Newsletter 2nd August

Front and Center

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

To read the rest of the newsletter please follow [this link](https://mailchi.mp/f57a167867e9/newsletter-1896795)

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Newsletter 26 July

Front and Center

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

Front and Center

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

Front and Center

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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Newsletter 5th July

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.

Brian

to view rest of the newsletter [click here](https://mailchi.mp/4636f5761696/weekly-newsletter-1892327)

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Newsletter 28 June

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.

Brian

Rest of newsletter can be found [here](https://mailchi.mp/aef01392c9cf/weekly-newsletter)

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Newsletter 21 June

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.

Regards,

Nathan Robertson

Chair - Emmanuel UC Church Council

rest of newsletter can be found [here](https://mailchi.mp/eb78b34f2033/weekly-newsletter-1392916)

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