Advent Greetings! May we all experience Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love especially amid the chaos that surrounds us.
As we approach Christmas we remember that God became a human being and lived amongst us â€“ not as one exempt from the pain of a world out of sync with Godâ€™s intentions, but as one who experienced all our pain and overcame it.
This year has been so challenging for many of us and we are not out of the woods yet. The economic effects of the COVID crisis will be with us for a while. It will take some time to recover. Of course, the virus is still very much a part of our lives and we need to continue to practice personal protective behaviour.
In the midst of all this, I am sure that, like me, you have lots to be thankful for.
â€œGive thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God
in Christ Jesus for you.â€ â€“ 1 Thessalonianâ€™s 5: 18
In one of the most challenging times of my life, I read the following: â€œIf you canâ€™t thank God for what you have received, you can thank God for what you have been spared.â€
We can truly, â€œGive thanks in all circumstances.â€
As church leaders, we are grateful that we have somehow coped financially this year. We are grateful to you for your ongoing support of Godâ€™s Mission & Ministry in our community. And, we are grateful to God that, despite lockdown and not being able to have physical worship services, we were still able to make a difference in the community around us and share Godâ€™s love with those in need.
Whilst we have coped financially (only just), we have depleted all our reserves, and our Circuit is seeing a shortfall of about R170, 000 which we have to try and make up.
It has therefore been agreed that there will be no salary increases across the board, and no bonuses will be paid. The ministers will continue with a 15% cut in their travel allowance.
Despite all this, in all circumstances, we give thanks and we trust that God will continue to provide for the Mission and Ministry we have been called to.
As has been our custom for the last few years, we would like to invite you to express your gratitude to God by making a special â€œThank Offeringâ€, over and above your normal giving if you are able.
We were unable to do the planned â€œMini Marketâ€ this year, and so would ask you to consider what you might have spent at such a function and include that in your offering (again, if you are able).
If possible please make use of online banking payments (EFT’s). Our bank details are:
Methodist Church of Southern Africa – Bergvliet Society
First National Bank: Plumstead
Account number: 6218 039 9381
Branch code: 201109
Please use the reference: â€œThank Offeringâ€.
If you are not able to use EFTâ€™s then please place your gift in an envelope marked, â€œThank Offeringâ€ and either drop it off at the office or in the offertory box on Sunday or contact the office to arrange for someone to collect your gift.
We would also like to invite you to send an email to the church office email@example.com telling us what you are grateful for. These will be collated and used in our worship services and online as an expression of our gratitude as a church community.
With regards to Christmas services, we have to accept that Christmas will be very different this year. Large gatherings are not safe especially during the current spike in infections. I encourage you to avoid large gatherings and maintain all the COVID protocols.
The Christmas services will be as follows:
|Crib Service|| 24 Dec @ 18h00
(aimed mainly at young children but all welcome)
|Christmas Day||08h00 (in the Church Hall)|
Booking is essential as seating is limited. Please contact the church office firstname.lastname@example.org or 021 715 3045 before 24 Dec to book.
These services will be recorded and posted online (once edited) for those not able to attend physically.
The church office will close on the 24th December and re-open on Monday 4 January.
There will be no services on Sunday 27 December and 3 January. Services will commence again on 10 January both in-person and online.
I will be on leave from 26 Dec â€“ 4 Jan but I will be available for pastoral emergencies.
I pray that you will have a blessed Christmas despite all the changes and that you will be safe and well.
Grace & Peace
(on behalf of the Exec)