If you have been watching with alarm as Christmas rapidly approaches, it is with good reason! This is Advent Sunday, the fourth Sunday before Christmas. The season of Advent encourages us to re-live the patience and hope of those who waited for God to fulfil the promises made through the prophets, by sending his Messiah at the first Christmas. It is a time to feel afresh our need of God’s mercy and grace, to which the incarnation of the Son of God is the only true answer.
Our vision at St Jude’s is to fill the church with disciples of Jesus Christ. With this in mind, six weeks ago, I began holding “focus groups” with various people from inside and outside our church, to hear their thoughts on how we can better reach the whole Randwick community with the gospel. We’ve held five of these discussions so far, and I’d like to hold more, and make it a regular part of what we do.
The discussions confirmed for me that we ought to continue with the strategy of including an informal service in our mix of services, while retaining our formality in the morning. However, church is about more than merely attending a service; it is about being in a community of people who love one another because Christ loved us (1 John 4:19). Outsiders are attracted to that loving community as much as to the service itself.
As a result, we are now working towards starting up a new service on Sunday afternoons, an all-ages informal service.
It will be for everyone from children, youth, young adults and everyone else. The exact details need to be worked out with the team of people we will gather to begin the service, but an indicative time would be 4 pm and an indicative start date is August 2021. It will involve closing the evening service, but it’s not a change of timeslot; it is a new service. It is very exciting to be doing something new!
The coming months will be a time for conversations with the people we are prayerfully hoping to gather into this new group. My earnest desire and prayer is that many of these will be people who are not yet attending St Jude’s, whether they are Christians who have been without a church home, Randwick locals who would consider joining us from other churches in this new venture to reach this community, or people who will come to Christ for the first time.
The natural assumption is that those who currently come to St Jude’s in the morning are quite content. There is no need for that to change. But there are ways to be involved. Firstly, please pray for this new gospel initiative. Secondly, consider helping, for example, in the creche or children’s ministry. Thirdly, for any who are attracted to being part of the new congregation, let’s talk about it!
- Thank you again to everyone who sent an Operation Christmas Child shoebox. St Jude’s sent a total of 48, which was a brilliant effort!
- It’s three weeks until Carols at St Jude’s: Sunday 13th December 4 pm. It will be a great fun event.
- Christmas will be the usual busy time, with Lessons and Carols on Sunday 20th December at 7.30 pm, Christmas Eve Family Carols at 6 pm, and Communion at 11 pm, as well as church on Christmas morning.