Newsletter 2nd August

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31 July, 2020

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Hello everyone, wherever you are reading this. What a crazy season of life we have and are still experiencing this year. It’s definitely not what I had planned – and not even what I thought God would plan, yet here we are in the midst of a global pandemic.  

Last week Brian mentioned that we are looking to be more intentional about what and why we do things at Emmanuel. As we plan for and resume face to face ministries and sort out what we can do within the current limitations, we need to keep these questions forefront, and let them help steer what we do.  

In restarting our children’s ministries (including Boy’s and Girl’s Brigade, Playgroup and Sunday School), we have determined that relationship is more valuable than activities and so are pivoting the things that we do to work within that framework. It means that some of what we do and how we do it will be different. 

In Sunday School in particular, we are pivoting to focus on intentionally building intergenerational- and peer- relationships and so what we do will reflect this. We will spend more time sharing, reading, talking, praying, and blessing and less time completing arts and crafts and playing games (which we need to limit in a Covid-safe environment anyway).  

I’m really excited about this, and about what it means for faith development and cultivating a culture of everyday discipleship. I’ve been recently listening to podcasts on discipleship by Caesar Kalinowski (by the way, they are great you can check them out at https://everydaydisciple.com/) and in of them he said: “The Kingdom of God expands at the speed of relationship… and the Gospel moves along the pathways of trust”. How exciting to think that the Kingdom of God will expand with the speed that we build the relationships that are we are now intentionally working to build in our community. 

One difficulty that we do and will continue to face in this area though, is lack of volunteers across all our ministry areas. Currently in Sunday School we do not have enough adult volunteers to be able to safely run it every week, and so we must find some extra people willing and committed to help in this space. If you feel this is a space that you might be able to step into, please don’t wait to be asked, but speak to a member of the ministry team to offer your support and assistance, in any ministry area. We can provide you with more detailed information on serving opportunities when you ask. 

God Bless, 

Jess 

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Newsletter 26 July

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As I indicated last week Emmanuel is on the journey to return to more face to face meetings. It was exciting to have more than 60 people in church last Sunday. Given that our maximum number is just over 70 in the church we may need to use the foyer as an overflow area. What a good problem to have. Church Council met on Monday night and approved some important decisions to moving forward. Firstly Sunday School returns this Sunday. I know that Jess and others have been working hard and this is an exciting moving forward. Secondly 8am will re-start and have 2 services in August. Commencing with a communion service on 2 August and then a fortnight later on 16 August.

A decision will be made then as to how we proceed from there and whether we return to weekly services. The 8am service on 2 August will also include a morning tea. Due to COVID there will be slightly different rules. People must be seated, there will be no self-serve but a couple of volunteers will serve people. The third decision made by Church Council was to allow groups including small groups to return to meeting on-site. Government legislation requires that a risk assessment is done for each activity and that the re-start is approved by Church Council so contact Helen for details or follow the link below. Groups will be encouraged to think about how they minimise the risk to their people and how the cleaning regime is managed. Some groups and people will decide that they are not ready to re-start yet and that is fine. Keeping safe and feeling safe is vitally important. Regardless of any individuals decision to return to face to face it is important that people stay safe and that we continue to find ways to stay connected. Another part of the Church Council meeting was to continue to explore how we create and encourage a culture at Emmanuel that encourages us to grow disciples. We would like to be more intentional about aligning what we do with our vision and mission statements. The reason we have small groups and Boys and Girls brigade and other activities is that we want to grow people in their faith and in a closer relationship to Jesus. Amidst all of the extra work involved we must continue to remember why we do things.

Brian

For rest of newsletter [click here](https://mailchi.mp/ccba6542dae5/newsletter-1895467)

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Newsletter 19th July

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Queensland, and Emanuel UC are starting to return back to face to face events and out of lockdown. Worship has re-commenced. Boys' and Girls' Brigade and Playgroup have started, so have some small groups, and Church Council will be discussing the resumption of Sunday School and the 8am service next week. Amidst all of this activity there is a lot of extra paperwork going on in the background to approve activities starting back. So it’s really important to remember what we are here for. The church is in the people business. We are about relationships. Our relationship with each other and ultimately our relationship with God. In the period of lockdown we have tried to emphasise the importance of maintaining relationships. Now as we return to face-to-face, building and strengthening those relationships becomes just as crucial. Please try and take the time to continue to build important relationships. Our programs exist to provide the opportunity for relationships to build. They do not exist as an end in themselves. In Emmanuel’s purpose document we talk about Growing Disciples who Exalt, Explore, Embody, and Engage. As part of Engage it is about having at least one intentional relationship where, we will share our faith, believing that God will lead the other person to faith in Jesus Christ. As we return to the new ‘normal’ please pray about who that is and continuing to pray into that space and building that relationship.

Brian

To read the rest of the newsletter [click here](https://mailchi.mp/531e0cde075d/newsletter-1894963)

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Newsletter 12th July

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Welcome everyone. It was great to see so many of you last week, and hopefully more next week. As you are probably aware Queensland has gone to Stage 3 of easing COVID restrictions. Please continue to uphold in prayer the state of COVID in Queensland and also the efforts in Victoria and the other states as things develop further. As is apparent we must continue to be vigilant and protect each other. So our key messages have not changed.

1. Stay safe - Our health comes first. If you're sick, please stay home. If you're over 70 or a vulnerable person, consider staying home. Practice social distancing and good hygiene while at church. We will have a video-link available for those who cannot attend

2. Be Prepared. Stay connected and read the information that comes out so that you know what is going on.

3. Give electronically. This reduces the risk for our volunteers. The banking details are available here.

4. Help out where you can. This does make things a little bit easier for us all.

The rules have eased so you do not need to register, however we do need to check and have updated details of everyone who attends worship in case there is an outbreak and the government require it. The cleaning regime has also eased so cleaning now happens after every usage but Saturday clean will no longer be required at this stage. Cleaning after church still has to happen and we appreciate the people volunteering to assist. However we do not have to spray the soft chairs every week, only the arms and backs of them.

If you are at all uncertain or vulnerable you are encouraged to use the electronic links. Note you are still allowed to come to church, and you will be welcomed if you do. We want you to feel safe and confident. If you want to come please come but do be aware of the risk involved.

Boys and Girls Brigade will be starting back this week. Discussions are happening around Sunday School and the 8am service to work out the best way forward. Some small groups have started back. All of this is exciting but I am also aware that it only took a small number in Victoria for things to quickly jump out of control so please be careful and uphold everything in prayer. We do look forward to seeing you soon.

Brian

to view rest of the newsletter [click here](https://mailchi.mp/86affe6d718f/newsletter)

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