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
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,