I have found it encouraging and inspiring that in a time of crisis you as God’s people have stepped up in all sorts of ways.
You have mobilised teams, learnt new skills and used each other’s gifts, reached out creatively, and looked for opportunities to make contact and show care for people, especially those who may have been impacted or are struggling the most.
I have witnessed a new energy and a passion to make sure everyone has access to the word of God in their hands, homes and on their screens, in order to sustain faith and life outside a church building – how good is that!
Some aspects of our pastoral care for each other have even been enhanced during this time, as has our witness to our communities in new ways with new creativity. All of that has taken a lot of energy and in some cases brought with it new stresses.
I have also been encouraged that at a time of crisis people have literally looked to what we have been offering as churches online, for comfort and hope. Churches all over the world have wondered what we may be learning from that for the future.
I thank you, and I thank God for you, and for your faith, hope, love and witness during this challenging time.
The church historically has often thrived in and through crisis, so it shouldn’t surprise that God is working among us and through us at this time too.
What will all that mean once we start to reconnect physically, even in smaller numbers initially? Will it be ‘business as usual?’
The SA Premier indicated that the way back into our churches will need to be cautious and staged. Thankfully more can be present at funerals, but even there I was able to ‘attend’ a funeral interstate online that I would not otherwise have been able to, which was a blessing.
I am confident you will all handle the road ahead with the same faithfulness, responsibility and creativity that you exited our buildings with. Along the way please look out for those who may be most vulnerable for all sorts of reasons as time goes on.
Our 2020 Convention of Synod theme was an appropriate choice, not anticipating today’s context when we chose it. “The hope we have” – 1 Peter 3:15.
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”
God bless you as you continue to share Jesus as the reason for the hope you live with, and as we share together as his church, whatever our circumstances. I look forward to seeing you again soon.
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