Beyond Church Cessnock and Anglican Diocese of Newcastle among local churches broadcasting services online during coronavirus crisis

FORWARD-THINKING: Beyond Church pastor Luke Main.
FORWARD-THINKING: Beyond Church pastor Luke Main.

The announcement that churches around Australia will be forced to close their doors in response to the coronavirus crisis has prompted some places of worship to take innovative action to connect with their parishioners and community.

Cessnock's Beyond Church has moved all of its services and programs online, with every service now to be broadcast live via Facebook, Instagram and Youtube at the times they would usually occur.

The church will also run its Friday night youth program, Creative Academy lessons and Life Group meetings via online platforms.

Pastors Rachel and Luke Main say the situation has made them "more passionate than ever" to help people connect with their church, and that they will continue to develop ways to help people join the church's teams and life groups, even as they have to become more creative in the ways they do so.

The Anglican Diocese of Newcastle has also turned to the internet, with services broadcast from Christ Church Cathedral via Youtube and Facebook.

The diocese suspended all services from last Wednesday, prior to the government's forced closure of churches on Sunday night.

Bishop Peter Stuart said it was "with an immense sense of grief but with an equal sense of responsibility" that he came to this decision. But he said it was also a time for churches to be innovative.

Anglican Bishop of Newcastle, Peter Stuart

Anglican Bishop of Newcastle, Peter Stuart

"We live in an age of unparalleled technological resources to demonstrate love and care," Bishop Stuart said.

"We shall make every effort to care for our church communities and the wider public, especially those who are isolated and vulnerable.

"Our welfare and aged care agencies continue their vital work of showing Christ's love in ministering to all people, especially older Australians."