On Wednesday evening, Bayside City Council unanimously approved the planning application for the new development on our tennis courts -currently referred to as the 'St Andrew's Exchange Building'. All the councillors were enthusiastic about the level of community involvement with the finished project - the multi-purpose auditorium, our planned reception area, and the rooftop tennis courts - and were excited by the proposal for parking spaces under the building. We still have to obtain approval from Heritage Victoria who are dragging the chain somewhat, but I expect that the St Andrew's Building Group will meet again in the near future to begin considering the use and layout of our new space, details of which will then be included in the next stage of the approval process - an application for building approval which will require the submission of detailed building plans.
Locks have been changed to prevent unwanted access to the office areas now that the church is open again during the day. Entry to the Parish Offices continues to be primarily through the double glass door at the rear of the church building. The new alarm is adjacent to these doors and must be deactivated if visiting after hours. The alarm is monitored and I will be alerted if the alarm is activated. To avoid continued access through the sanctuary, a new lock has been installed to one of the double wooden doors adjacent to the lectern. This will provide access from the church to the offices and counting room etc during the day. The Parish office will have been, or will be, in touch with you if you need a new key and the alarm code.
Thank you to all those who have returned the planned giving cards with increased contributions as part of our stewardship program. New and unexpected repairs continue to arise on a weekly basis and we are now looking at having to remove a full-length stained glass window for repairs before it collapses.
Thanks too to the volunteers in our Op Shop and the adult members of our Choir who have begun attending to the formal paperwork for Child Safety clearances.
Elsewhere I have written about practical issues pertaining to the coronavirus situation. I pray that all parishioners will be spared from this illness.
Coronavirus and our Church
As you may have heard, the coronavirus (COVID-19) has been declared a pandemic, a world-wide infectious disease which is already spreading in Melbourne. Several parishioners have been self-isolating, including the Rev'd Michelle Wang when she returned from China. At St Andrew's we have already ceased handshakes at The Greeting of Peace and using the common cup for Holy Communion. Hand sanitiser is used before distributing the wafers.
Premier Daniel Andrews has upg rad ed Victoria's response readiness and it may be that we will be prevented from having any services in the church at some future time. This would limit the availability of the church for funerals and weddings during such a period of closure.
Arrangements are in hand to livestream a service through our website and Facebook pages. with the recorded service being available to parishioners with access to the internet, should we be prevented from having services in the church. Details will follow should this form of home worship be necessary.
Op Shop Closure
Our Opportunity Shop in St Andrews Street will be closing on Monday until further notice. This action has been taken to protect our wonderful but ageing & susceptible volunteers from contact with the Coronavirus though the handling of merchandise by customers.
We trust that this measure will be short lived and that the inflection point in the spread of the disease will pass quickly.