As we continue to emerge from the shadow of COVID I have become more and more aware of the profound impact of the pandemic on our lives. While many aspects of life have more or less returned to some semblance of normal there is still a shadow over our hearts. So much energy has gone into managing the various aspects of this crisis – which was and continues to be important – but now there is some heart work to do. I believe there is a need to acknowledge what I (and we) have lost, to reflect on my (and our) journey as disciples; and to give thanks for the provisions I (and we) have received.
If you feel the same, can I encourage you to be intentional this Easter about doing some heart-work? We will be hosting a reflective service of healing on the 28th of March to facilitate part of this work and that might be a great place to start. Let us continue to press on as followers of Jesus and bring this last year to him and ask for his restoring and renewing work in our hearts and lives.
On Sunday, 21 March we will gather – both online and onsite – for our Annual General Meeting II. At this meeting, we will submit the annual report on 2020, the report on the start of 2021, and vote on the appointments of three people. First, Glenn Smith has agreed to stand for Treasurer on the Church Leadership Team. We will vote to appoint Glenn to this position. Second, the CLT, with the recommendation from the Pastoral Selection Committee, is proposing to appoint Matt Wills and Roxane Lawler to the pastoral team at GBC. This is, first and foremost, a recognition of their gifts, character, and calling to ministry. It also accompanies the shift of their roles from youth (Matt) and children (Rox) into wider leadership roles here at GBC.
I’d encourage you to read the associated paperwork for the AGM which includes the annual report but also a paper outlining all the staff changes including the proposal to appoint Matt and Rox to the pastoral team.
Please note that this appointment requires a 50% quorum of our membership to go forward with the vote. This is part of the reason we are making this meeting available online and onsite; to make it as easy as possible for our members to participate.
Earlier this year something happened in the Blue Mountains that hasn’t happened for a long time. Pink Flannel flowers began to bloom. These fire ephemerals, as they are called, only appear a year after both bushfire and rainfall. Their very presence – beautiful and fragile – speaks of fire and flood without which the flowers would not grow at all.
This image of regeneration a year after a tragedy is one that speaks powerfully into our situation almost a year after the COVID-19 lockdown began. As we approach this Easter and reflect on the resurrection we will be focusing our hearts and minds on the theme of regeneration.
Our Easter services offered both online and onsite, begin on March 28 when we will be hosting a reflective service of healing. Using the story of the Israelites as they prepared to enter the promised land we will reflect on our experience of the last year. It will be a different kind of service, but I believe it will be a significant opportunity for us to prepare for Easter.
On Thursday, 1 April we will host a Tenebrae service; a service reflecting on the darkness that descended on our Lord as he went to his death.
On Good Friday, 2 April we will remember the death of Jesus and its significance for us.
On Sunday, 4 April we will celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and the hope for regeneration that it provides for us.
We hope you join us for some or all of these services as we celebrate Easter this year.
At this point, the only service that requires pre-booking is our 10:30 onsite service and, from this weekend, only kids need to be booked in. This is due to our need to ensure that our safe room allocation and volunteer ratios are maintained.
This means that if you are planning to attend the 10:30 service but do not have children in KidZone or have children who can stay with you in the auditorium, you do not need to pre-book.
We will still ask you to check-in and we will be taking names of attendees for our records, but no pre-booking is required.
Hope to see you on Sunday!