Glynn and I would like to firstly extend our appreciation for the welcome we have been given to Port, particularly given the difficult circumstances that face all of us. Please be assured of our prayers for you at this time.
After a couple of weeks of travelling across Australia, mostly camping on our way, we are working our way through what seems like a mountain of boxes and bemoaning the reality that we have too much ‘stuff’, despite our attempts to downsize before we left! We are also looking forward to getting to know you and fellowshipping with you in the times to come.
The Corona virus certainly makes for a strange beginning into a new congregation. Over the past week I have been working with the Council and staff to try and address creatively the issues that face us, along with all churches.
We have been working at a number of levels. Firstly, the updating of attenders contact lists so that we can try and ensure that no one gets missed in the days to come. This will also include finding preferred contact methods (mobile, home phone, email, postal, video) for sharing of information, worship services and pastoral care.
Second, we will be providing some daily material for your reflection over the coming weeks which will be included with the mailout of the newsletter starting next week.
Third, we will be providing a worship service in online format. Initially, at least, this will be a link to a video which can be viewed at home on a computer or tablet. We will also explore additional options that will cater better for those for whom the technology might be too challenging.
We would welcome your support and feedback as we work to do church differently in a way that continues to build the congregation at Port in its mission and ministry.
While it can be difficult to know what we can do in these difficult times, one thing the church has always been good at in times of crises is caring for their neighbour. Whether it be the early church caring for the sick and dying when plagues and epidemics swept the countryside or whether it be hiding Jews to save them from the death camps in WW 2, the church has always been at the forefront of compassionate actions out of their love for God and their neighbour. Can I encourage you to look out for opportunities to love your neighbour, be they the person literally next door or another church member or someone down the street?
I read today one suggestion for us all. With the emphasis on hand washing, there have been suggestions for rhymes to repeat while washing. Well, the Lord’s Prayer takes about 20 seconds to pray, so you might like to pray that each time you wash your hands, to take that time to pray for the challenges the world is facing.
Psalm 46 in verse 6 is a succinct description of the current state of the world.
The nations are in chaos, and their kingdoms crumble!
But further on in the Psalm, verse 10, we read
Be still, and know that I am God!
These familiar words which serve as a reminder in the midst of the chaos, if we still ourselves, that we can enter a place of encounter with the living God despite the chaos around.
To finish with, please don’t hesitate to contact me (0417 93 257 or firstname.lastname@example.org) about any pastoral needs or concerns, or just to simply say hello.