Not July 5 after all!!

This morning we posted the news (in good faith) that with the easing of restrictions coming in on Monday June 22, we would be returning to worship on July 5. However, the Vic Government has just now delayed the easing of those restrictions until a further announcement to be made on July 12.

So….no, we won’t be meeting on July 5 after all….but keep your eye on this space for further updates.

On the air! Tune in…

Join us each Sunday morning at 9:30am for our ‘Lockdown Podcasts’ on 105.1 Life FM, Bendigo, commencing Sunday March 29th. As part of our regular podcasts from that date, Philip will be preaching on the theme, ‘God’s saints in tight spots’, to encourage us all through the stories of the differing (yet often difficult) circumstances that God’s people have faced – as told to us in the Scriptures.

Closed …temporarily…but still going!

Sadly, that’s the situation. In line with Federal and State Government restrictions and recommendations, our services and activities have all been suspended until further notice with this exception…

…..you’ll be able to listen to the first of our ‘lockdown podcasts’ this coming Sunday March 29th on our website and also on the radio each Sunday at 9:30am on Bendigo’s 105.1 Life FM.

Sunday March 22? Yes, we’re open!

 

It’s a rapidly changing world with regard to the coronavirus situation, now that ‘internal gatherings’ of 100 have been asked to cease and the 2×2 metre rule has been introduced. Thankfully, we have a large building and accordingly can fit 100 people in it and still be ‘safe’ (it would be great to have that many!) With the measures we have in place already and a plan to introduce some more small measures to be introduced we will still be gathering together on Sunday March 22 as usual at 10:30am. We are preparing ourselves for the fact that this is now a week-to-week proposition and the situation may change again, but for now, yes, we’re open, so come and join us if you can! And in the meantime, here’s another excellent article to consider.

 

Preparing for COVID-19 @St John’s

Like many other churches throughout the world , we have taken some small but important steps to prepare for the COVID-19 virus.

While there is no need for us to panic, the time has come to do this as part of our loving care of one another, especially those among our church family who may be more susceptible to this virus (particularly those over 60 and those with existing health conditions).

It’s for this reason that the following measures were introduced last Sunday March 15th.

  • thorough hand washing (especially before and after church and before and during morning tea – especially before you touch the urn/milk etc or take pre-packaged biscuits). Posters have been placed in obvious places in the hall and the church foyer to remind you to do this and to show you how. (If you are unsure how long to wash your hands for, sing Happy Birthday to yourself and wash for at least that long!)
  • avoiding hand shakes and close physical contact. Warm smiles are still welcome! Elbow touches and friendly waves are the new norm.
  • staying away if you are or become unwell (If you do become unwell, or have some specific needs, please let someone know so that we can care for you!!).
  • staying away for 14 days if you have been overseas

Also, for now, in the interests of good hygiene and public health

  • our regular 4th Sunday lunches and birthday cake will be discontinued
  • as of Sunday March 22 we will only be serving individually wrapped biscuits at morning tea and ask that you do not bring any morning tea from home to share (unless it is for your own consumption). If you have special dietary requirements, please bring your own morning tea as we may be unable to cater for you. If you have children, please feel free to pack them their own snack – and instruct them it is important not to share or to touch food belonging to others.
  • used cups and mugs will need to be placed on the dishwasher tray on the trolley (tip slops into the bucket provided) – so that those loading the dishwasher need not handle every individual dirty cup or glass. Those who are drying/putting away the dishes will also need to have washed their hands thoroughly before doing so.
  • all cutlery and crockery will be washed in the dishwasher after every use after every function – no rinsing under the tap and putting away please.

Although they are still meeting, we are still yet to determine if our Home Group and Playgroups will continue, although necessary arrangements have been implemented for each of these groups. The Men’s Fellowship and the Ladies’ Fellowship will not meet until further notice.

The situation in our country and state is changing rapidly and recommendations are being updated regularly – so please understand that there may be need to introduce stricter precautions, especially in the event of an outbreak of the virus in Bendigo.

In these changing times, let’s remember that God is in control and we need not fear. ‘The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.’ (Psalm 46:7).

You might also find some benefit from reading this excellent article that might help put this all into some kind of perspective.

