A Time Of Exile And Refining
God says, “Fear not for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name, you are mine.” – Isaiah 43:1b
Our world was built on an illusion. We thought we knew how things worked. We thought we had an idea of where things were going. But all it took was something microscopic and invisible to change everything. The pandemic has exposed our lack of control – it is taking so much from us.
When people are in shock or grieving, they react in all sorts of strange ways. We will all be experiencing some shock or grief. It is important to not rush to control everything and protect only ourselves. It is important not to gorge on the news and lose all perspective. We need to be attentive to our feelings of grief so we can bring them in prayer to God. This is not a time to pretend you are fine. It is a time to connect with a partner in prayer and admit what’s troubling you. If we are attentive to this, then God can use this time do deepen us in wonderful new ways!
How Immanuel Is Changing
Church Council met last night and finalised our approach to this crisis. Our priorities are still love. Our core values won’t change. We will continue caring for people physically and spiritually. So much incredible work has happened in our church community this last week. There is too much to tell. I constantly hear wonderful stories of how Immanuelites are helping people. This is our basic plan…
No Physical Worship Gatherings
The Prime Minister has closed all worship venues across the country. For now we can’t hold worship services. The government’s decision is wise and good – it will save lives. Hold on! This is only temporary.
Sunday 11.00am LiveStream
We have made things much simpler: just go to our website on Sunday and click on ‘livestream’.
If you join FaceBook you can also watch there and comment and type in questions. During the livestream we will also have a phone number you can TEXT your comments and questions to.
We have designed this to be specifically for the Sunshine Coast. It’s still us and so it will be intergenerational, relationship focussed, and totally centred on Jesus Christ. But it won’t just be like a church service because that won’t work so well in LiveStream. The first half will include a lot of variety, a sermon, and prayers. The second half is live questions and answers.
Setting Up A Sacred Space
We are asking all Immanuel attenders to all do something special. Please set up a ‘sacred space’ in your home. This is something that will remind you constantly that Jesus is with you. Find a corner, nook, coffee table, or space that you can set apart. A table is good and can be made into an altar: a place to focus you on Jesus Christ. Place on it things such as a Bible, photos of those you love, a picture, some flowers, or special things.
Most importantly, get a CANDLE!
At very least, please have a candle ready before joining our LiveStream at 11.00am Sunday.
Please don’t light the candle before the LiveStream starts. We will all light them at the same time across the Sunshine Coast. Wait for Pastor Doug’s instructions on Sunday morning.
You’re welcome to send in photos of your sacred space via email to email@example.com . We ask your permission so show some of these photos on our website or in our LiveStream.
Virtual Office Open Monday to Friday 9.00am to 3.00pm
Our physical church office will not be open. You can still ring us anytime on our office number and it will be diverted to either Pastor Matt, Pastor Doug, or Patti McInnes.
We will always attempt to answer during office hours. At other times we may get back to you.
If You Have An Emergency
Call our office number and it will go to someone alive and real!
As normal, Pastor Matt and Pastor Doug remain available in genuine emergencies.
Care Of Those In Need
Pastor Doug has restructured our Immanuel care system. We have 148 households currently in a category of need. Many willing volunteers have come forward to support them! We will continue to need more volunteers to call them on the phone, have a conversation, and offer a prayer for them.
In the current crisis, visiting of the vulnerable and elderly may spread the virus. So our team have changed all non-urgent care and support to phone calls.
During this time we ask you to obey all State and Federal Government directions: www.health.gov.au .
If the government rules change, Immanuel will do whatever they require. At the moment the guidelines mean that our Life Groups should not be meeting physically. This may change, so please keep an eye on the current regulations. We strongly discourage groups from meeting physically. If your Life Group needs resources, support, or ideas, please call our coordinator Victoria.
Our youth ministry have innovated so much. Please do watch their great video explaining the changes – it’s on our website and Facebook feed. Our youth leaders are prioritizing relationships, making contact with teens, and are producing wonderful content to engage teens.
Our budget was going wonderfully. But Church Council expect some difficulties in the coming time as 55% of our offerings are normally given physically in the Sunday morning offering. So far in this crisis, all of our church staff have worked far too hard; supporting those in need, coaching leaders, praying with those who are fearful, helping the vulnerable, preparing a feast of LiveStream worship and organising us all to be able to work through this coming time.
Immanuel Church still needs your offerings. We need you to be generous now and give what you can (also not forgetting to give to the poor around you and the two-thirds world). If you previously gave in cash then we need to you give electronically or phone your bank to arrange a deposit.
Direct deposits to BSB: 704942 ACCOUNT: 47508
NAME: Immanuel Lutheran Church Buderim
Or go to www.ichurch.net.au and donate by clicking on offering.
Direct deposits are more helpful as we pay fees on offerings that come via our website.
If You Need Help
If you need help (for instance groceries or help getting shopping) please do ask. Please be honest about your needs. Our aim with the prayer & care phone ministry is to find out who needs what. But if you’re hurting we need you to let us know.
We Are In This For The Long Haul
We don’t know what comes next. We never did. But we know that our community is likely to face loss in coming months. It will be frustrating to not be able to gather together. But we are in this with you. We may experience physical isolation, but we will not (knowingly) let anyone in our community experience social or spiritual isolation. We are going to walk together through this time – together with each other and with the Holy Spirit making us one. We will stick together through this time of trial. And on the other side of it we will sing for joy. We will sing together for joy like never before!
May God’s grace and peace be with you all.
Matt Thiele, Lead Pastor