Welcome to everyone reading this Newsletter, whether in print or electronic version online, or in our church app. Whichever way you are connecting, we’re thrilled to count you as part of our community. If there’s ever anyway in which we can serve you, please don’t hesitate to ask!
As Christians, when we worship God, we are taking the time to acknowledge who God is and bring Him our praises. The way that we choose to express our worship varies. Within the Christian tradition, and within my own experience, worship has generally happened together as a congregation with prayer and song. However, worship isn’t limited to prayer and song. There are many ways through which we can bring our praises to God and we find ourselves using our creative gifts as we create dances, dramas and visual works of art. Moving a step further, if our actions are a means of praise, then our everyday lives can continue to be an act of worshiping God.
While coming together on a Sunday is a wonderful expression of worship, it would be helpful to remember that each day is an opportunity to worship God. As we experience the presence of God throughout our lives, the presence of the opportunity to worship is also evident. For some of us it’s little moments of thanksgiving as we go for walks. For others we might find a chance to spend time with God in the monotonous moments such as people learning to worship God as they do the dishes. In all of these expressions there is a freedom in how we worship. Freedom as we spend time with God in our everyday lives. Freedom as we recognise that God is worthy of all we have to bring to Him, we just need to be willing to offer what we have.
This brings us back to our Sunday services. If we recognise the importance of daily worship, and the freedom that we have in how we express our worship of God, we can come to the conclusion that freedom is also acceptable to God in our Sunday services. My encouragement is this: as we worship God in our day to day lives, and as we worship together as the body of Christ, we should remember that we have freedom in how our expression. So whether we want to dance, sing, draw, be loud, be soft, hands high, hands low, we know that the most central part of worship is that we are bringing God glory through what we do and who we are.
Grace and peace
Welcome to everyone reading this Newsletter, whether in print or electronic version online or in our church app. Whichever way you are connecting, we’re thrilled to count you as part of our community. If there’s ever anyway in which we can serve you, please don’t hesitate to ask!
Thank you to all those who’ve been complimentary about the current sermon series. The bible is such a good read! And these passages in particular are so key to our understanding of who God is and how He wants to relate to us humans. We’re learning about Kingship, about Prophecy, about providence, kindness and forgiveness – and all in the Old Testament. What is clear is that Jesus is the fulfilment of the Old Testament. What the nation of Israel got wrong, Jesus always gets right. What was promised in the Old Testament is delivered unequivocally in the New. If you’d like to explore this in more detail, do join an explore group for exactly that purpose. (There are details inside).
We also seemed to strike a particular chord with the services on Sunday, especially in the area of finding ways to physically and otherwise creatively express our thoughts, feelings and other responses during worship. I forgot to say that when I first started to want to raise my hands or move about a bit I was so self-conscious that I sat down the back of church with a trusted mate so that nobody else could see me! I was so suspicious of those “crack-pot charismatics” I didn’t want to be identified with them at all. Now, as you can usually see, nobody will sit next to me down the front in case they get knocked out by my over-exuberant arm-extensions. At my rehab exercise session recently my instructor said “oh, you’re reasonably strong in the shoulders” to which I replied, “yeah, it’s all the power praising to Jesus!” (She’s a Lutheran and not sure she really understood). But the point is simply this; move or don’t move - it’s what’s in your heart that counts. None the less, the staff and I are considering what else we can do to foster creative responses to what the Spirit is saying during worship – watch this space . . . .
After the Annual General Meeting today I will be on holidays for two weeks (although I’ll be back next Sunday for Communion. I’ll be down in Geelong for the first week helping Mum clean out the back garage and then off to Mooloolaba the following week with Julie which will be great! Jess, Dom & Helen will all be on hand during that time and as usual any pastoral care matters can dealt with in the first instance by Bronwyn Kelly.
Thank you again to everyone who gives of their time and energy helping to make our church what it is so that we really can sense that we are, “Emmanuel”, because God is clearly with us!
In His grip and grace,
Welcome to everyone reading this newsletter, whether online or in print. We’re glad you’re a part of us and we’re a part of you – which is what makes God’s family so special. If we can ever do anything to help you and improve your sense of belonging, please do let us know.
