We acknowledge the original custodians, the Wadawurrung people of the Kulin alliance, of the land on which our buildings of worship stand and on which we gather.
& THE COMING WEEK
|But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said” (Matthew 28, 5-6). |
As we celebrate Easter, we convey to you with joy the traditional Christian greeting: “Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!” I share this message at a difficult time in the lives of many peoples, churches and nations. This year, we observed Easter for the second time in a challenging context amid painful situations.
Many of our people are experiencing fear and uncertainty, as well as trauma, separation, isolation, loss of hope, or sickness and death in their families or in their church communities. The COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected the whole world, also affected the way Easter was celebrated. To protect our own lives and those of others, many of us celebrated Easter again and met with the Risen Lord “behind closed doors” (John 20,19-20). Yet, despite these traumatic and painful situations, the message of Easter shines.
The Risen Lord is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8). Easter is a reminder and encouragement that God in Christ continues to love and care for the whole world, overcoming death with life, conquering fear and uncertainty with hope.
The tomb is empty; Christ is Risen!
Throughout the centuries, the Easter greeting ”Christ is risen!” has always infused Christians with the power and courage to confront death, destruction, oppression end enslavement, fear, doubt and uncertainty. As we are confronted today with the challenges of COVID-19, we assure you that we are united with you in prayers and in affirming together our common faith and hope in the Risen Lord: “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:55, 57).
(From Ioan Sauca, World Council of Churches)
The Rev. Dr David Merritt wrote in this month’s newsletter for the Progressive Christian Network:
“Alan Finkel, who was recently Australia’s chief scientist, in his new optimistic and powerful book Getting to Zero, Australia’s Energy Transition started with a quote from Buckminster Fuller; “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
The words have stuck in my mind. They can be applied to so many aspects of society that concern us; how to keep in our lives some of the good things we discovered when we couldn’t live as we usually did before the pandemic, how to reduce violence against women.
They also echo one of the wise sayings that guide many progressive Christians: How we live is more important than what we believe. They could be a guide to church groups whose dwindling numbers are signs of a model that used to work well but is helpful to fewer people each year.
It is about how our values change over time. For example, it provides a way to think about moving on from earlier expressions of Christianity that supported evils like slavery, a myth of exclusive male leadership, the submission of women by men, cruelty to LBGTIQ people, repression of healthy sexual expression, myths of white racial superiority, support for colonial invasion and oppression of indigenous peoples – a list that could be extended.
Progressive Christianity is about a developing model for how to live that is guided by the Way of Jesus – perhaps more accurately about many models of how to live that take account of how diverse we humans are after around 200,000 years since the first modern humans appeared in the great story of the evolution of life on this planet. How to live better lives is an attractive and energising and significant task that we share.”
Changes in our Sunday gatherings
It’s no longer necessary to book seats for the Sunday worship services unless the Covid restrictions change. We can seat 75 in the chapel provided everyone is signed in electronically (QR code).
- The requirement to maintain 1.5 metres space between individuals or household groups remains in place and when this is not possible masks are to be worn.
- Hand sanitiser is provided on entry and the worship space and other common areas are thoroughly cleaned before and after worship by a team of volunteers.
- Our worship services will continue to be recorded and added to the private Facebook group.
Thank you everyone for your patience
Morning Tea is back!
Morning Tea after church is back! Please contact Judy O’K if you would like to volunteer to prepare and serve morning tea after the Sunday services in the coming months (following Covid safe rules, of course).
OSLO (Occasional Sunday Lunch Out)
Next Sunday 25 April at 12 noon at the Kooringal Golf Club Altona. Everyone is welcome. Please contact Lorna or Elaine before Thursday 22 April for booking.
Forthcoming building works at church
As announced last Sunday, the builders will need to remove the ramp at the back of the church to get to the foundations underneath the back wall. They also outlined that they would want about a 5 meter clearance from the building to use their heavy equipment. This makes our congregation members who use the car park not able to enter through the back door and would have to walk the long way round through the boom gate.
They expect the work to be carried out within a five week period. Rebuilding of the brick wall would not be required at this stage as they feel by lifting the foundation the cracks in the brick wall will come closer together and may only need to have mortar replaced. It is anticipated that internal walls will develop cracks when they lift the floor and there will be need for rework inside the building together with painting. At the time of writing, the starting date has not been determined. The cost of the works is anticipated to be borne by the proceeds of sale of the Little River property. Thanks to the Property Control Group for their continuing good work in maintaining our property.
What’s On This Week
- Monday: 9.30 am Playgroup @ Crossroads
- Thursday: 8 pm Home Group @ Crossroads
- Friday: 5 pm African Youth Sunday: 12 pm OSLO
Worship Plan for this coming week
25 April 2021
Acts 4:5–12; I John 3:16–24; John 10:11–18; Psalm 23
- Greetings: Sandra S
- Flowers: Bev C
- Music: Asanka P
- Audio-visual: Noel S
- Online service: Lauren D
- Prayers of the People: Sandra S
- Reader: Bev L
- Sign-in: Lauren D & Bev L
- Cleaning: Lauren D & Bev L
Housekeeping & Help
Pastoral care will be maintained during these difficult days but it is subject to the rules regarding access to hospitals and aged care homes.
Please contact Rev. Annetia Goldsmith for any pastoral care needs.
CHURCH OFFICE INFORMATION
The church office is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 9.30am to 12 noon.
Telephone 03 9741 1084. Postal address is PO Box 2156 Werribee 3030.