16 December Newsletter

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14 December, 2018

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.


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2 December Newsletter

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.

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18 November Newsletter

Welcome to everyone reading this newsletter. It is hard to believe we’re just five weeks out from our Community Christmas Carols event to be held on Sunday 23rd December from 5-8pm, with Sausage Sizzle, Bouncy Castle, Face Painting, etc., preceding Carols at 6:45pm. (Remember this will be the only service that day and replaces our Christmas Eve service), so services over the Christmas period will be:

Sunday 23rd Dec - Community Carols 5-8pm

Tuesday 25th Dec - Christmas Day – 8am

Sunday 30th Dec, 6th, 13th, 20th & 27th January - combined service at EPAC, 9:30am

As you can see the school have very kindly offered us the use of their air-conditioned Performing Arts Centre again for which we will no doubt be very grateful.

Thank you to everyone who was able to contribute to the consultation process. After an exhausting program the task now lies before the Church Council to discern any considerations and/or actions that should now be initiated. Please pray for us as we meet Monday night, 19th November.

If you liked the idea of a 15 minute interview to share your thoughts, I’d also love to offer that to anyone at anytime (subject to diary restrictions – please make appointments through the office). Please feel free to visit me at my office or I can certainly come to your home or even meet somewhere for coffee.

Speaking of the office, Helen’s partition wall went in on Wednesday so you will now notice a significant difference when you arrive at the offices but you are assured of the usual friendly welcome from Helen and the rest of the staff. I am very grateful for Helen’s “ad-ministry” amongst us – she is very much the oil that makes the machine work. Please do always include her in your prayers for the ministry team – she is our “frontline minister” and critical to so much of our mission and ministry.

I’ve also just confirmed that the painting of the offices will commence on 7th January with the carpet to follow. That means I’d be thrilled if a few folk could help me shift furniture on Thursday 3rd and/or Friday 4th January – I’ll even shout you some Subway for lunch!

Lastly today, I’d love you to join me out at Samford Valley Community Church next Saturday 24th November from 9-12. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association are providing some free training in sharing your faith naturally. Please let Helen know during office hours if you can make it. I know we’ve been busy but this training will set you up nicely for inviting people to our Carols and other events!

God bless, Ian.

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