Rev. Graham Sturdy
St Andrew’s by the Sea Uniting Church, Glenelg
We had unusually low numbers yesterday at worship. I am aware of the reasons why some were unable to gather. I hope the others of you remain well and we look forward to your presence among us soon.
I’ve attached the liturgy and reflection from yesterday for you as well as the notice sheet.
I would draw your attention to the upcoming Season of Lent which begins with Ash Wednesday on 2 March. Before COVID, we would observe the season together beyond worship with small group studies, shared meals, communion etc. It is hard to know what would be appreciated at this stage so I welcome your feedback. Please let me know what you would value and be able to commit to at this stage. We will need at least six people to make a group.
I found it heartening to be together for worship again after our recess. Some were unable to attend for health or other reasons. Attached you will find the liturgy, scripture reading, written reflection and prayers from yesterday.
If you haven’t seen it already, the new digital sign has been installed on Jetty Road. This sign was made possible by a generous gift from the estate of a St. Andrew’s member who passed away a few years ago. We discerned a sign that welcomed and informed the community beyond our doors was in keeping with this person and her service among us. Thank you to Morrie Croucher for his endurance with this project. Thank you, too, to Doreen Koh for making our inaugural slides with their fitting summer colour theme.
Attached is a worship resource for this week for those who wish to use it at home, by the shores of the beach, in a garden space, etc. Hopefully we can find a cooler spot in which to spend some time in prayer and contemplation.
Some have asked about gathered worship in February. The Leadership Council will meet on Thursday to make a decision and I will communicate with you shortly after. It is our hope that these weeks have given more of us the opportunity to get boosters and have encouraged limited communal activity during the worst part of the Omicron surge.
I hope you have been able to stay well over these weeks. I am aware of a few members of the St. Andrew’s community who have contracted COVID (and/or their family members). May their recovery be speedy.
Attached is a worship resource using the lectionary reading for this Sunday for those who find it helpful.
Even though over these years we’ve learned to be church and worship in our “scatteredness,” there is something valuable about being “gathered.” It is much like exercise for me. I know how to work out and have access to several types of routines for aerobic exercise, weight training, and stretching. But I greatly appreciate exercising with others. The community and encouragement I experience at my 6:00 am boxing fitness class is invaluable.
For this reason, it has been difficult for me to accept not gathering for worship during these weeks. But as ministry colleagues and community members become ill with COVID, I realise it is the wise decision.
Our food support service opened this week. We did not offer soup or coffee/tea but distributed fresh food and non-perishables only through the hall door into the courtyard. This enabled guests to remain outside and kept the exposure time more limited. Orange Sky returned today (thanks Nicky and co.!) and the orange van was a welcome sight. We will continue with this type of service through next week at least and the Board will consider when it is safe to resume our regular program.
I hope you and yours have been able to stay well as the COVID numbers continue to rise in South Australia. As we heard recently, we will be riding this wave of the pandemic for the next few weeks and we hope to ride it sensibly and safely.
As a result, we received a communication from the Synod regarding gathered worship and other activities at this time with some factors to help us determine whether or not to gather in person. The Leadership Council agreed not to gather for worship throughout January. We will resume gathered worship when numbers plateau.
Rev. Graham Sturdy prepared an order of service for this Sunday 9 January which is attached for you. He will prepare another at home resource for you for next week which I will email to you. Thank you, Graham, for preparing these for our community.
Please spread the word among your church friends, especially those who do not have email. A sign will be placed on the church door for any potential visitors.
I hope everyone is keeping well. The weather in recent days certainly offers us a lift.
Attached is the worship and reflection from this morning. We continue to make our way through the Letter to the Ephesians. It is a wonderful opportunity for us to consider the nature of what it means to be church and to renew our calling as the Body of Christ in this time and place.
Peace to you,
Rev. Christine Gilbert Minister of the Word St Andrew's by the Sea Uniting Church 92 Jetty Road, Glenelg SA 5045 P: (08) 8295 1771 E: [email protected]