Dear friends

For last Sunday’s service a number of tricky technological changes were trialled in preparation for having an in-church congregation again this coming Sunday. Thanks to Steve Blackburn and Bruce Frazer especially for all their set-up work. While the changes worked better than expected overall, we will keep working on a couple of issues to ensure a quality experience for those in the church as well as those joining in remotely via Zoom.

One different aspect of last Sunday’s service was a live cross to Bateman’s Bay where the Currie Crescent Community Centre committee was having a strategic planning retreat weekend in order to provide important input into our review of ministry and staffing. Belinda did the children’s talk and her sermon from there with others assisting with the Bible reading and through their drawing skills.

Belinda spoke on “Welcoming in Christ’s Name” from Matthew 10:40-41. I was particularly interested in the hobo sign graffiti. Growing up in Dubbo, I had heard anecdotes about swaggies placing different shaped piles of stones in various locations during the Depression to indicate what sort of help might be available there, but I hadn’t heard of hobo signs. The sign that Lucy is drawing below means “a kind lady lives here”. Belinda had other interesting examples in her sermon which you can watch (or watch again) by clicking on https://youtu.be/dq3FsSKReWo or going to Service Recordings on the Church website.

I found a couple of other interesting ones afterwards.

Belinda’s comment deserves ongoing consideration — “they do challenge us to think about ourselves, about the kind of signs people might chalk on the fence posts or the telegraph poles near our homes… They might tell us about the kind of welcome that we offer.”

With the easing of some Covid restrictions and Covid Safety Plans in place, some groups and activities have been able to convene in person this week. Kingston Kids Playgroup restarted on Tuesday; the monthly Ladies’ Fellowship was held in the McMaster Lounge; and the Thursday morning Women’s Bible Study has it’s end-of-term lunch at the manse. Cecilia has been busy liaising with various Church and Community Centre groups and handling enquiries from participants.

Some activities are continuing with Zoom, including morning prayers. On Wednesday, Bev Galloway screen-shared Darlene Zschech’s song The Potter’s Hand to tie in with our reflection on the Bible passage for that day. I’m finding several lines personally relevant at this time, especially:

“Take me, mould me, use me, fill me,

I give my life to the potter’s hand.

Call me, guide me, lead me, walk beside me…”

 

I’ve actually included it in Sunday’s service so we will all have the chance to sing it and reflect on it in the context of worship.

I’m leading and preaching on Sunday with Belinda on leave for 2 weeks. I’ll be continuing our studies in Matthew – chapter 11:16-19, 25-30. This is a passage that challenges us while also offering great comfort and I look forward to sharing it with you.

Several important reminders to keep in mind for this Sunday’s service.

  • Commencement time is now 10.00am.
  • People with A-H surnames are invited to worship in the church sanctuary. I-Z’s will get a turn the following Sunday (12th). Appropriate exemptions and grace will be applied.
  • We understand that not everyone is able or keen to gather just yet. We will continue Zooming services for the foreseeable future. See the e-bulletin for the Zoom link and password.
  • With the required distancing, we can have 40 in the church. There will be overflow facilities in the Hall if needed.
  • On arrival, you will be asked a couple of basic screening questions (including whether you have been to Melbourne or overseas in the last week). You will also be asked to sanitise your hands and to log your attendance.
  • Please sit in the designated pews only and maintain at least 1.5m separation from others who are not part of your household.
  • Cushions have been removed as part of our Covid Safety Plan. Please bring your own.
  • Please print out your e-bulletin or access it on your device during the service. If you are not able to do that, please see the officiating Pastor (not the door stewards) for a “sanitised” printed copy.
  • There will be no morning tea after the service until further notice.
  • There will be no spot during the service for the collection of offerings. We encourage you to give electronically if possible. There will however be a locked box in the foyer where worshippers can place offerings on entering or leaving the church.
  • There will be no Sunday School during the service, as usual during school holidays. There will be a children’s spot presented by Rebecca Hilton from the church. Activity sheets will also be emailed and made available at the church.

The passage from Matthew that we will be reflecting on includes these words of Jesus: “Come to me… and you will find rest for your souls.” May that be your experience then and after and even before.  Blessings, John Morrison