The Fifth Sunday of Lent


For a second time, we meet as a community of faith in this strange, perhaps awkward way. Regardless, we do so together and with confidence that God meets with us.

There are two videos provided. The first includes some words of gathering, music and prayers, and the second a reading from Luke’s gospel, a reflection, and some prayerful words of poetry.

The peace of the Lord be with you.

Prayers and music


Gathering today


This is the first Sunday of a season in which we’ll meet in different ways to those we’re accustomed to. Though scattered across the suburbs of Melbourne, we remain a community of faith and worship. As you click on the links below, we invite you to do so expressing your continuing commitment to God, to each other, and to the world of which we’re a part.

May the peace of the Lord be with you.

Prayers and Music


A message from our pastors and deacons

As an expression of care for our neighbourhood and all those who are part of it, we have made the decision to suspend our gatherings and close our facilities, including the Verandah Cafe, until further notice.

We do this with heavy hearts and yet a strong sense of commitment to the community and to all those who visit us.

As soon as it is safe to do so, we will resume our gatherings and reopen our facilities and look forward to welcoming you back.

Please know that despite our closed doors, we continue to function as a community of faith committed to loving and serving our neighbours in all the ways we can. As part of this, we are providing weekly resources for worship and reflection here at this website. You are welcome to check back as often as you can.

For more information, you can read a letter addressed to our members and friends here.

Peace to you.

Words to reflect on

One of our deacons Nigel Smith is currently in New York. He linked us to these words from the American poet Lynn Ungar. Something to reflect on in these uncertain times.


What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Centre down.

And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected

in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.

Promise this world your love-
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.

~ Lynn Ungar ~ 11 March, 2020

Photograph courtesy of Geoff Maddock

From your pastors

Dear CSBC members and friends,

Like you, we have been watching the unfolding and rapidly changing events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic with increasing concern. As at other times, we are aware that fear, anxiety and panic are not constructive or healthy responses. Similarly, lack of planning, irresponsibility and naïveté are deeply inappropriate in these circumstances. Our profound concern is for the health and wellbeing of all our church members and visitors, as well as for the common good and the broader community.

The Pastors and Deacons of CSBC have been meeting throughout the week to ensure appropriate plans are in place to protect members and visitors from these new risks. In light of the current advice, and given the size of our sanctuary and our congregation, please be aware of the following.

1. We will still gather for worship this Sunday March 15

We will modify our practices of welcoming, greeting, passing the peace and sharing morning tea. We have arranged for extra cleaning of the church both before and after the service and will have hand santizers available in the narthex. Following the service we will encourage people out on to the Verandah to allow more appropriate distance between people.

We appreciate that some of you will choose not to attend services at this time. It is crucial that each person makes wise decisions about their own health and wellbeing. If you elect not to attend our service on Sunday, please know that you will be in our prayers, and that we fully support your decision to remain home, if that is best for you. We have long talked about being the church whether we are gathered or scattered. This is a time when we will live out this reality.

The sermon from Sunday’s service will be available online from Monday. Indeed, you can access all our sermons at any time here.

2. The church members’ meeting scheduled for this Sunday is postponed

Level 4 is not an appropriate space for gathering a large group at this time, and the agenda items, while important, are not urgent in these circumstances.

In coming days and weeks we will make further decisions about the church’s ongoing activities. If we are unable to gather for a time, we will make more weekly resources available on the website.

We hold all of you, as well as our policy-makers and medical professionals in prayer. Please feel free to contact us if you have concerns.

With love and hope,

Carolyn & Simon
Collins Street Baptist Church