There’s a lot of hype around the Victorian Roadmap, and high expectations. We read that 10,000 fully vaccinated people will be able to attend the Melbourne Cup: and we get excited. However, the reality is that the new freedoms are, in fact, very limited and are almost entirely directed at fully vaccinated people. We at Sanctuary are blessed to have a high ratio of children: but this means that many of our households include people who are not yet old enough to be vaccinated. Therefore, the leadership team has met to prayerfully consider the Victorian Roadmap, and to work through what it means for Sanctuary. Continue reading “Victorian Roadmap: Sanctuary’s response”
After our chat on Sunday, several people contacted me. They’d like to see, they said, more participation in the service: more people singing refrains; more kids producing artwork; more ways to make the service an expression of the body corporate. — To which all I can say is, ‘YES!’
So we spent most of last year switching and changing and cancelling and adapting and being flexible, and then kicked off this year doing the same thing. Urgency compelled this, but we need to pause, take a breath, and reflect together. Therefore, the leadership team invites you to a church conversation on Sunday 28 February, to be held in the carpark during our usual service time. Continue reading “What next? A conversation”
So it’s the new year, and we all hoped things would be different, and in some ways they are. We are no longer required to wear face masks in every public space; offices have returned to half capacity; restaurants and pubs are bustling. And so I know some of you are wondering when on earth we get to go inside the building. Unfortunately, the short answer is, ‘Not for a while yet.’ Continue reading “Why aren’t we inside yet?”
In this, our final Sanctuary email for the year, I invited one of our recent high school graduates, Ellen, to reflect. She writes:
As a (younger) kid I remember waiting eagerly all year for the Christmas Eve service at my church, as it meant I had a chance to stay up late and gorge myself on Christmas treats, getting home after midnight and barely sleeping until I remembered it was Christmas and thus obviously time for presents! This year is similar except instead of staying up late, I’m looking forward to the chance to sleep in, spend a relatively quiet Christmas with family I haven’t seen enough and celebrate an end of sorts to a crazy year.
People are asking, When do we get to gather physically as a church again? The short answer is ‘not for a while’ – and even when we do, we will be doing so outside. For the longer answer, read on.
we cannot be at a table with many friends;
we cannot be in a crowd.
But just as you heard the grumbling of the Israelites
and rained down food from heaven,
you hear our grumbling in the wilderness now.
You know our deepest hunger, and you feed us. Amen.
I know, I know, we’re all sick of COVID conversations. Yet as much as I’d like to bury my head in the sand and wait until it’s all over, from my reading of the situation COVID-19 is something we’re going to have to live with for months, and probably years, to come. Unless our government changes tack and aims for complete eradiction, the conditions of our lives will continue to be shaped by this highly infectious and dangerous disease. This leaves us with a choice. We can opt out, drugging ourselves with screens, alcohol and other distractions from our need of God and other people; or we can look squarely at the situation and wonder how to be church within the limitations of our historical moment. Continue reading “Reimagining church in a COVID world”
For churches grappling with the loss of physical gatherings and an uncertain future, the story of Jesus’ ascension provides a model for discernment. (Listen.)
Here at Sanctuary, yet again we have ‘gathered’ to worship via Zoom. It is wonderful that we are able to do this: To see each other’s faces and chat before and after the service; to lead each other through the liturgy; to hear the Word of God proclaimed; to pray together; and to be reminded that, through the power of the Holy Spirit which transcends time and space, we continue to be the church. Continue reading “How can we be fed by the body when the body as we know it has disappeared? The challenge for the church”
This passage follows on from a long list of ancestors in the faith: Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart … Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. (Hebrews 12:1-3, 12-13) Continue reading “#39: Cloud of witnesses”