Worship – what are you thinking?

As Children of God we have been created to “make a joyful noise to the Lord”, “worshipping God in spirit and in truth” (Psalm 100:1; John 4:24) – to give God “worth”, honour, love and respect. A good definition of worship comes from Luther on the dedication of a church building “that nothing else be done in it than that our dear Lord Himself talk to us through His holy word and that we, in turn, talk to him in prayer and song of praise”.As part of our strategic plan from 2019 we have been praying for a spirit-led direction to conduct “I can’t wait worship”. While some groups were very happy, there was a growing sense of God moving us to something different.In 2020 as a response to changes required during the world-wide pandemic we took the opportunity to test and experiment with a few different options.  What Next? While we can acknowledge that there are those who want to return to a pre-covid normal, there is also a strong sense that this would be a backwards step. At the first church council meeting for 2021 a Worship Sub-Committee was formed and given authority for consultation and to provide recommendations for the council to consider. We are aware that we need to be careful not to place many more changes around worship. Especially times and format. We need to consider worship for the next 5-10 years into the future. The aim is to hear people’s opinions and understand the “pulse” of the congregation. This then needs to be considered alongside the needs and opportunities of the community (acknowledging that we exist not just for ourselves, but for those that are yet to come) while trying to hear God’s voice and the direction of the Holy Spirit. Consultation is not decision making. It informs good decision making “Without wise leadership, a nation falls; there is safety in having many advisers“. Proverbs 11:14 (NLT). The Church Council in June-August 2020 discerned the following values in worship: “BCUC: Raising children of God” with worship that is: Passionately Trinitarian (God honouring, Christ focussed and spirit led) Joyfully vibrant Humbly giving God the best Creatively encouraging faith at every age & stage We currently have 3 services:  10am Sunday:  All Ages, All Stages that is neither of the three previous services with Kids worship happening in the hall. (Current average attendance of about 120 including 20+ kids.) Monday noon service: currently averaging 35 people attending. Over many months, this has evolved into a more formal style service with the choir. Online worship: mostly pre-recorded with occasional live streaming. Averaging about 60 ‘views’.  What can I do? If you have a helpful opinion about worship in its current form or ideas about moving into the future, please let us know. Members of the worship sub-committee will be available after each of the live services for the next 3 weeks. We have already surveyed the previous cafe worship members and this will feed into the decision making. Over the next few weeks we will have a separate online survey for those who watch our online service. Think and pray about our … Continue reading

24 Hour Prayer Event

Dear friends of BCUC, As we re-engage with face-to-face ministry and open the church to individuals first, then to small groups and eventually gathering together as a congregation to worship, we feel the need to come to the Lord in prayer and fasting. We can make all the plans we want but Jesus is the foundation of everything worthwhile. We have this gift of re-shaping our future as a church at BCUC, as a community and for the world. Prayer is needed for decisions to be made, for giving thanks and for those still suffering around the world during this unprecedented crisis. It is also exciting that we are partnering with InVia church during this call to prayer (see below). We have much for which to be grateful – the SA and BCUC communities have responded and fared very well, but there are many decisions ahead of us to place before God, including when and how to come back together. Prayer is an integral link in the Christian spiritual life and is the key moment when we have communion with God. It needs us to quieten, open our hearts and call out to Him: STARTING Saturday 16th May @ 10amwe launch the 24 hour period with a YouTube live worship and preparation time. Click here to view the live event. ENDING Sunday 17th May @ 10amFinish with the weekly YouTube worship and live communion. How you can participate Connect with both the Saturday morning launch and the Sunday morning worship/communion services online.We have prepared a helpful guide to focus your prayer.  This can be downloaded here.Pray where you are, when you are able and feel moved to pray during the 24 hours.You might choose to commit to a 1-hour block (or a time-frame that best suits you).You could create a physical prayer space to assist in creating quietness and focus for your thoughts and prayers.Connect for group prayer at a special Zoom prayer meeting at 4pm Saturday 16th May.Consider using this for a time of prayer AND fasting. Whether that is total (but please take fluids) or maybe giving up 1 food/activity you particularly enjoy and seek each day. Benji and Ashlee will talk more about this on Saturday morning before we begin, but this is optional and won’t be the chief focus and goal of the 24 hours in prayer. Fasting can help bring focus and is a response to God’s grace and goodness rather than a way of ‘earning God’s favour’. For more information on fasting check out this page.Spend time listening to the Holy Spirit. Maybe God is saying something to you personally about who you are a child of God, what your passions are, what your commitments are to serving Jesus in the church and in the community, whether it is time to re-assess your service to best fit with your passions, the community needs, your giftings and the call of God for the church and yourself. Write down what God is saying and please email it to us so we know how God is speaking to a community that … Continue reading

