Covid-19 Update

Date: 25 May 2020

From Senior Ministers Rob and Christie Buckingham

As Victoria, and the rest of the country, slowly eases restrictions, we want to provide an update on where we are at as Church and, in particular, our thoughts on meeting in the building.

The Australian Government launched a three-step framework for a COVID-safe Australia and a return to services. The Victorian Government is announcing when these measures are implemented.

From next Monday 1 June, “Places of worship can open for private worship or small religious ceremonies for up to 20 people in a single undivided indoor space, subject to the four-square metre rule plus the minimum number of people reasonably required to perform the service or ceremony.”

Also from 1 June you can “have gatherings of up to 20 people in your home at any one time, including the members of your household.” Cafes and restaurants can have “up to 20 seated patrons per enclosed space.”

The Board and the ministry team have discussed the potential issues and concerns surrounding resuming services, and this is what we know:

  • Bayside Church Online will continue. Whether 50 or 100 people are allowed to gather in the building, we will continue our weekly services online in the current format. Since the pandemic outbreak, the Church has had to pivot, and an imminent return to normal is unlikely. And so, Bayside Church Online is here to stay. We thank the many people who have given us positive feedback about Online Services. Many have joined our church and connect groups. We want our online congregation to know we will continue to value this ministry into the future.
  • Church gatherings are unlikely to take place in the building until at least September. Of course, this will depend on when the Government says it is safe to meet. We are currently looking at flows of how we can manage services for 100 people safely. We are discussing what church services look like and will communicate with you once we have a firmer plan in place. We recognise that some people will be cautious about large gatherings for some time.
  • Connect groups that wish to meet in homes can do so when people feel ready. Groups can meet in cafes or public spaces with social distancing in place. We recognise that some groups will desire to continue on Zoom or other online platforms, which is fine. In the meantime, the Church building will only be open to groups and individuals who wish to help pack hampers for the community.

The Church globally has had to make significant changes. God is doing a new thing. Our vision to “To Courageously love and empower people to become like Jesus” doesn’t change. Neither does our mission: “To be a Christian community that works together for justice, mercy, and faith.”

Now is the time to lean into what the Spirit of God is doing and follow Him in new and creative ways to reach people with the love of Jesus. It requires us to be agile and to have an open heart. We encourage you to engage with each other and with your community at this time in fresh, creative, and safe ways.

We value your feedback and would love to hear from you if you have any comments. Contact us

Below are a list of Frequently Asked Questions to help in this time.

As of Wednesday 18 March, the Prime Minister Scott Morrison has banned indoor gatherings of 100 people. As such, weekend services are now moving online and can be viewed on Bayside Church Online and Facebook Live. Here are the Facebook links for Bayside Church Cheltenham and Bayside Church Frankston. The service times are Saturday 6pm and Sunday 10am.
All staff are currently working from home. For pastoral care enquiries contact 0401 721 912.
Food hampers are available at Bayside Church, Cheltenham Campus on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10.30am – 1.30pm. To be eligible for a food hamper a Health Care Card or Pension Card needs to be shown.  Hampers are also only available for those living in the City of Kingston and the following suburbs:  Beaumaris, Black Rock, Sandringham and Hampton. .
As of Wednesday 18 March, the Australian Government has banned indoor gatherings of 100. As such enjoying a meal together with others at Matt’s Place will be closed until further notice. Meals will be provided for in take away containers from Thursday 19 March from Matt’s Place Chelsea only on Tuesday and Thursday from 10am-12.30pm.
The present situation requires every ministry at Bayside Church to prayerfully consider and think of creative ways to still operate and stay connected. Every ministry is looking at ways to still connect with people, either via small groups in home or via online services such as Zoom or Google Hangouts. We encourage our congregation to familiarise themselves with these online services in order to still maintain contact and to grow spiritually.
From Thursday 19 March, Healing Rooms will not operate in the usual manner. At present we are asking that all those requiring prayer to email Bayside Church’s Prayer Leader Kathy Vass their prayer request on before the night and the team will pray for that need.
We ran a successful Step to God online and are currently promoting the next course on Zoom for 13 June. We are passionate about making disciples and will continue to do so even in these uncharted times.
Bayside Kids will continue to provide weekly resources, lessons, family devotions and encouragement through our digital communication platforms ie. Youtube, email and the closed parent groups on facebook. If you are not currently part of the parent Facebook groups please search “Bayside Kids Cheltenham Parents” or “Bayside Kids Frankston Parents” and be assured of our continued commitment to connect with and minister to the amazing kids of Bayside Church.
Mainly Music and Mainly Play programs are currently suspended for Term 1 and will be reviewed in Term 2. Further notice will be given to parents and guardians who attend these programs.
Bayside Youth will continue to provide opportunities for youth to belong and to develop community through online platforms such as Google Hangouts and Zoom. The best way to stay informed is via Instagram for Cheltenham Youth and Frankston Youth and youth parents will be emailed on a regular basis. Contact Katelin Cruickshank on if you would like to receive these emails.
Bayside Young Adults continue our commitment to build community by meeting in Connect Groups at various locations and times. Each group also facilitates online conversations outside of those times. Check in with your Connect Group Leader about the details. If you aren’t in a Connect Group yet, email to get connected. As Bayside Young Adults we also continue to inspire, encourage and update you during these exceptional times. Stay tuned in by liking our Facebook Page or follow us on Instagram.
In times like these, the importance of connection is incredibly important. For the health and safety of everyone we are asking that connect groups meet via online platforms. Connect Group Leaders will be in touch to discuss the options their group is taking.  
At Bayside Church we believe we are all ministers of the gospel and as such can provide encouragement and prayer support. The best port of call for pastoral care is through Connect Groups. Please contact your connect group leader if you require encouragement and prayer support. If you need further assistance beyond this or if you are not in a Connect Group and require pastoral care please phone 0401 721 912. In due course, we will be updating our strategy.