Dear Church Family, I hope this letter will find you as well, and as stubbornly resolute as can be expected, given the ongoing and very trying and strange circumstances of this year! As we have so often said at STMC in the past when times have been tough – we must encourage each other to “keep on keeping on!”
Thank you to everyone who has been involved in acts of caring and reaching out to those in need during the year. The willingness and commitment of the response from STMC, to join with NGO’s and the Community Covid Response Teams to confront and resolve some of the very desperate and painful realities of the pandemic, and other crucial community challenges this year, have been exemplary.
The Fellowship Groups especially, and our Service Organization the W.A. and our various Ministry Teams all got involved in reaching out in practical, and creative ways, to people in need! Thank you!
I am sure that by this stage of the year many of you might have hoped, as I had, that life would have become a little more normal; that this December might be an opportunity for our town to be and do what it does so well – to welcome our guests and visitors and for our scenically beautiful place to noisily celebrate a busy holiday season. Lockdown regulations and restrictions tell us otherwise!
At the time of writing to you I am still waiting to hear if the Garden Route will be given tighter regulations and further restrictions for December. Whatever may or may not happen, regulations-wise, let us keep our focus, our prayers and our outreach work firmly rooted in our love for Jesus. We are called as his family to live and work in our community in many different ways; but we must always remember throughout, that whatever we do, we never do for our glory, but for the glory of the Kingdom of God. Furthermore, as the Bible says, “We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength” (Phil. 4:13).
Advent is the time of waiting, and the time of preparation, for the celebration of the birth of Jesus. Please keep your heart and mind open to this Advent focus as you move through December. I realise there might be a temptation for some of us to get caught up in the negativity of the pandemic and the fearfulness of the sustained economic pressures we are dealing with, in such a way that we lose the ability to see the star above the stable in Bethlehem, and fail to hear the angels and the creatures of the earth sing about the birth of Jesus. Despite what you are going through, and in spite of what you might be faced with – my prayer is that you will feel the Peace of the Lord within you, and that you will hear the song of the baby Jesus in your heart – this Advent time!
Having said that, please keep in your prayers the following from our church family who passed away recently: Billy Rose (Stromboli), Trish Douglas (Stromboli), and Duncan Durandt (Keurbooms). Please hold them and their loved ones awfully close in your thoughts and prayers.
Please prayerfully hold up all those who are ill and those who are currently in places of crisis and struggle. Please pray for our Doctors, Nursing Staff and all the Health Care Workers and Care Givers as they face and deal with the suffering and illness of so many. Please pray for our local businesses.
Please pray for the Leadership and the Ministerial Team of STMC as they must continue to discern the Call of the Lord on the life of our church, and then prayerfully and obediently plot the direction the church will need to take over the next few years.
The guiding catch phrase for us from 2021 will be “Reimagine”. I have shared with the Leaders that I believe STMC should follow the lead of our Presiding Bishop Purity Malinga, and her call to the Methodist people in RSA to “Reimagine” what it means to be the church in very different times such as the time we presently find ourselves in. So STMC family, please let us pray around this call – let us prayerfully work together to “Reimagine” our Worship and our Fellowship Groups, our Teaching Ministry, our Children’s and Youth and Young Adults Ministry’s, to “Reimagine” our work amongst the Aged, to “Reimagine” our Mission Work and Outreach Work; to “Reimagine” how we use our church campus and resources within our Plett community … I am sure that you will agree with me, the work to “Reimagine” in reality begins within each of us, and then moves from within us, to be shown outwardly in our words, our life and our actions. So then, what will it mean to you to “Reimagine” your relationship with God? What might such a new and “reimagined” focus of your relationship with Jesus mean for you?
Thank you for your faithfulness, your commitment, and your financial support for the work of the church this past year. STMC could never have expressed the life of Jesus working in and through the church as it has been able to throughout this year – without you. Thank you.
Please note that all Sunday Services during December and into January 2021 will only take place online. This also applies to the Christmas Eve Family Communion Service which will also only take place online. The Christmas Day Service will be celebrated online only, and in our newspaper advertising we have invited all visitors to join us online via www.plettmethodist.co.za . STMC will not have a service on Sunday the 27 December. The Admin Office will remain closed during December and reopen on 5 January 2021. A number of families will be hosted for the Sacrament of Baptism during December, but those services will be private, and the Ministerial Team will stand proxy for the congregation when necessary.
I hope and pray that you will have a most blessed and peace filled Advent,