- Our Annual Meeting is coming up fast on 31st March. We aim to do at least three things at that meeting:
- Receive the annual reports
- Begin to cast Vision for the short to medium term future
- Elect elders to oversee and steward all this process.
There are information brochures about the Elders’ elections available in the foyer of the church, at the church office or indeed you can contact Helen during office hours and she will get one to you ASAP. (Unfortunately due to my recent illness we are a bit short of time on this but if we all act swiftly and with good grace we should get there!)
On the day we will have a special morning tea, which will be provided, after our usual combined service at 9:30am. We hope to commence the meeting at 11:15am and be done in time to be home for a reasonable lunch! Please do come if you can – it’s so important that we are all informed and take ownership of our future together. If you’re worried about the kids, we will have some activities for them to do so please don’t let that stop you!
It has been an excellent 12 months and we have much to be thankful for as you will read in the reports. God really does appear to be doing something special amongst us and its only just beginning! I wonder how you can be directly or indirectly involved? Do come, find out and get inspired!
News from next door at Enoggera State School is that they will be receiving a new Principal at the beginning of term 2. This feels hard – things were starting to settle down after so many changes over the last few years. And of course very tough for Angela the outgoing Principal having to find a new placement. But let us redouble our prayers for this next season for her and the school, especially for a smooth transition and continued good relationship between our two communities.
By the way, I don’t know if you’ve been to check out the newly refurbished office space – it’s wonderful and all those who use it are very grateful for a warmer, more welcoming feel and a far more efficient use of space. Thank you for allowing it to happen. Likewise the new playground work at Tiny Town looks stunning - the committee are to be congratulated.
I look forward to seeing you at the Annual Meeting if not before.
In His grip and grace,
Welcome to Emmanuel!
We hope you find both a place to belong and launching place from which to do mission. We are Real People with Relevant Faith for Our Community and we’re glad to have you with us!
It’s good to be back with you all after such a long time. Thank you for all your prayers, thoughts and well-wishes. I think God has granted me a “re-boot” for which I am very grateful. My Grandpa Weaver died at 52 from a heart attack and this genetic influence seems the most likely contributor to mine. I’m on a bunch of tablets each day now to keep my blood thin and coupled with a high protein, low carb diet and some decent exercise should see me right for another 20-25 years, at least!
Inevitably, I suppose, it has given me a chance to reflect on where I’ve been and where I’m going to in life. It was sobering to think that if medical knowledge had not advanced in the 70 years since my grandpa died I would have already joined him! So I’ve been giving thanks to God for all that advancement. But I’ve also been asking Him how best to use the extra time now given me. The answer has been unequivocal - “Follow Jesus and help others to find and follow Him also”.
This is what the essence of Missional Discipleship is – it’s all about knowing and following Jesus with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. It’s not that complicated!
Writing on Discipleship, Jim Packer wrote, “we can see what sort of thing Christian simplicity is - not naivety or dim wittedness, but sincerity and straightforwardness in facing the moral and spiritual demands of being Christ’s person . . . simplicity was seen supremely in Jesus, and is a mark of stature in his followers. If ever you have met a genuinely holy person, you know that already.”
The two most helpful questions I’ve found in my own discipleship are these: What is God saying? & What are you going to do about it? In other words (and let’s make no mistake about it!) – God is speaking to us all, if only we would learn to listen. He is calling us all into a life following his Son – learning to imitate his words, works and ways.
2019 is our year of “Digging into Discipleship”. May I encourage you also to take stock.
Do you hear from God?
How can you trust what you hear?
And if it is trustworthy, what are you going to do about it?
In His grip and grace,
Emmanuel is a community filled with various expressions of Christian faith.
We have fellowship groups to encourage community and friendship in a Christ centred context, and Explore groups which exist to foster a passionate growth in Biblical literacy and faithful discipleship to Christ. We have worship lead out the front by people with gifts and talents in performing arts and communication, as well as technology focused individuals and the many who manage and share the responsibilities of the offering and the celebration of communion, working behind the scenes. We have men and women who are the “front page” of our worship services as they warmly welcome all who enter into the building and those who faithfully serve morning tea as the services end. Emmanuel is a faith community that ministers to children and youth through our Sunday School, Brigades, and Youth Band and shows Christs love to our community through Tiny Town, our dedication to community helping hand and our continued support of Enoggera State School.
