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Worship, community, care & mission resources

Church is always the people, not the building. We are called to be open to the Spirit for new ways of ministry and mission. During this time of disruption we are finding new ways of being church to ensure we live into the call of being “sign, foretaste and instrument” of God’s kingdom in our world.

Many leaders, congregations and presbyteries are creating great resources for this time. Some of them are linked or reproduced here. This page is updated regularly – and we would value your feedback, and suggestions for additional resources. Please contact Rev. Nigel Hanscamp at eLM - nigel.hanscamp@victas.uca.org.au

For general health information and latest updates on the COVID-19 pandemic go to the Victorian government’s page here or the Tasmanian government’s page here.

Information and guidance regarding the current changes to worship arrangements in Victoria and Tasmania is available at the FAQ page here.

 

Worship Resources

Here you will find resources for worship leaders to use to encourage people to worship and pray together as a gathered community or at home. Previous resources have been archived here.

Weekly Worship resources are created for use in gathered worship as well as worship at home. The Fig Tree project in Gippsland produces the resources posted on this page, with worship leaders from across Gippsland contributing to this offering. The page is updated weekly, normally by Wednesday evening.

These worship resources use common items found at home and may require a little preparation (candle, communion elements, etc).

24 October, 2021 (22nd Sunday in Pentecost)

  • The Gippsland Presbytery Fig Tree worship resource for Sunday 24 October, 2021 is ready to print and be distributed.
Live Streaming Congregations and Faith Communities

Thursday

Sunday

Recorded worship
  • By the Well podcast from Rev Fran Barber and Rev Dr Robyn Whitaker (eLM and Pilgrim) explores one of the lectionary texts to equip preachers to proclaim the Word
  • Connectible - Worship Resources from Strandz, Children and Families ministry, Aoetearoa
  • Mustard Seeds - Worship resources from Ann Scull, Boronia Road UC
  • Spill the Beans (Downloadable Resource for Advent and Christmas – Payment required)
  • Lost Sheep – Retelling Bible stories in a fresh way. Free resources are available here (Free Subscription required)
  • Passing the Peace using AUSLAN

Readings

Resources related to the readings for this week, including reflections, and audio-visual versions of the readings. Each week on the By the Well podcast, Rev Fran Barber and Rev Dr Robyn Whitaker explore one of the lectionary texts to equip preachers to proclaim the Word.

RCL Readings

The Uniting Church in Australia Revised Common Lectionary 2021–2022 is now available on the UCA Assembly website.

Proper 26 (31)
Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost
October 31, 2021
(If All Saints not observed on this day)
ART PRAYER
All Saints Day
November 1, 2021
(Sometimes observed on first Sunday in November)
ART PRAYER
 

 

Holy Communion

Communion is a key part of our celebration of the Church’s faith and life. During times of physical distancing, this brings opportunities to think differently about the sacraments. The Assembly Standing Committee has offered resources to help Ministers and church leaders to think theologically and practically about how we offer worship with Holy Communion. Amelia Koh Butler offers this "Liturgy of Empty Hands" - a communion liturgy which allows for the absence of consecrated bread and wine/juice. Sally Douglas offers a Table Liturgy for Pentecost season.

Being Church in this time

In a time of pandemic, there are different ways of being church. This section gives some resources to those who are gathering online, resuming face to face, or working toward a hybrid model.

Could this time of social distancing and isolation be Jubilee, Sabbath or Retreat? This could be a time to explore some different ways of being Christian and being Church.

Faith Practices

What fresh faith practices could you or your household try? What new faith habits could you begin?

  • The Creative Ministries Network Congregation have created a set of 5 studies for personal, family or group use. “Covid-19: An Unprecedented Crisis? Creating a safe space for Faith, Reflection and Hope for small groups and congregations.” These studies create conversations between our experiences of the Pandemic, and the prophetic texts of the Old Testament.
  • Faith 5 Five simple steps for everyday household engagement in faith
  • Kitchen Table Project Ten easy things to try as a household
  • Top five faith resources for households, from the UCA Assembly website
  • Way to Live offers resources for growing Christian practices with Teens
  • Holy Habits offers resources for growing Christian faith and practices for all ages
  • Messy Church at Home is an opportunity for you to use Messy Church in your home context
  • Church at Home offers ideas for practicing Christian faith in a household context
  • Faith in the Home Links to ideas to help families through the week
  • Faith in Homes Faith nurturing tips, activities, podcasts and resources
  • Engage at Home are providing daily family prayer and worship activities (or via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag #EngageAtHome.

