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12th September 2021- 24th Ordinary Sunday

This is a special day in our church life as we celebrate the ministry of Kat Cowell among us over the last nearly three years. She is heading off on maternity leave from this coming week. (Although, when I say, “heading off”, she is not going far! She and Nigel will still be at their townhouse in St Jude’s Close. We look forward to welcoming their baby into our church community.) We will have a chance to reflect on the way Kat has encouraged us all in our trust in Jesus and led us to his throne in prayer, through her varied ministry in Sunday gatherings, among women, and through Kids’ Club, SRE and more. We’ll be thanking God for her, and praying for this exciting new phase.

This week is also the last instalment in our “Christian Life Inside-Out” sermon series. Can you guess which enormously emotion we still need to cover? That’s right! It’s Love.

The NSW Government announced on Thursday a “roadmap to freedom” from COVID restrictions. It opens up the possibility for churches to gather in-person (under the 4 square metre rule and with no singing) once at least 70% of NSW’s over-16 population is fully vaccinated. It is expected that NSW should reach this 70% threshold by mid-October.

Obviously, this is exciting news! The current lockdown has gone on much longer than anyone initially expected, and has really begun to take a toll on the mental wellbeing of many in community. We need to gather again in-person soon. Having said that, I have been encouraged by the steady growth in the numbers of people engaging in our online ministry, through Sunday services, email devotions and Tuesday Morning Prayer, as well as Simply Christianity and kids’ and youth activities online.

It is too early to say when we will return to in-person gatherings at St Jude’s. There are some clarifications we need from the government, and I want to have the Parish Council’s input on how we respond to them. Based on the announcements made so far, once the 70% threshold is reached, we would have to restrict entry to church (for over 16s) to those who are vaccinated. This would not be an ideal situation.

Could I urge you, if you’re able and comfortable to do so, to get vaccinated as a way of protecting the wider community and enabling us to return to normal as soon as we can. However, as Christians we must respect each other’s consciences, including over the issue of vaccination.

In brief:

  • Please pray for an Online Social Evening we are hosting for our Early Learning families this Friday night.
  • The roof renovations are really motoring along. I am so grateful to God for timing it to match this lockdown!
  • Don’t forget that you can financially support St Judes’ ministry by electronic means or by posting a cheque. (See below for details.)
  • We’re planning an Online Organ Recital. Details are coming soon.