Finally, we will continue to pray for all who have the virus across the world and in our nation, especially remembering those in our health care systems who are on the front lines of dealing with this pandemic.

‘Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.’ (Psalm 124:8)

Christianity Explored course to begin…

These really are crazy times. A spreading viral pandemic. Countries banning travel in and out. Fights in the supermarket aisle over toilet paper! Who could have seen this coming? Not many, I suspect.

Here at St John’s we are not about to prepare for the end of the world, but we are about to run a course that asks (and answers) some of the bigger questions of life that are so relevant in these crazy times and will always be eternally important. Questions like, ‘Who is Jesus’ and ‘What does it mean to believe in Him’? These are questions that will be raised during this course called ‘Christianity Explored.’

Christianity Explored is an informal and relaxed seven-week course based on the Gospel of Mark that gives you time and space to consider the big questions of life and to explore the life of the person at the heart of the Christian faith – Jesus Christ. It’s an ideal course to attend if you want to;
• Find out what it what it means to be a Christian
• Get involved in a Bible study group on the Gospel of Mark
• Hear what the Bible says about the meaning of life
• Go over some Bible basics so that you can share your faith better
• Ask some questions about Christianity in an informal and non-threatening setting
And by the way, the following also apply. You don’t need to know anything about the Bible or be asked to read aloud, pray or sing and you can ask any question you want, or just listen.

When is it on? There are two options to choose from.
Wednesday evenings @ 7:30pm on April 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, May 6, 13
Thursday mornings @ 10:30am on April 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, May 7, 14
(It’s the same course run twice. You can attend either or alternate between them as it suits!)

Where is it? The meeting room in the St John’s Presbyterian Church Hall, 35-41 Forest Street, Bendigo.

There’s no real need to RSVP, but if you would like to attend and want to let us know visit our contact us page 🙂

Another leap year day… another Scots Day Out!

 

 

It was a beautiful day in Bendigo today for the extra (leap year) day and also the 2020 Scots Day in Rosalind Park.

It was great to be part of our Scots Day Out Team, handing out free biscuits and gospel leaflets, chatting to the many people who passed our tent, helping children to enjoy some colouring-in and generally raising the profile of the three Presbyterian churches in Bendigo. Bring on SDO 2021!

Join us as we pray…!

These are desperate times and the best approach is always to go to God.

Our PCV Moderator, Elder Colin Morrow, has shared the following with the people our denomination throughout our ravaged State;

It’s time now for the whole of the Presbyterian Church to turn to our Lord and King in prayer. Plead with Him to end this fire storm that grips our nation. Like the disciples in the boat in Matthew 8, we now plead with our Lord to save us, save this nation, from this storm that doesn’t threaten to sink the boat with water but rather burns and causes continued destruction and loss of life as fires rage. Our prayer, unlike the pleading of the disciples in the boat, is not lacking in faith as we know that He has all authority in heaven and on earth.

He has also invited us all to join him in this prayer;

Lord God, we turn to You in our hour of need. Please end these fires. Bring to an end this time of emergency. Protect those fighting fires. Protect and provide for those who have either lost loved ones or have lost all their mortal possessions or are threatened with the loss of them. Lord, may it be that out of this time Your church will rise up to help those in need and may Your Spirit go before us as we would share of the eternal hope found in You. This we pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

We’ll be praying too on Sunday morning January 5 at 10:30am, humbling ourselves before Almighty God and pleading for His protection upon locals, tourists, fire fighters, emergency service workers, communities and everyday people affected by the bushfires. Come and join us as we do that together.

Difficult times? Time to learn lessons and trust in God again.

Well, 2020 has arrived…with more of a ‘blaze’ than a ‘bang’. There’s no question that these last few days have been more than difficult for many people in too many parts of Victoria and NSW.

If it is true as C.S. Lewis once wrote, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world”, then the events of these last few days must surely tell us something.

The following article found on the ‘Australian Presbyterian’ website, written by our Moderator General, Rev Dr Peter Barnes, is well worth a look, even if it is a ‘little’ (just 6 weeks) out of date.

May it lead you to the only One in whom we can put our hope…

Droughts, Fires and Other Disasters