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Return to Services after Covid-19 Lockdown

NZ Update -- 5 June 2020

Services: Services will be back to their regular times this weekend in Auckland, Wellington and Masterton as well as some of our small groups nationwide. It looks like next week we’ll be back to Level 1 with hand-shaking and hugging okay once again, but remember to follow physical distancing rules this weekend, as well as the other guidelines outlined in last week’s NZ Update.

In addition, on Sunday at 2 p.m. there will be a Zoom service, where Dennis Gordon will be speaking on the lectionary topic for this weekend, “The Triune Purpose for Creation”.

After the sermon, Dennis will facilitate a Question and Answer session, focusing on the following questions:

1. What are your thoughts about the two worldviews represented in the Lion King as the “Circle of Life” and “The End of the Line”? Where do you see these worldviews expressed in our culture today? How might we modify our approach to people when we know the differences between their worldview and ours?

2. Does reading the Genesis creation story by starting with Exodus make a difference in how you understand the meaning of Genesis 1? Similarly, how does it change when reading it in light of Jesus and the New Testament? Again, how does starting with God’s identity and our being made “in his image” inform how we read and understand God’s act of creation?

3. How did it strike you to view creation with an end purpose in mind? Does this challenge your worldview and way of living in any way?

Additional questions from any attendees are also welcome.

Here is the link for this Zoom meeting:

Join Zoom Meeting (using this link is the easiest way to access the meeting)

Meeting ID: 563 285 7510

Dial by your closest location

+64 4 886 0026 Wellington, New Zealand

+64 9 884 6780 Auckland, New Zealand.

Inside Life: A new edition of "Inside Life" is now being printed, and will be delivered to 15,000 letterboxes around the country in the next couple of weeks. Please pray for God to bless this magazine as an outreach to the community around us, as we seek to share the gospel with our fellow New Zealanders. May God stir people who receive it to pick it up and read and think about spiritual things for a change.

Prayer Requests and Updates:

William Davies reports that his gardens are picking up slowly, but there is much yet to be cleaned up. The Davies, as well as the members at Rory, wish to pass on a “bigfala tankyiu” to the church for the assistance money we have sent them following the cyclone. We are continuing to send food money to Rory until the crops are back up and running.

The lung cancer in Jocelyn Best’s mother has spread. Also, her dad had a second seizure last week. He is better now, but remains under observation.

After initial good progress following a hip operation, Margaret Hammond is experiencing severe pain, especially walking and getting in and out of bed.

Sandra Joy’s oldest son Stephen’s wife Zhen, who has breast cancer that has spread, is having an operation shortly.

Recently we requested prayers for Heber Ticas, GCI Superintendent for Latin America, and his wife and daughter, who are recovering from Covid-19. Heber sent the following update to Daphne Sidney:

“By the grace of God, we are doing fine. Yesterday I got my results from a second Covid-19 test and it was negative. Praise God!! My daughter Jessica was negative as well and we are just waiting on my wife to go get tested this coming Thursday. The Lord sustained us through this whole ordeal and we have come out stronger in our faith.

“I would ask you to please continue to pray for Carmen (a close friend of Heber whose husband recently died of Covid). She is still at the hospital, suffering from Covid, fighting for her life. The doctors say there isn't much more that they can do besides monitoring her. She only has one lung and it only has 5% functionality. If she wasn't on a ventilator, she could not survive. I would also ask you to pray for Emily, her 7-year-old daughter who is facing the prospect of journeying through life without her parents.”

Community Outreach: I’d like to close this time with an inspiring example of local outreach sent in by Matthew Gudze, Pastor of the Mooroolbark Christian Fellowship.

People's Pantry - Serving through COVID-19

“One of the most difficult things is to get people to disperse after they have received their meal as they want to socialise.”

- Barb Austin, Mooroolbark Christian Fellowship, People’s Pantry Coordinator.

In Australia the coronavirus social distancing rules and the restrictions of the numbers of people allowed to meet together (two at the most at one stage) meant that many businesses like restaurants had to shut down, or alternatively offer takeaway only. The latter is what the Mooroolbark Christian Fellowship did with their community meal.

People’s Pantry, as it is called, offers a three-course meal to any member of the community that wishes to join us every second Friday evening. The objective of the meal is to make community connections near where we meet for church, build relationships with those in need and love our neighbour by providing nourishment for them.

We usually provide a sit-down meal for up to 35 people from the community with church members cooking the meals and serving them up. The COVID-19 restrictions could have closed People’s Pantry down for a time, but not so. With strips of tape at the door indicating distancing rules and with a limited number of people allowed indoors (if healthy and well) a collection of takeaway meals are being provided to the people that come. Also, extra meals are provided for those that request it to be taken to those in need such as in a nearby aged care Facility.

The meal coordinator, Barb Austin, says “Most are missing being able to sit down and have their meal and it's hard to move them along as they want to chat when they come to pick up their meal. I am very mindful that we are probably the first person that they might have spoken to all day.”

We’ve found that these meals provide not so much the physical needs but the social and emotional connections. Many people come not because they are hungry but because they are lonely.

We thank the team for their continued care for our community in this difficult time for us all, yet a time when a church can continue joining in with the mission of Christ.

Warm regards to all, Rex

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