Prayer

  • Sally Douglas has offered us a Midday Prayer resource that can be used with weekly lectionary or other bible readings. This is a great resource to use for a household, group or congregation to use midweek.
  • Sally Douglas has offered us some prayer resources in video and text, titled “Praying in Real Life”. Praying for Others, an Awareness Examen, and Praying in Silence are some of the types of prayer that Sally reflects on and leads us in.
  • The Banyule Network has created five resources on learning to pray in different ways; Praying with Images, Lectio Divina (Easter to Pentecost), Examen, Prayer Practices, A Movement-Based prayer resource for walkers, cyclists and runners. Try a different one each week.
  • Rev Jennie Gordon, Presbytery Minister Gippsland and poet, has written this Affirmation of Faith as we shelter at home, based on Psalm 23.
  • And this one for Psalm 130 “From Cries of comfort, to affirmation of hope".
  • Interfaith Litany for Wholeness from Rev Andy Calder (see Related Documents below).
  • StoryPath (linking lectionary to children’s literature).
  • The Abbey of the Arts is giving a Novena for Times of Unravelling – nine days of prayer. To learn more about this free resource, click here.
  • Poetry Unbound – a new, short-form podcast from On Being is presented by Padraig O’Tuama, and may be like a mini retreat in the new structure of your day.
  • Thank You Prayers
  • For families learning about the Lord’s Prayer, When You Pray – Children and When You Pray – Adults

Financial giving to your church

For many of us, our financial offering is a spiritual practice – part of our Christian discipleship, and a practical response to a generous God. For churches, offerings resource ministry and mission. The costs of our church’s mission and ministry continue during this time, and our ongoing financial support is important.

We encourage you to have a conversation as a church and inform your congregations of the best options.

In a season of physical distancing and forced closures, here are a few options to allow congregants to still give their offering.

  • Put cash in an envelope (plain or a planned giving envelope) in an offering bowl at home. Contact your treasurer or elders to discuss how this should be collected.
  • Mail a cheque to your church’s treasurer or stewardship contact.
  • Use online banking through your bank, or set up a direct debit to your church’s account at UEthical (contact your treasurer for account details)

For more information about some online giving options, click here.
Your Presbytery has also been thinking about this and have specific responses for your situation – please contact them directly for more information.

Live streaming worship services is a simple and effective way of participating in worship that doesn’t involve physically going to church. Facebook and YouTube are two platforms you can use.

For more information on how to live stream a service or church event, click here. If you intend to live-stream worship from your church building, please follow the latest advice from official government sources about the numbers of people who can be involved, and appropriate physical distancing.

The latest directive from the Victorian and Tasmanian state governments is that up to five people can be involved in a live-streamed service, provided social distancing guidelines are maintained.

That rule also prohibits people who are unwell from participating as well as people who are deemed vulnerable, such as:

  • People who are immuno-compromised
  • People aged over 70
  • People aged over 65 with a significant medical condition
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the age of 50

With online worship, questions of safety look very different. Please read the Synod’s “Guidelines for Safe Online / Digital Ministry”. With in-church worship now on hold for the foreseeable future, more and more congregations are looking to broadcast their services in other ways. Some are:

If you have found other ways to broadcast your worship, please email Nigel Hanscamp. We’d love to spread the word. For a more complete list of VicTas congregations streaming, see 'ONLINE CHURCHES' below.

Many congregations are considering when they might start meeting again for meetings, worship or missional activities.

The Synod has provided the following resources for Church Councils to use in making their decisions around this. It is imperative that you use the most recent information in making your decisions, and review your processes regularly. Remember that your presbytery can also assist you.

The Synod Covid-19 FAQ page – updated weekly, including:

Other information about gathering

  • For Youth groups and their leaders, Bradon French has an informative video with things to consider before meeting together.
  • Mat Harry offers some thoughts about using what we have learned in lockdown.
Studies

John Bottomley and the Creative Ministries Network Congregation have created two bible studies which can be used by small groups as they seek to be faithful communities of Christ in a time of pandemic. 

How do we think about being Church in a time of Pandemic?

Church is always the people, not the building. We are called to be open to the Spirit for new ways of ministry and mission in this time of physical distancing and social connection in different ways. During this disruption we are finding new ways of being church to ensure we live into the call of being “sign, foretaste and instrument” of God’s kingdom in our world.

As many of us are forced to consider new ways of doing and being church from our homes, the metaphor of “home” can offer life-giving perspectives and starting points for our new ways of gathering, care and mission.

God’s offer of Jubilee in Leviticus 25 sets out a program of pause and reset, every 50th year.  God calls his people to justice, liberty and security for all.  The land is left to be left fallow, to rest.  “You shall return, every one of you, to your property and every one of you to your family”. (Leviticus 25: 10) It is a time to more actively care for kin and neighbour.

While the ancient economic program of Jubilee does not equate with our current experience of pandemic, we have seen our Church's response to this time "sheltering at home" characterised by care for the vulnerable, the marginalised and the unemployed. As we continue to work and worship from home, God's Spirit is at work in us and among us for the wellbeing of our communities, our families and the whole Earth community.  May we be active participants of Jubilee in our communities, and in our world.

Many leaders, congregations and presbyteries are creating great resources for this time. Some of them are linked or reproduced here. This page will change over the coming weeks – and we would value your feedback, and suggestions for additional resources. Please contact Nigel Hanscamp at nigel.hanscamp@victas.uca.org.au

Mel Perkins (eLM, Lay Leadership) has collated some Mental Health resources to support mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Updated May 2021

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