This morning the pastors from across the South New Zealand Conference met in person and via video conference to discuss the developing COVID-19 situation. Taking into consideration the current NZ Ministry of Health guidelines as well as advice from the New Zealand Pacific Union, the Conference administration presented Pandemic Plan guidelines to the ministers. These guidelines were formulated to assist our ministers and their local church leadership with creating customised Pandemic Plans for their local churches. This is all to ensure that local church leadership is ready to respond quickly and efficiently as this situation develops, in a way that maximises our ability to continue our mission as a church and minimises the risk of viral transmission.

The COVID-19 situation is moving quickly – in the last 24 hours the confirmed cases of the virus in New Zealand have more than doubled. As a conference we are doing everything we can to stay ahead of the situation, and this has meant cancelling and postponing some upcoming events on the calendar. The teen expedition has been cancelled due to the fact that with increasing restrictions from the Government and the rapid development of the situation, we believe that such an event would be unable to proceed by then. The South New Zealand Discipleship Tour has been postponed, as the speaker was coming from Australia and would have had to spend the whole time in self-isolation. We will continue to make decisions about the events on the Conference calendar as things progress, and have advised our churches to do the same for local events.

As the Adventist church in South New Zealand, our aim is to continue to be a movement of growing disciples who KNOW, LIVE and SERVE Jesus, who give hope, comfort, and support to the communities around us. Our mission is even more pressing in times of trouble. We encourage you to look out for ways you can be a blessing to those around you, and actively support your local church leadership as they make the decisions necessary for keeping your church and community safe. May we draw ever closer to our loving Saviour as we seek to shine His light in hard times.

– Yvanna Boulton, South News Editor