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New Year update 2022

A short devotion and some important news for the year ahead

Bruce Stanley

January 4, 2022

Happy New Year!

This year, we are about to begin a teaching and preaching series on the Gospel of Luke. The Bible studies will be available at the beginning of February as school term 1 begins. But as we begin the year, and I just share with you a few helpful notices, can I encourage you with these words which begin the Gospel – from Luke 1:1-4

Luke 1:1-4

1Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

Luke wants to write down what has been handed down from eyewitnesses. He has carefully investigated it all and writes so people will be able to read this with certainty. This is a fantastic aim for us as a Church this year – to hand down the gospel with certainty. It would be an amazing goal for each of us this year to read Luke’s gospel carefully as we start 2022, so we can be absolutely sure of what we know and believe, and so we can pass it on to the next generation, and the next, and the next.

After such a disruptive 2 years, I pray we can re-focus and re-align our lives with the certainty that Jesus offers us. This is a year not to hold back, and not to be shy or timid in sharing the gospel. People are hungry for meaning and truth and it would be an absolutely great thing if they were to find it here, in our congregations. Let’s pray that this might be the signature of 2022 for us.

Special new year announcements

I will be on leave from January 5 until January 27.

During my absence, Rev Greg Burke will serve 2 days a week as locum and can be contacted by email or phone.

Greg Burke

greg@stphils.org.au

0409 284 580

Many of our staff team are catching up on leave accumulated over the past two years as we prepare for all that God has planned for us in 2022. Thank you for your continued prayers for our staff team and for ALL who serve and minister in our church every week, paid or unpaid, full time or part time, young and old. I have been overwhelmed with many emails and passing comments assuring prayers for our church. It is truly an important ministry, so please keep going in prayer every day! 

Staffing

Please pray in particular for our staff vacancies. We are seeking to employ a full-time Assistant Minister across the Parish (living on site at Ermington), as well as a part-time Women’s Pastoral worker (3-4 days per week).

Covid

You will be aware that Covid has sadly not yet finished its run. It is still among us and there are many different responses from the public, from health professionals and from our governments over how worried we should or should not be. Please be understanding of one another. There are members of our church congregations who have tested positive over the past month. It is important to know what is required when this happens. So let me briefly explain it, but you can always ask myself or Greg if you need more information.

If you test positive for Covid-19 and believe that you have been at church whilst positive:

  • Please email bruces@stphils.org.au or greg@stphils.org.au (whilst I am away) and let us know:
    • The date you were at church
    • Which service or group you attended
    • Who you were sitting close to in the service, or if in a church room, every person who was in that room
    • Anything else it would be helpful for us to know (such as if you have tested positive from a PCR test or a RAT - rapid antigen test)
  • What we will do:
    • We will keep your name private.
    • We will inform those who were close to you on that day to monitor for symptoms and get tested if unwell.
    • If you attended a service, we will email the congregation you attended and let them know that someone who attended the service tested positive for Covid.
    • We will aim to keep in contact with you to ensure you are being cared for. This is especially important for those who are living alone. Please let us know if you need assistance.

Close contacts:

The definition for close contacts is often changing. Currently, unless you are in a closed space with a Covid positive person for more than 4 hours, you are not considered a close contact. Therefore, in most church cases, you will not be required to self-isolate for church related incidences. You will only need to monitor for symptoms and get tested if they present.

We need to get used to this way of life for a while. You will likely find many more family and friends having positive Covid results over the next months. We continue to minimise risk where possible at church. Note the following for our current plans:

  • You must QR check in each time you come on site.
  • You must wear a mask indoors if 12 and over.
  • We are limited to 1 person per 2 square metres (about 142 people in the church or large hall at a time is our maximum – we are fortunate to have lots of room!)
  • We continue to try and keep services to one hour.
  • We open windows where possible and keep air conditioning on.
  • We sanitise hands on entry and avoid physical contact.
  • We physically distance where possible.

If you have any questions, please check for latest updates on the government website:

NSW Covid information

NSW website: https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19

If in doubt about church activities, please contact the office so they can put you in contact with the right person. office@stphils.org.au

Looking forward!

Finally, let me encourage you once more to prepare a daily Bible reading and prayer plan for the year ahead. It is a fantastic way to continue to be influenced by God each day as we serve him.

God bless, and I look forward to serving alongside you in 2022, as we aim to glorify God in every household and every generation!

With love and prayers for the year ahead,

Bruce Stanley

Rector

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    St Philip's Eastwood Anglican Church

    Cnr. Shaftsbury Rd & Clanalpine St, Eastwood NSW 2122

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