceTime at least once a week to make sure they are okay

8. Office

- The Office will continue to be open as normal at this time.

9. Updates

- The Leadership Team will continue to provide updates to you as things change. We will update you using myLifeWay, and through our Facebook, website and app. If you need any help to access those, please let us know. All updates will come from Pastor Mark or Pastor Mat so there is only one point of contact for you at each centre.

- If you contract the virus, please inform Pastor Mark on 0418 823 950.

This is a difficult time, but we see it as a wonderful opportunity to ‘be the Church.’ In the midst of this stress, God is under no stress. He is faithful and in control. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever, and he will bring us through this with a deeper love for him and each other, a strengthened community, and a more focused vision of who he is calling us to be. As Martin Luther said, ‘Out of love for God emerges the practice of love for neighbour.’

LifeWay, we are praying for you. Together, we will get through this.

One Mission…One Community…Many journeys…Together.

That was the catch cry of our ‘Beyond Limits 2030 Vision” launch. We have an opportunity to put that into action right now as we journey together to support one another and grow together in the grace of Jesus.

Stay tuned because over the next week we will share further ways to connect with each other, and update you of what will happen over Easter week. Please contact us if you need any further information.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

For the glory of his name,

Pastor Mark and Adam Brownett

on behalf of the Leadership Team