It is hard to fathom that this is my last Newsletter for 2021!

Thank you for having joined online and in church for worship and thank you too for your support and encouragement throughout 2021. We certainly have had to reimagine areas of our worship, ministry, and our outreach programmes to meet the challenges that COVID brought our way. The ministry teams, the pastoral care groups, the organisations, and the mission groups in our church have done well and worked hard. Thank you.

Jaine and I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your loved ones a peaceful and blessed Christmas and New Year’s celebration.

At the time of writing, we as a country are anticipating further news from our President with regards to a possible change to our lockdown level, and accompanying this uncertainty is some anxiety too, I am sure, about the resurgence of COVID with the new Omicron variant and what this might mean for “life” going forward in the New Year. I am furthermore very aware of the deep sadness many of our church family are experiencing with the forced cancellation of travel plans and the impact of not being able to visit, or host, family from overseas, and the fear of being alone over this festive season. Let us continue to be be vigilant and careful about not taking unnecessary risks that might expose us and our loved ones, and others who encounter us, to COVID. Please get vaccinated if you have not already done so. Vaccination is one practical tool we can all make use of to keep our church, our businesses, and our community life “open,” and to help keep each other as safe as possible.

We have a change in our Ministerial Team for 2022. Pastor Colleen Stringer will be retiring from our full time Ministry Team at the end of December 2021. Colleen has been an especially important member of the ministry in Plett for the past 15 years and has been such a blessing to STMC using her gifts of preaching, teaching, counselling, and wise guidance. Colleen and Dick work together as a team and I ask you to join with me to wish them God’s continued blessings in this new phase their life is entering. We are not losing them at STMC, and Colleen and Dick are not moving away from Plett! Colleen will continue to be involved in some of the pastoral areas of our work, such as at FGV Fellowship, and Colleen will continue to be available to preach and teach at STMC when she feels led by the Lord to do so. Colleen has not only been a colleague, but she is also a friend and a guardian to me. Thank you, Col!

We will say “Thank you” to Col and Dick and celebrate their years of ministry appropriately early in the New Year. If you would like to financially contribute to a retirement gift, please contact Tracy at 0445333430 or do so via EFT marking it “Colleen Gift”.

The details for our church services during December and January are:

12 Dec: 08H00 and 09H30 (No Communion).

19 Dec: 08H00 and 09H30 Carol Services (No Communion).

24 Dec: 17H00-19H00 Family Christmas Eve Walk in and Walk-through Prayer (with Communion).

25 Dec: 08H00 and 09H30 Christmas Day Services.

26 December – NO SERVICE.

02 Jan: 09H00 – ONE SERVICE ONLY (with Communion).

09 Jan: 08H00 (Communion) and 09H30 Family Service.

16 Jan: 08H00 (Communion) and 09H30 Family Service.

23 Jan: 08H00 (Communion) and 09H30 Family Service.

All our church services will be available both as Online and In-Person in church services.

Our Children’s Ministry Team will be available in the Foyer during the December church services with fun activities for the children, so please feel free to bring your children and grandchildren along with you. It will be great for us to celebrate as families together.

The church admin office will be closed from the 22 December 2021 and will reopen on Monday 10 January 2022. I will be working from home during that time so please do not hesitate to contact me if you need assistance or are aware of someone in crisis on 0824639692 or tim@plettmethodist.co.za . I am also available on Telegram and WhatsApp.

Please make sure that you have my cell number on your mobile phone, and please install the Telegram messaging app on your phone as well. If you use WhatsApp on your phone, then you will be able to use Telegram. Telegram has an unlimited group size function that will enable us to message the whole church membership should we need to. We will not set up Telegram as a “chat function” but only to broadcast messages from the church office to you. We will be using Telegram as our main messaging service from 2022 as the current Bulk SMS system is becoming very expensive. The church office will assist you in this set up and install process if you need help.

On Sunday 5 December we will welcome 36 new members into our church family! The 09H30 service on that day will be a Confirmation Service and we will receive 5 Confirmands into full adult membership. Please join me in church to celebrate this significant and wonderful time in their lives, followed by a bring and share tea.

May your Christmas celebrations be filled with Hope, Peace, Joy and Love as we celebrate together, the birth of Jesus and his message of salvation to a broken world.

God bless,

Rev. Tim