The Church After Easter 11 April 2021The first Sunday after Easter is traditionally called ‘Low Sunday’ in contrast to what someone has called ‘the Church on steroids’ – the heightened joy and excitement of Easter Day, the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection the Sunday before. Our reading for this weekend’s worship from Acts 4:32-37 gives us a picture of the Church in Jerusalem, alive in Christ, expressing a wonderful unity in heart and mind, a fellowship in which believers didn’t claim possessions as their own but shared everything so that there were no needy members among them. Luke, the writer of Acts, has compiled a book that commends Christianity to the Gentile world. It proclaims the truth that Jesus is for everyone, not just those of Jewish descent. Luke chronicles how Jesus’ words to the disciples at his ascension came true. He said, ‘You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth’ (Acts 1:8) He shows his readers how in just 30 years, Christianity had spread from Jerusalem to Rome. What happened during this spread of Christianity is an exciting and inspiring story. However, how it happened gives us encouragement as the Church today. The entire story is driven by the work of the Holy Spirit to the point where someone has suggested that Luke’s writing we call ‘The Acts of the Apostles’ should more correctly be renamed ‘The Acts of the Holy Spirit’. We see churches being set up and growing wherever the good news of Jesus’ resurrection is being preached – and it’s not just the apostles doing the preaching. Others are also being gifted by the Holy Spirit to share the good news Jesus has brought to them. Over the next few Sundays, we’ll witness the Spirit at work in the early Church. How do you see the Spirit at work in our congregation today?Rob Williams   News Benji on Leave Benji, Nicole, and family are having a well earned break over the next few weeks.  Benji will return to BCUC on Monday April 26.  While Benji is away, if you need to speak to someone, please contact Stuart, Nirmal, or Rob as appropriate.  The Kid’s Programme will be run by Heather and Aradhana over the next two Sundays.  Sunday 10am Worship Livestreaming For a few weeks now, we have been livestreaming our Sunday 10am service on our YouTube channel (See the box on this page headed “Breakthru Worship”).  This will continue this week and into the foreseeable future.  These livestreams (which can also be watched later) will replace the “Breakthru” video services that Benji used to create each week.  The quality of the livestreams have improved over the weeks as we have gained experience and we welcome your feedback.  We are also looking for volunteers to operate the video stream on Sunday morning (no experience needed, just an ability to focus and multitask).    Easter Musical “I’m Only 33” On Good Friday and Easter, we premiered our Easter Musical titled “I’m Only 33” written and … Continue reading

Happy Christmas from BCUC What a year this has been. Thank you all for staying with us and being part of God’s loving family together, always encouraging, and never giving up hope. As I look back on 2020 at BCUC I see God’s sustaining love throughout. I’m reminded of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” I am glad that there have been many times when I have seen this Christ-like love expressed at BCUC. The staff at BCUC wish to extend our thanks to you and our blessings for Christmas and the New Year. Our fantastic Christmas Eve service will help a weary world rejoice with the joy that only Jesus can bring. On Christmas Day follow the star of hope to a place of worship. May we all  “come let us adore Him”. Let the light of the risen Christ shine in your hearts, actions and words this Christmas. The richest blessings to you all. Your brother in ChristBenji  … Continue reading

Why “Breakthru Worship”?

