Front and Center
Greetings everyone. I have been reminded this week of the need to stay focused on what is important. The COVID-19 pandemic with the enforced isolation and different ways of working have made work, social and family practices quite different. As the Queensland government moves to stage 3 of relaxing restrictions, I am conscious of my brother and many friends in Victoria who are in lock-down with proposed holidays cancelled. I shared a funeral this week with friends who had lost a father and husband who had to limit and decide who could come. We are living in unprecedented times. But it is now as important as ever (I think the importance never changes) to focus on what I call the must haves. I must have a relationship with God and I need to make sure that I build and strengthen that each and every day. I must have a relationship with my wife and family. Again this must be regular and it must be intentional. I must have my relationship with my church family. That has been difficult with the events around us. I am thankful for the ongoing support and encouragement that I and we have received. That is a multiple we. Claire and I have been encouraged and supported as well as the ministry team feeling encouraged and supported. There are such good people here. I do not know all of you yet and many I do not know me well but thank you for the trust and commitment you have invested in us. I must also build my relationship with the wider community. The people of Enoggera and Everton Park and surrounds that are not yet a part of our church family. Each of these 4 relationships have differing importance and effort but all are important and need time and energy. Please think about the relationships that you need to foster and develop and ensure that they do receive the time and energy that they need.
to view rest of the newsletter [click here](https://mailchi.mp/4636f5761696/weekly-newsletter-1892327)
Front and Center
Greetings everyone. Thank you for the way you are pulling together as we progress to returning to face-to-face activities. Before I update you on where we are up to it is always helpful to remember our purpose. As a church we want to be
It is a relevant faith that has sustained you through this pandemic and a relevant faith that will continue to carry you through as we re-commence. But the other parts of the purpose are really important. We need to be real and honest in all aspects of our life, with our church family, with our work and community and our home family. Being honest and open so that we can make a real difference in the communities that we are a part of. We were about half full last Sunday, so there is still room for more. For people that are unsure about returning just yet we continue to provide online material as well as a new live stream of the service on Sunday. Please work out how you will stay connected this week. As people start to return please don’t forget the daily practices, of ringing someone up and praying or reading the bible together. Lets not lose the good things that we have learnt during this time.
We will be talking to those classed as more vulnerable over the coming weeks about what will meet their needs and looking at how and if we may be able provide that. The Synod has just provided us with some further process resources to help with this. Thank you for your patience as we work things through. Know that your safety and well-being is of major concern for us. There was a very positive meeting with some of the small group, children and youth leaders talking about how we meet the government requirements under the COVID-19 restrictions. I feel that the conversation was fruitful and that will enable for planning for re-commencing in term 3. Thank you again to all the volunteers who offer leadership into these spaces. Without your help and dedication things could not happen. Currently we are still offering pre-prepared material online, live stream of the service as well as face-to- face so all up there is a tremendous amount of work being done behind the scenes. We are on the way back to face to face. It is being done in a staged way so that we can adequately manage and resource things and we do look forward to seeing you in the days ahead.
Rest of newsletter can be found [here](https://mailchi.mp/aef01392c9cf/weekly-newsletter)
Front and Center
Church on the Verandah
Acts chapter 5 is mainly remembered for Ananias and Sapphira - the early church members who purported to sell a property but withheld some of the money. They died when Peter confronted them about their deception. However, vs 12 - 16 give an amazing picture of the church and how they gathered as a Christian community. What can we learn from this Spirit filled community that informs our lives today?
Christians were gathering on a Colonnade (I'm calling it a verandah) on the side of the temple. Inside the temple are regular worshippers, worshipping in a very orderly way. They are blissfully ignorant to the change that Jesus has just brought and were carrying on as if nothing happened. Yet outside there were maybe thousands of Christians milling around, the sick were being miraculously healed by Peter and the disciples. This was a messy, chaotic scene. But maybe the most unsettling element of this scene was that God has escaped the confines of His Temple and was working powerfully outside! Gradually people come to acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God and join the chaos outside.
This jolts us to ask the question, "where is God at work?" He may not be where we expect Him to be. I recently read Tim Costello's latest memoirs, in which he recounts stories from his time as the Pastor of a church in St Kilda. He found himself living in a community of street workers, drug users and the homeless. A messy, chaotic scene, yet God was at work. Despite his respectable upbringing, Costello was alert to God's work in that place and was able to participate in it. Let's be on the lookout for God and the work of His Holy Spirit.
