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 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Information and guidance regarding the current changes to worship arrangements in Victoria and Tasmania is available at the FAQ page here.
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 Previous resources have been archived here.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).
5 December, 2021 (Second Sunday in Advent)
- The Gippsland Presbytery Fig Tree worship resource for Sunday 5 December, 2021 is ready to print and be distributed.
The following resources have been gathered to assist individuals, families, communities and worship leaders in their practice and preparation of Advent. The headings are given to assist navigating the resources, though intergenerational resources may be used in community worship, and prayer resources may be suitable for public worship or private prayer practice.
This list continues to grow each week. New links (added this week) are indicated with a * at the end of each description. New links are added at the top of each section. If you have additional ideas, please send a link and one sentence description to email@example.com
Intergenerational in Groups and in Homes
(See also Chris Barnett’s Monthly Updates for more information)
- 28 Ways to Prepare for Christmas A single page poster of small, meaningful actions to take in preparation for Christmas. *
- Daily Meditations around the Advent Wreath – From making a simple Advent Wreath, to a daily prayer aid, this resource takes participants deeper into and understanding and practice of Advent prayer. *
- Handel’s Messiah online A complete video recording of Handel’s Messiah from the Orchestra and Choir group “Handel and Haydn”. Popular sections of the Messiah are also offered as separate links. *
- Advent: Something is Coming!
A fresh way to engage households, small groups and whole communities throughout Advent. This new, FREE resource encourages us to pray, reflect, grieve and rejoice as we draw nearer to Christmas.
- Christmas Family Faith Trail
This excellent resource encourages households, small groups and even whole churches to explore the events of the Christmas story through five interactive stations across the four weeks of Advent.
- For us a child is born: all-age Advent resources (Synod of CNOB)
This simple devotional booklet for all ages provides opportunities around the lighting of Advent candles, reading the scriptures and hearing stories that prepare us for the nativity.
- Advent: We Wonder
These daily Advent podcasts invite all ages into an immersive, contemplative experience of the words of Scripture – making space for responses and questions, guiding in prayerful engagement.
- Busted Halo
Features not just an updated version of the classic “Advent in 2 Minutes”, but also an on-line Advent Calendar to engage with daily.
Advent and Christmas outdoors
(See Also Mat Harry’s Youtube channel for other ideas on New and Renewing ways of being church)
- Lightning the church – Horsham UC Nativity Lights (2:07).
Showing how a church in a regional town is able to use its’ building to offer a night-time nativity and light show.
- Worshipping outdoors – October 2020 Webinar (37:23)
How might you include both vaccinated and unvaccinated people in Advent and Christmas worship in a safe and inclusive way? Worship outdoors can be an option that allows the most people to participate (NOTE: Please work within whatever Covid restrictions apply to your context at the time of your event). This Webinar replay covers: Present Context - Liturgical Framework - Styles of adapting to 'Outside'; Transfer, Translate, Transform - Examples and ideas - Further Resources - Being Inclusive
Worship leading and preaching
- Advent meditations 2021 Weekly reflections on the gospel readings of Advent from the new monastic community of Servants of the Word, - Ecumenical Advent Meditations. *
- Prayers & Reflections from our ecumenical community The NCCA have provided links to a range of Advent resources available through Australian Churches, including Act for Peace (Christmas Bowl) and Advent studies. *
- Advent + Christmas Resources 2021 is a video led by Dr Craig Mitchell from the Port Phillip East presbytery. The hour long video outlines a range of worship resources and ideas, with Craig and a range of other highly gifted practitioners providing ideas for activities, worship, music and insights for engaging our church neighbourhoods.
- By the Well - A weekly podcast where a Minister and a Biblical scholar discuss the lectionary readings to equip preachers to proclaim the Word.
Prayer and Meditation – Personal and Community
- Come Thou Long Expected Jesus – The Skit Guys Music and painting combine in this video for a powerful reflective prayer moment. Purchase with streaming license at https://skitguys.com/videos/come-thou-long-expected-jesus . *
- Praying through Advent Using the Arts & Faith resources, these videos lead a time of reflection and imaginative Ignatian prayer. *
- Arts and Faith Videos and guidance for using the Arts to prepare ourselves and our communities to engage in the themes of Advent. *
Live Streaming Congregations and Faith Communities
- Banyule network (SPACE Contemplative Community), 8pm Thursday
- Brunswick, 9.30am
- Hobart North, 9.30am
- Waranga cluster (Colbinabbin, Murchison, Rushworth and Tatura) 9.30am
- Ashburton (email the Church Office for Zoom link), 10am
- Brighton Beach (St Leonards), 10am
- Burwood, 10am
- Geelong (St David's), 10am
- Glen Waverley, 10am
- Greensborough (Living Faith), (UCA and Churches of Christ) 10am
- Kew (English Language), 10am
- Launceston (Pilgrim), 10am
- Mount Eliza (The Village),10am
- Murrumbeena, 10am
- North Balwyn, 10am
- North Ringwood, 10am
- Whittlesea, 10am
- Toorak, 10.15am
- Berwick (St Andrews), 10.30am. Also 9am Zoom, 4pm monthly Zoom T@St A’s - Messy Church (email the Church Office for Zoom links)
- Canterbury, 10.30am
- Kew, (Korean language) 한국 예배 12 noon
- Cornerstone, Korean Church of Melbourne (English Language) 2.30pm
- Cross Generation 5pm
- Sonder Collective 5.30pm 1st & 3rd Sunday of the month via discord. Visit Sonder Facebook page to request link
- North Ringwood, 6pm
- Tecoma 10am
- Ascot Vale
- Burwood Heights
- Cowes (St John’s)
- Gardiner (St Andrews) – English or Ibadah Bahasa Indonesia
- Hamilton and District
- Hanbit Korean Church 한국 예배
- Hoppers Crossing
- Korean Church of Melbourne 한국 예배
- Macedon Ranges Partnership
- Melbourne (St Michael's)
- Port Phillip West Presbytery
- Surrey Hills
- 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
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.
- Annette Buckley offers dramatic retellings of the weekly readings
- Phillip Liebelt offers dramatic retelling of the weekly readings
The Uniting Church in Australia Revised Common Lectionary 2021–2022 is now available on the UCA Assembly website.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
Please see the Synod’s most recent FAQ for guidance on who may be involved.
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:
- pre-recording, such as Manningham UC
- live streaming, such as Hobart North UC
- podcasting, such as Richmond UC
- live streaming of pre-recorded services (YouTube Premiere), such as Living Faith Greensborough UC
- Live church via Zoom, such as East Kew UC.
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:
- Weekly updated FAQ for Victoria and Tasmania
- A Recovery Action Plan checklist to assist you in deciding if you are able to be COVID-19 compliant. It should be completed by the church council before making any plans to reopen your doors.
- Posters that meet mandated requirements for both Safechurch instructions and Safechurch attendance numbers
Other information about gathering
- “Ministry Matters” has provided a useful set of guidelines and suggestions for ministry leaders preparing worship in this time.
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.
- Covid 19: An unprecedented Crisis?
- In Lockdown with the Galatians: Paul’s Good news for burdened people
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Mel Perkins (eLM, Lay Leadership) has collated some Mental Health resources to support mental health and emotional wellbeing.
Updated May 2021