Dear friends of BCUC,On one level its sad times, I miss meeting people face to face and being an extrovert, I will struggle. However the new opportunities are exciting if we can rise by the power of the spirit to meet the challenges. My heart hurts for our vulnerable in the community who won’t be able to access online materials but we will endeavour to serve and minister to them as best we can with God’s help.Although we have suspended face-to-face worship, let’s not stop meeting together. I want to introduce you to our new online worship experience we’re calling “Breakthru Worship”.Why Breakthru?  It’s based on John 20:19. The disciples are hiding in fear in a locked room, (sounds a lot like social-isolation), and the resurrected Jesus breaks through their isolation and miraculously appears in the room. The first thing he says is “Peace be with you”, then he breathes on them the gift of the Holy Spirit, the comforter! Isn’t this what we all need right now, Jesus to break into our fear, to bring peace breath the comfort and gift of the Holy Spirit. So we are then empowered to be the children of God for the present and the future.Breakthru WorshipWe start with Breakthru Worship this Sunday March 22nd.Grab a cup of coffee. Dress up in your Sunday best if you want to. Then follow the link here or on the churches website for an exciting interactive experience.We start at 10 am from our lounge room to yours. You can always log on later if you missed it.For many of us giving is an important part of worship. Many of us already give regularly using E-give, for those who like to give each week you can do this online from the church’s website. Alternatively for people who like to use the envelopes, you can place them in the churches mailbox during the week or give them to Stuart during office hours.Breakthru Kids and MinisWe haven’t forgotten about kids ministry. Our great team have put together 2 videos to sit down and engage with. These will be streamed on Sundays. 9am Breakthru minis (ages 5 and under)9:30am Breakthru kids (5 and up) Click on and engage. Some of our kids ministry team will be online to interact with you.  It’s a great way to engage the whole family and grow as children of God together. Breakthru Care Just like you, I really love getting together in person and will find this next period hard. It’s important during this time to be creative about keeping in contact with other. Phone calls and emails will be our primary means. If you are a pastoral contact I encourage you to find a way to connect with those on your list. We are also very conscious of those who will find it difficult to access the internet. Care comes in many different forms. The following is how we hope to provide Breakthru Care in the coming weeks: Spiritual: regular emails from us.Pastoral: phone calls utilising our … Continue reading

Dear friends of BCUC, On one level its sad times, I miss meeting people face to face and being an extrovert, I will struggle. However the new opportunities are exciting if we can rise by the power of the spirit to meet the challenges. My heart hurts for our vulnerable in the community who won’t be able to access online materials but we will endeavour to serve and minister to them as best we can will Gods help. Although we have suspended face-to-face worship let’s not stop meeting together. I want to introduce you to our new online worship experience we’re calling “Breakthru Worship”. Why Breakthru? It’s based on John 20:19. The disciples are hiding in fear in a locked room, (sounds a lot like social-isolation), and the resurrected Jesus breaks through their isolation and miraculously appears in the room. The first thing he says is “Peace be with you”, then he breathes on them the gift of the Holy Spirit, the comforter! Isn’t this what we all need right now, Jesus to break into our fear, to bring peace breath the comfort and gift of the Holy Spirit. So we are then empowered to be the children of God for the present and the future. Breakthru WorshipWe start with Breakthru Worship this Sunday March 22nd.  Grab a cup of coffee. Dress up in your Sunday best if you want to. Then click on the Breakthru logo above for an exciting interactive experience. We start at 10am from our lounge room to yours. Come early and have a chat with me or another host. You can visit the Breakthru Worship site now and take a look at my introductory video. Giving For many of us giving is an important part of worship. Many of us already give regularly using E-give, for those who like to give each week you can do this online from the church’s website. Alternatively for people who like to use the envelopes, you can place them in the churches mailbox during the week or give them to Stuart during office hours. Breakthru Kids and MinisWe haven’t forgotten about kids ministry. Our great team have put together 2 videos to sit down and engage with. These will be streamed on Sundays. 9am Breakthru minis (ages 5 and under)9:30 am Breakthru kids (5 and up) Click on and engage. Some of our kids ministry team will be online to chat with you.  It’s a great way to engage the whole family and grow as children of God together. Breakthru Care Just like you, I really love getting together in person and will find this next period hard. It’s important during this time to be creative about keeping in contact with other. Phone calls and emails will be our primary means. If you are a pastoral contact I encourage you to find a way to connect with those on your list. We are also very conscious of those who will find it difficult to access the internet. Care comes in many different … Continue reading