As we launch into the new year as a church family, we’ve decided to take time in each of the services until March 3rd to commission our leaders of the groups we have a Emmanuel. Each of these groups listed as well as more that goes on through our expression of faith to our community is ministry and it is helpful to remember that it is both a privilege and a responsibility. Thankfully, as we partner with God in His ministry we have the honour of receiving the Holy Spirit who we work alongside as we minister to people in our various capacities. While we recognise our groups we’d also like to recognise that our faith need not only be expressed in the church building but also in our homes and into the rest of our lives. We recognise that there are many whose expressions of faith are most clearly seen in their relationships and one on one conversations with people.
As we commission our various ministries throughout February, and recognise the amazing things that God is doing through the people who make Emmanuel we, the ministry team, would like to say thank you. Thank you for being a community of Christ. I look forward to seeing what the year has in store as we continue to learn to discern where God is leading us.
Grace and Peace
Hello to everyone reading this in person and online. It’s great to have you with us whether you are a regular or a newcomer.
I hope and pray that you and your families have managed to have a time of rest over January. As staff, Ian, Dom, Helen and I have had time off which has refreshed and renewed us for the year ahead. It’s good to have and keep a rhythm of working from rest, rather than resting from work.
Unfortunately, Ian will be out of action for another few weeks as he follows doctors’ orders and continues to rest and recover after his heart attack. While he loves us, he’d appreciate not having visitors just yet, but would appreciate your prayers for; patience during slow recovery, determination for new diet and exercise regime and, to live in joy (and not let the thief steal it away). In his absence, Dom, Helen and I will try to keep things running as usual.
This week we are back to Emmanuel for regular Sunday programming after enjoying the last five weeks in the airconditioned comfort of the school. Again, we are so thankful to the school for their continued support and use of their facilities including the EPAC and pool. During January the office space was also renovated with new carpet, a coat of paint and a refurbished kitchen. Thank you for your patience during the process, and especially to everyone that helped move furniture out and back in. The space is looking and feeling great, but we still have a few things to rearrange and sort so we ask for your continued patience during this time.
After digging into the Life of Jesus last year, in 2019 we will continue in our mission to grow disciples and Dig into Discipleship. Again, the whole congregation will follow along across 8am, 9:30 am worship and Sunday school which helps to facilitate conversations and targeted learning during the week in explore groups and homes. We’ll continue to provide the Dig in at Home resource and follow up questions on the App and website.
As we Dig into Discipleship, we will explore the Heart of God/Jesus, and as we learn more about him, learn how to live more like him. I’ve been reading a book “Building a Discipling Culture” by Mike Breen, and have been reminded that disciples aren’t accidentally made, but that discipleship is an intentional pursuit (2016, 17). Breen also says (2016, 37) that “Success is obedience to what the Father asks” and so if by the end of this year we see and hear of more people listening and responding to God’s call then we will have succeeded. One way that we do this is by asking “What do I think God is saying to me?”, and “What am I going to do about it?”.
I’m excited that I’ve already seen people doing this, and seeking out trusted people that they can observe, reflect, discuss and then plan, account and act on this. I invite you on this journey to follow us as we follow God, and to keep asking yourself “What do I think God is saying to me?” and “What am I going to do about it?”
Welcome to Emmanuel Uniting Church where we are Real People with Relevant Faith for Our Community.
We hope you’re enjoying your experience as we Celebrate Christmas and begin the journey into 2019. If Christmas is about meeting Jesus; the rest of the year is about learning about him (and from him) how to live best in relationship to each other and to God.
We’d love to join us anytime either at our Sunday worship services or other groups and activities during the week. (We are going to take some rest over January and so our normal activities won’t resume until February).
But in the meantime, please make contact via our website or app – we’d love to hear from you and to help in any way we can.
God bless you all this Christmas and into the New Year, Ian.
Office Closure and Refurbishment
December/January is a time of rest for everyone. During this time our Ministry team will also be taking some time to rest.