Returning to Worship Gatherings
Worshipping with other people is a life giving part of our Christian practice, and as we've seen in Acts, Christians have been gathering together for 2000 years.
The rules governing all types of businesses and gatherings have changed continually for the last three months during the COVID-19 pandemic. While we cannot predict future changes, we are now allowed limited worship gatherings, provided strict controls are in place. These include regular cleaning, social distancing, recording of worshipper's details, and allowing 7m2 per person (not 4m2). Due to a huge effort by the Church Council and Staff, we are able to restart a worship service from this Sunday (21 June at 9.30am) for a maximum of 80 people. Note that half will be seated in the hall and connected via video link. There is also the opportunity to connect to the service from home via video-conference. Please do not expect to return 'back to normal' on Sundays - almost every element has been affected to accommodate the current rules. This includes 'booking a seat' in advance. Once we have a service running we can start to think about other worship and activities - but we need to work through this gradually. The points following attempt to summarise what you need to know for Sunday - but please also carefully read the information that is provided when you register.
1. Our health comes first. If you're sick, stay home. If you're over 70 or a vulnerable person, consider staying home. Practice social distancing and good hygiene while at church. You can attend via video link by clicking [here](https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join/19%3ameeting_ZjM1MTA5NzEtY2ZlOC00YmMyLWJkNzItYzYwZWNiMDYwOTIz%40thread.v2/0?context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%2257d5551d-09e4-4408-83e4-a95b5eed5c01%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%22b931fbee-7ec3-4ae4-9907-65761155ffa4%22%2c%22IsBroadcastMeeting%22%3atrue%7d).
2. Be Prepared. Only 80 worshippers can be accommodated. You need to register for Sunday worship in advance, by clicking [here](https://emmanueluca.elvanto.com.au/form/650d5e50-a6e1-49b7-9501-c26d1aa7b8f5)registrations close at midnight Friday. Familiarise yourself with where you're sitting, which entry to use and where to park. You will receive an email once you've registered.
3. Give electronically. This reduces the risk for our volunteers. The banking details are available [here](https://emmanueluca.org.au/payments).
4. Help out where you can. Each section needs welcomers and cleaners every Sunday.
Recommencing Emmanuel Activities
We are so proud of the great ministry of our many church groups and activities, and how this ministry would be made easier with face-to-face meetings. With the easing of restrictions gradually underway, it is the right time to be planning how these meetings could occur. We need to keep in mind the safety of our group members and volunteers, the extra workload associated with cleaning meeting spaces, and the need to comply with a new set of rules.
The Church Council has met and discussed at length activities that could be restarted, and the additional controls required to meet Qld Health and Uniting Church Qld Synod requirements. Each activity will need a brief COVID plan approved by the Church Council. We are preparing templates to make this easier for our groups. To help guide group leaders through this information, and answer any questions you may have, we're holding a meeting at 7pm on Tuesday 23 June. This will be an electronic meeting held on Zoom. Please click [here](https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87622106741?pwd=RGxvczZRRGtDQS85aHYycU93TW9Edz09)to join the meeting.
Chair - Emmanuel UC Church Council
rest of newsletter can be found [here](https://mailchi.mp/eb78b34f2033/weekly-newsletter-1392916)
I am amazed each week and feel blessed by this church and its people. May I encourage you to continue with your daily spiritual practices. Ring someone each day from church and pray with them. You don’t need a special reason, just pray. While you are at it pray for us, your minister, pastors and Helen, for the church council, and for each other. Do a daily devotion, I have recorded one for you which is on the app, YouTube and Facebook. Some us others, ‘daily bread’, ‘with love to the world’, lection365, there are many options, please find the one that works for you. I am thankful for the people I work with and want to particularly give thanks for Jess, Dom and Helen, both for the amazing people they are and the awesome job they do. I am privileged to be a part of an amazing team. Similarly we have a great Church Council and I want to particularly mention the executive Nathan, Chris and Barry for the huge amount of work they put in.
