Welcome to Everyone and a special welcome to our good friend Paul Jones (from Trinity College) who will be preaching today on two very familiar parables, the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin, which I will be following up on with next week’s sermon on the Lost Son.
As always, there are follow-up questions contained inside this newsletter which should help you: dig a little deeper; and think about how to apply what you learn and make some life-transforming decisions!
We have two significant events coming up in the last quarter of the year. Chronologically, we have the “Life & Witness Consultation” taking place from 2nd – 11th November. This is a larger consultation than usual with Carolyn Kitto facilitating review and planning as we prepare to move further into the discipleship/mission quadrant. This will be preceded by our upcoming combined service on 21st October, (followed by congregational meeting which we will use to introduce and pray for the themes of the consultation). Please put this dates in your diary as markers and be prepared to be interviewed and otherwise engaged in workshops and training. It’s my first one so I’m looking forward to seeing how it all works and have high expectations for setting directions for the next 4-5years.
In addition, I had a meeting last week with a working group of people who are helping me create a Community Christmas Carols event for this year. At our last Church Council meeting we agreed to hold this event on Sunday 23rd December in place of our usual Christmas Eve service. So that means our Christmas services for this year will be:
Sunday 23rd December, 5-8pm – Community Christmas Carols
Tuesday 25th December, 8am – Christmas Service
The idea behind the Community Christmas Carols is to invite a number of choirs from our church and wider community to lead us in a carol-singing service preceded by a sausage sizzle and fun activities for families (Bouncy Castle, etc). The Carols will begin at about 6:45pm. We will start small this year and, God-willing, look to expand in coming years. This will be an ideal event to invite friends and family who don’t normally come to our church. We are expecting about 300 people to attend! Please pray for the organisation and good attendance of this event.
Meanwhile, in the next month, you can expect to see a structural change in the administration area. This was approved sometime ago by Church Council but we are now not far off having a partition wall (part solid, part glass) built in front of our reception desk which will include a lockable door, a service window and ledge (for writing forms etc). After that we may be looking for some volunteers to paint . . .
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.