Church Service on Sunday 22nd March

Wednesday 18th March 2020 Dear BCUC family, Last night, at an special meeting, the Church Council took the difficult decision to suspend all face-to-face worship services, meetings and activities where we gather together as a group, effective immediately and until it is safe to resume them. We did this as an expression of love and care for our people, many of whom are in vulnerable groups in the setting of a viral pandemic. We are working on other ways of presenting worship and of ensuring that we provide pastoral care for our people. We are sending this message to all who have email and we would ask each of the pastoral carers to phone those in their groups who do not use email to communicate. In fact, we suggest that the initial strategy to maintain pastoral contacts is by regular phone calls, and relaying this message will be the first opportunity. In terms of worship this Sunday March 22nd, we will be broadcasting our service at 10am on Sunday morning on the BCUC YouTube channel.  You can take a look at our channel now by clicking here.  We will email you more about this in the next few days. We will also be mailing sermon notes, readings and prayer notes to those who cannot access live streaming. More details will follow. We have a number of plans for different ways of presenting worship over coming weeks. Council is meeting again next Tuesday to continue to plan how we can engage with each other over coming weeks. We will be establishing video conferencing platforms so that committees can meet virtually and so that people can keep in touch with each other. We have begun planning how we will provide programs for our children and youth so they can continue to engage while being protected by adhering to a social distancing policy. At this stage, the church building will remain open as before for individuals to pray in the open spaces while practising good hand-washing hygiene, social distancing and keeping away if you are at risk or unwell. This is an anxious time. Please contact your pastoral carer, the church office or myself if you feel particularly distressed over the rapidly changing world around us because we will need to support each other. But our reassurance and hope comes from Christ, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age”. We pray God will use this new period at our church for unexpected fruitful opportunities to raise Children of God. I encourage us all, while we are in the community, to be the peaceful presence of Christ to our friends and neighbours. If you missed my sermon on a Christian response to COVID-19, you can listen to the sermon here on our website. Your brother in Christ, Benji Callen Minister Burnside City Uniting Church benjic@burnsidecityuc.org.au 0427 792 869 … Continue reading

for the week of 8 March 2020

Digital Entertainment BookSupporting Dr John.  Visit here to purchase your subscription. BCUC Netball Players NeededBCUC Netball is looking for players born in 2005, 2006 or 2007. Matches are on Saturday afternoons commencing in April.  Training is on Thursday night.  Contact Cathie or Ruth. Generate Presbytery NewsThe next meeting of the Generate Presbytery is on 14 March atSeeds Uniting Church. The meeting is open to all member of our congregation. Click here to register. Family Fun @ 5 – Saturday 14 March 5-7pmFF@5 relies on a variety of helpers. If you can help with prepared craft, outdoor games, organizing a simple meal, welcoming visitors and helping with setting up or cleaning up please write your name on the  roster in the foyer. If you have any queries please ask Heather Walraven (0414 055 160) or Chris Lake (0417 848 315). Support for KCOMonetary donation to support sending our kids to KCO can be made in the foyer between services this Sunday and next (by cash or credit/debit card).  You can also donate online via the green ‘give’ button at the bottom of this page.  A form for donations of cakes and biscuits will be in the foyer and… thanks so much for your never-ending prayers. KCO NewsKCO is nearly here. Normal registration closes this Wednesday so please don’t delay (late registration will still be possible). Lisa Price has the iron transfers for our yellow T-shirts, so catch her on Sunday morning between services. BCUC Saturday Friendship ClubThe meeting for 21st March is a special one. We have a large number of boys coming from Prince Alfred College, to give us an evening of musical entertainment. Usual 7:15 for a 7:30pm start. Basket supper and all visitors welcome. … Continue reading

A Message from Rev Rob Williams – March 8 2020

Today we will Commission Elders you elected at our last AGM to serve on our Church Council. They are Valerie Aloa, Annette LeMay, Tim Piper, Thomas Pruszinski, Nirmal Robinson and Christine You. Our continuing Elders on Church Council are Gil Cibich, Chris Lake, Ian Olver, Gaynor Strapp and Anne Wierenga. Church Council Officers for 2020 are Chair – Ian Olver, Deputy Chair – Nirmal Robinson, Secretary – Anne Wierenga and Treasurer – Tim Piper. Their ministry is vital to the spiritual life and well-being of our congregationas you can see from the following paragraphs:  The ministry of Elder is one of spiritual oversight and may also be exercised in pastoral visitation, teaching, encouraging members of the congregation to share in mission, and assisting the minister in leadership of worship and administration of the sacraments. Elders who serve on the Church Council have a particular responsibility to ensure that such matters have priority in the work of the church council. The Church Council shall give priority in its life to building up the congregation in faith and love, sustaining members in hope, and leading the congregation to a fuller participation in Christ’s mission in the world. The act of Commissioning includes several questions to the congregation: Will you, the members of this congregation, accept these brothers and sisters as elders serving on the Church Council? Will you encourage them in love and support them in their ministry, serving with them the one Lord Jesus Christ? Your positive, practical response to these questions not only supports those serving on our Church Council. It also strengthens our sense of community as together we serve our Lord and his Church using the gifts he has given each one of us. It greatly assists our mission together in Raising Children of God. … Continue reading