Jess - 27th December and returning 10th January
Helen - 27th December and returning 14th January
Ian - 11th January and returning 25th January
Dom - SMADD 7th January - 12th January
During this time if you require pastoral care assistance if you could please contact Bronwyn Kelly on 3354 4961. For other urgent matters please contact Ian on mobile from 26th Dec - 10th January.
The office will also be refurbished over January. This will affect our day to day routine and essentially mean the office will be closed until the 17th January.
Merry Christmas to everyone reading this our last newsletter for the year!
Last week I witnessed one of the most gracious, generous and loving acts of kindness I’ve ever seen. Our very own Jess Pinkerton attended to the needs of two men who came seeking help from Community Helping Hand. They came on the wrong day and out of hours.
They were looking for food but they were in a very poor state in terms of their own health and personal hygiene. They were apparently homeless, looked a bit scary and did smell very badly. They were babbling what sounded largely like nonsense to me & Jess, (I was there for moral support) and we couldn’t do much more than listen.
One man’s feet and ankles were so swollen that he had to wear thongs because shoes would no longer fit on his feet. As a consequence he had badly stubbed his little toe which was bleeding and looked terrible. Jess and I eventually decided we should offer some kind of cleaning – perhaps a shower – but the man said “no, just my feet please”.
As Jess rolled up his trouser legs, we discovered enormous ulcers on both legs which were deep, surrounded by dead skin and had some very grubby bandages on. On one leg the two ulcers were about the size of my fist in width. On the other leg the ulcer was even bigger: as large as my palm and fingers. And they smelled, and it was horrible.
But Jess put on her gloves and bathed his feet and legs; carefully wiped away some of the dead skin and put some decent bandages on. While she was doing this he fell asleep in the chair, right there. His mate had meanwhile gone to sit down on the bench under our church porch and had also fallen asleep.
We learned afterwards from the police that probably they were coming down from an “Ice high” which was why they couldn’t stay awake. There’s a lot more that could be said about this episode but the main point I wanted to highlight was the very practical way Jess found to be “good news” to those men. Sometimes the gospel is not complicated, even if it is difficult.
It seems fitting at Christmas, when we recall God getting his own hands dirty, as it were, to come and live amongst us as Jesus. Next year we’ll be “Digging into Discipleship” and one of things we’ll learn over and again is the need to find a living (if not perfect) example of what it means to follow Jesus. Good on you Jess, for showing us the way!
God bless you all this Christmas and into the New Year, Ian.
Welcome to everyone reading this newsletter. This is our month! Our church is named Emmanuel which we know means God with Us and in this season of advent we celebrate not only His presence amongst us as a man, 2000 years ago, nor only His presence amongst us now, by His Spirit, but his future presence amongst us as King of the universe! God is with us and this is the month to really think hard about what difference that makes to us and how to communicate that difference to others.
To help us with that we have three special events, as you know. Our Community Christmas Carols, on Dec 23rd, will be an extravaganza of fun, food and carols interspersed with a re-telling of the Christmas story. Invite your friends, family and neighbours – especially if they don’t normally go to church – they’re going to love it and we’ll have a really good time together.
The Carols will be led by Dom and the worship team but we will also have two specially assembled choirs, one from our Sudanese brothers and sisters and another from our own congregation. (If you’d like to be part of that choir, please meet with Mel Herron and the others in the meeting room at 11am this Sunday).
We’ll also have a dance performance from our Holiday Club led by Jess Pinkerton (what a great job she did with the all-age message last week!) which is happening on 20th & 21st December for Primary-aged children. Get your kids registered as soon as possible and invite your friends’ kid too. All our events are designed with people who don’t normally attend church in our minds – so they are suitable for everyone. If you can volunteer for those two days we really need you to sign up ASAP also so that we can make room for even more children!
Lastly, but by no means least, will be our Christmas Day Service on (would you believe) 25th December. After all the buzz and excitement it will be good to start our Christmas Day celebrations with a slightly quieter service and pray our way into a day that fully honours and sets the tone for one of the holiest days in our calendar. It is a day to rejoice, reflect and respond and will also be an outstanding time to bring someone with you who wouldn’t otherwise come. It’s about belonging to the God who is always with us, no matter the day or the season. It can be a lonely day but it doesn’t have to be! Come, bring your friends and introduce them Jesus and his people.
God bless, Ian.