We are currently working hard on when we may be able to have people return for Sunday worship. The government has brought out new guidelines and an industry plan for worship centres and we are currently working through that. We hope to have positive news about that in the near future. Thank you again for your continued commitment to this church community.
Click [here](https://mailchi.mp/78a410a7209c/weekly-newsletter)for rest of newsletter
Front and Centre
Welcome everyone and thank you for all the efforts you are making to stay connected to each other and connected to God. It continues to be an amazing response by our church community. It is gratifying to hear people appreciating the daily devotions and worship material and to hear of people praying together and reading the bible together. The current government guidelines allow for up to 5 people to visit your home, so people could consider inviting or visiting one other family to share worship. Those people in the vulnerable category need to consider carefully their own safety and well-being. In a couple of week’s the number of people allowed at home will be expanded. The Church building will still be closed, and the church leadership is working through what will be required to re-open. We hope this might be sometime in July but there will be restrictions and changes so it will not be ‘back to normal.’ As we work through the requirements we will keep you informed about what the new normal will be. There are a number of Synod and government requirements for any church groups, including Bible studies, that want to resume face to face. In short they will need Church Council approval, must keep records, must ensure physical distancing and meet cleaning and hygiene requirements. Please contact Helen who can help with this further.
We will be continuing to provide material to help people reflect each day as well as suitable worship material. This week is Pentecost Sunday and we will hear from the Rev David Baker, Moderator of the Uniting Church in Queensland. Thank you again for your continued support and encouragement.
to see rest of newsletter click [here](https://mailchi.mp/66102709717f/newsletter)
From the Families Pastor
As restrictions start to ease we are looking at how and when we can return to face to face ministry at Emmanuel but we are not ready just yet. We have and will continue to providing sermon and Dig in at Home materials and resources to equip, encourage, and engage families in Faith at Home. We pray that these have been helpful and would love to know and see how you are using them.
Due to copyright issues, we need to make the Dig in at Home materials available only to our Emmanuel Families and so need to change slightly how they are accessed. They will be in the same place at www.emmanueluca.org.au/devotions but will only be accessible by logging in to your account on our website or app. Accounts have been created for all Sunday School families who should have received an email with the log-in details for these this week. If you have not received this and would like to access these materials, please contact Jess on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0438 168 706.
Also, to provide an extra level of face-to-face participation and community engagement for our Sunday School families, we are going to host an online Dig in @ Home session using ‘Zoom’ to connect children and families of our congregation with each other, and with our regular Sunday School leaders and helpers. This session will be held on Sunday 31 May at 10am.
Information about this has also been sent to families this week. If you did not get it, please contact Jess.
To read the rest of the newsletter click [here](https://mailchi.mp/aff7439c6b39/newsletter)
Last week the Queensland government announced its road map to easing Queensland restrictions. As a church our strongest desire is to build and maintain community and so we remain committed to supporting people through our small group network as the base for our pastoral care and discipleship support. This will continue to be our emphasis as we move forward. Stage 1 commences this Sunday. Under stage 1 and 2 we will continue to record and offer worship resources through our web page, our app and [YouTube](https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3FKu0AdcO-Y4nR_BgxZC4A) (by the way if you haven’t yet please think about subscribing to our YouTube channel). Under stage 1 the church will still be closed and you are allowed to have up to 5 visitors to your home. Can I encourage you to think about inviting a friend or two to come over and share the worship material together. If you want to be really daring invite some friends and neighbours who are not church -goers to come to your home to share. Get together with a couple of friends and worship. It is important that people stay safe, and if you are concerned you do not have to but please do think about it. This phase will continue until the government changes. If things go well then we will move to stage 2. The earliest date for stage 2 is 12 June Stage 2 will involve up to 20 people gathering together. Our encouragement is for people to gather in their small groups for stage 2. Each group can work out which home is most suitable and the distancing and hygiene requirements must be met. Now is the time to start planning. For people not in a group Claire and I will be opening our home to host some people. Stage 2 will continue for at least four weeks, so I will come with a further update before then. For now thank you for your ongoing support, continue with your spiritual practices and stay safe
Newsletter link [here](https://mailchi.mp/73a9c908473f/newsletter)
This week's newsletter is [here](https://mailchi.mp/c3a104ae5c09/may-10-newsletter)