Dear friends,

Last Sunday was the final one before Advent. It is celebrated as Christ the King Sunday by many churches and we followed that tradition in our service. I spoke on The Shepherd King, suggesting that Jesus was the Good Shepherd and also the Messiah King, albeit in temporary disguise.

I thought the final verse of our concluding hymn by Delores Dufner summed it up very aptly.

You chose a humble human form and shunned the world’s renown;
You died for us upon a cross with thorns your only crown.
But still, beyond the span of years, our glad hosannas ring,
for now at God’s right hand you reign, a diff’rent kind of king!

After the service we enjoyed morning tea in the courtyard, the first time in many months. Our AGM, postponed from August, followed with people in the church, hall and on Zoom. Several people from various age groups encouraged us by sharing what they were thankful for as they thought back over the last year.

All 4 nominees for Deacon were “overwhelmingly” elected. Welcome onto the Diaconate for the first time to Anneke Blackburn, Rob Fergusson, and Leah Hovenden and welcome back to Bev Galloway. The 2019-2020 Annual Report, including the financial report, was received with thanks to all who contributed. Printed copies are available from the office if you missed out.

We were back together on Zoom in the evening for Sunday@6. It was a “text that shaped my life” night, led this time by John Clark with a very thought-provoking presentation on reasons for similarities and differences between the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

Today (Wednesday) Belinda, Cecelia, John Higgins and I had another Zoom meeting with Ted Bell and Andrew Dodd, the consultants assisting with our Review into Ministry and Staffing. We have now almost finalised a brief survey to be distributed to everyone in about a week or so. We are keen for you to send your reply to the consultants by mid-December so that they can analyse them and provide some preliminary results by the beginning of February. Please watch out for this and share your thoughts because this will provide important input into the crucial decisions we will be making next year about staffing.

This coming Sunday is the commencement of Advent and the new liturgical year, when we traditionally focus on the theme of hope. Belinda will be preaching, mainly on Mark 13:24-37. Ruth Zanker from Communities@Work will be present to share briefly about their work and to take delivery of our gifts for children and teenagers as part of the Christmas Giving Tree project. We won’t be able to parade the gifts into church as in previous years. Instead, either leave your gift in the church foyer on the day or, if possible, arrange to drop it into the office on Thursday or Friday and we’ll take a photo to show in church. 

Seeing it is the start of Advent, this Sunday is when you will receive the first of the daily Advent reflections written by people from the church. These will continue up till Christmas Day, with a week on each of the themes of hope, peace, joy and love. We already have enough contributions on hope, but still need people to write a short reflection of 250-500 words on one of the other topics. Cecelia would be delighted to hear from you.(

There are a lot of special activities coming up during the pre-Christmas period, despite COVID. Please take a look in your e-bulletin for details of these. There are two I’d like to particularly draw to your attention at this stage.

The first is our Alfresco BYO Festive Feasts with Friends in the courtyard on Saturday 12 December. Tables of 4, 6 or 8 can still be booked by contacting Cecelia. Also let her know if you have an extra place or two at your table or if you would like to join a table and she will do some magic matching.

Secondly, there is another way of supporting people in hardship through Communities@Work — through the Reverse Advent Calendar project. Boxes for food items are available from the office or Community Centre foyer and can be brought to church on Sunday 20 December (or you can drop it off to Communities@Work yourself between then and Christmas Eve).

May Christ’s blessings of hope, peace, joy, and love be yours as you enter this special time of year.

John Morrison

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