Important message from our Lead Pastor, Nathan Bell.

Hi everyone,

These are very interesting times we’re living in. I don’t think anyone could imagine a time when we wouldn’t be able to meet together as a church family in 2020. Yet here we are.

For some of you, the future is very uncertain. I’m aware of some within our family who are facing possible job losses, some who own businesses who are wondering what the future is for them, and others with health vulnerabilities who may be concerned about the potential impact on them. May I just say, it’s ok to be concerned. It’s good and ok for our country and even the church to fight back. It’s ok to take drastic precautions. It’s good for the government to do all that they can to keep us safe and the economy moving. Concern is normal and ok.

Jesus showed concern. The disciples showed concern. But in the midst of everything, we have the wonderful gift of Hope in Jesus. We know he is with us because he promised us that. We know whatever happens our eternity is secured. We know nothing can seperate us from his love.

We also have each other. We have the wonderful gift of a wider church family that can support each other with practical and emotional support, and to liM each other up. My hope is that in this time we have a new opportunity to extend that into our community. More on that below.

The Elders met last night and talked through many things and we want to keep you updated on what we are doing moving forward. We are closely following the advice of our governments and health experts, and we’re taking our role to be responsible community leaders in order to do our part to keep people safe, and to also spread the love of Jesus. The big one for us of course is the new restrictions on mass gatherings over 100. This directly impacts our Sunday gatherings. The elders have made decisions around this and many other areas of regular church life, and we ask you to please note the following:

1. Sunday Worship Services: For the first time in the history of Hills Church, we are are asking you to join us for worship from your home. Church is still on – but without the gathering in the auditorium. We strongly urge you to tune in to our facebook live stream at 9am each Sunday. We encourage you to gather your family at this time. We encourage you to leave encouraging comments. We encourage you to invite a friend to join online if they don’t have a service to aTend or to watch themselves. The church continues – and we need you to be part of it. If you don’t have a facebook account, you can still click the below link and still watch online.

Ministry leaders will be in touch regarding rostering and what is needed going forward.

2. Small Groups: Most small groups will continue, but with some changes. Some groups (particularly those with seniors) have been postponed until further notice. Others will switch to shorter online gatherings, some will continue to meet with added precautions. Pastor Steve is talking to the small group leaders this week to establish what each group is doing. We want to encourage small groups to stay in touch as much as possible, and also to care for anyone in your group who needs support.

3. SALT: The monthly gatherings will also be postponed until it’s safe to continue. If you need support in any way, please feel free to call the office on 3353 1427.

4. Youth and Young Adults: Both ministries will continue with precautions. Stay home if sick. Don’t attend if vulnerable. Social distancing and increased hygiene will be the order of the day. Parents if you have any questions or concerns, please contact pastor Adam – adam.cousins@hillschurch.org.au

5. Friday Coffee Shop: Won’t be open until further notice to protect the vulnerable who attend and volunteer. Jodi will be in touch with the volunteers and she can be contacted if you have any questions.

6. OpShop: We’re going to attempt to keep the Op-shop open. Some of the volunteers will probably stay away for some time, and we’re looking for more volunteers (who aren’t in the vulnerable category) to step in and help. The motivation from the board is that the Op-shop is a good gateway to our community and we may be able to find ways to support our community over the coming weeks through the shop. If you can volunteer please contact the church office on 3353 1427.

7. Playgroup: No playgroup until after Easter (at least).

8. Hills Kids: Since there is no public worship service on Sunday, there will be no Hills Kids or bubs for the near future. HOWEVER, Bek is working on ways to stay in touch with all our children and will be creating some video content for our kids each week. If you have any questions please contact Bek Cruz at the church office on 3353 1427.

9. Wednesday Prayer Meeting: The Wednesday night prayer meeting will continue from 6:30pm to 7:15pm each week. We may look to live stream this in the coming weeks. Precautions will be enforced. Don’t attend if unwell or at risk. No small group prayer huddles. Hand sanitiser will be in use. Social distancing rules apply. The one thing that will not diminish in this time is prayer – in fact I call on you to find every opportunity to pray.

10. Supporting those in need. Beyond increasing our pastoral care and touching base with all of you in other ways, we are also planning a new ministry to support those who are more vulnerable than others within the church and within our neighbourhood. As such we’re seeking volunteers who would be willing to do errands for those who can’t leave their home for things such as groceries and medication etc. We’re working on a system for this, however if you would like to volunteer for this role (and you’re not in a vulnerable category) please contact the church office on 3353 1427.

Alternately, if you are in need of this type of support, please contact us as on the above number and we will endeavour to assist you.

As I was reading through Mark this week in our Immerse reading plan, I heard a message from Jesus loud and clear:
Mark 6:50b-51 “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 51 Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down…

Whatever happens, Jesus is in the boat with us! Have you stopped to see him there?

Lastly, I encourage you to reach out to others. Spend some time each week making contact with a brother or a sister. Check up on those in need. Look for new opportunities to bring light into the dark.

I’ll be in touch regularly. Please contact the office if you need anything.

God Bless,

Pastor Nathan Bell

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