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NEWS DESK

Prayers are in the mail

Policing in the virus emergency

Keith Platt keith@mpnews.com.au LIFE in the time of COVID-19 is, for many, a time of prayer. But congregating in a church during the coronavirus pandemic is not possible because of government social distancing rules St Marks Anglican Church, Dromana has had to abandon its regular services because of the dangers of transmitting COVID-19, but the offer to the public for its members to say prayers on request has not been withdrawn. The Rev Paul Woodcock said prayer requests usually “trickle in” at a rate of three or four a month. The requests are left in a small steel letterbox - the prayer box - behind the church’s fence in Odonohue Street, just off Point Nepean Road. A sign on the fence offers prayers for “genuine” requests. Mr Woodcock said there had been no noticeable increase in prayer requests since the COVID-19 emergency was declared, although this could be attributed to people staying at home. He said prayers were requested for a variety of reasons, often involving family or relationship problems, children or illness.

Mail order prayers: The Rev John Woodcock and the mailbox for prayer requests at St Marks Anglican Church, Dromana. Picture: Gary Sissons

“Sometimes there’s a request for a prayer for a particular person without any particular issue being mentioned,” Mr Woodcock said. Notes were sometimes left saying that a particular situation “has sorted itself out”, a result that was attributed to prayer and other reasons. Mr Woodcock did not know of the church ever receiving prayer requests for frivolous reasons, although an item of origami had been placed in the box the previous week. “Sometimes the requests are on really weird scraps of paper but there has never been anything rude or abusive,” he said. St Marks normally holds two Sun-

day services (holy communion and family worship wth a children’s ministry and a combined worship every fifth Sunday) and holy communion on Wednesdays. Dedicated on 7 Aril 1893, St Marks is unlikely to have ever witnessed such a disruption to its public services. However, the Rev Woodcock is making sure that parishioners have an opportunity to pray by making pre-recorded services available on YouTube or distributing printed copies to parishioners. “We have organised for people to stay in touch with one another. We are caring for each other.”

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Continued from Page 1 “Policing is a dynamic activity and, at times, there is simply no warning or enough time to put masks and gloves on,” Senior Sergeant Edwards said. For the sake of safety and giving due regard to the seriousness of the virus, police patrolled in pairs. “During this period more than two members in a vehicle at one time is deemed a health risk.” Senior Sergeant Natalie Dollard, of Rosebud police, said the reduced counter service at Hastings, Rosebud and Mornington police stations allowed more officers to be deployed “on the frontline and proactively patrol out in the community”. “We will continue to have people working around the clock and resources will be deployed to incidents as needed.” To speak to an officer at these police stations call Hastings 5970 7800, Rosebud 5986 0444 or Mornington 5970 4900. Those reporting on bail may use the intercom. The reception counter at Frankston police station is open.

Art show cancelled THE 53rd Flinders Art Show in June has been cancelled due to COVID-19 social distancing restrictions. This is the first time the event has missed its Queen’s Birthday showing since its inception in 1967. The event gives artists the opportunity to market their work. Last year 350 works were exhibited. “In keeping with the current regulations, and after careful consideration of COVID-19 by the committee, and the uncertainty surrounding future months, this very popular community

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event has been cancelled,” Flinders Art Show vice-president Barbara Higgins said. Proceeds usually go to the CFA, Flinders Cricket Club, Flinders PreSchool, Southern Peninsula Community Support and Information Centre, Southern Peninsula Food For All, Western Port Community Support as well as others listed on flindersartshow.com.au Organisers are looking forward to a bigger and better show in June 2021.

Performers’ pause ROSEBUD’S Astral Theatre Company members are experiencing their quietest time in years. “Normally we would be building sets for the May play and rehearsals would have started for the spring musical,” president Brendan Croft said. “Sadly, we are all just hunkered down at home, dressing up in makeshift costumes and singing in front of the mirror. We all do that, don’t we? “Rest assured that when all this is over we will be back to filling people’s lives with dramatic and musical theatre and doing what we have always done to bring a little joy and community spirit to our area. “We just have to do our part to ‘flatten the curve’, keep our community safe and use any spare time we have at home to catch up on some theatre online.” Croft said enthusiasts can get a theatrical “fix” now that Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber has put his shows online for free streaming. “So, take care, keep singing – even if it is into a hairbrush, and above all else, stay home whenever possible.”

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Southern Peninsula News 22 April 2020

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