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.
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.