15 December 2021
Pastoral letter – Christmas 2021
Fish Hoek Methodist Church
“When the Magi saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.” – Matthew 2:10-11
Christmas is almost upon us and for many of us the joy and celebration that usually accompany this time of the year hasn’t seemed to have arrived yet. With the increase in Covid cases, periods of isolation, work uncertainties and the disappointment of cancelled holiday plans, many in our community are feeling a little depressed. However, knowing that Christmas re-centres our hopes and dreams on our Messiah, we trust that Jesus is still present amongst us, despite how we may be feeling. As the voice of the prophets, angels, Mary and Zechariah remind us – ‘Light will shine in the midst of the darkness.’
As a family we are slowly enduring our period of self-isolation. Our youngest son, Joshua tested positive last week and so we all headed into isolation feeling a little shocked and lamenting the timing of the events. Just as we thought we had ticked off 7 days, Kim tested positive and so we had to start the isolation process all over again. Needless to say, we were very dejected and frustrated. Thankfully their symptoms have been mild, and we trust that God will heal us all in his good time. We are learning plenty of lessons during these days and perhaps there is a little irony in that we are having to patiently wait during the season of Advent – the greatest time of spiritual waiting in our Christian calendar.
- The office is open again and will remain open until the 24th of December. It will then be closed between Christmas and New Year, although you can contact us in the case of emergencies.
- We plan to have our worship services on Sunday 19th December – please book through the office to attend one of the morning services.
- We plan to host a Christmas Eve service at 6pm, and two services on Christmas morning – please note the times are 8:00am and 9:30am. These are strictly on a booking only system, obviously due to Covid restrictions. Sadly, we will not be allowing people to arrive on the day. All three of these services will be exactly the same, so please choose one service to attend, in order to allow others to worship too. There are still spaces at the Christmas Eve service and the 9:30am Christmas Day service. Bookings for the first service on Christmas are already fully booked.
- Thank you for your continued support, prayers, and commitment to the Lord’s work in our church community. Despite enduring another tough year, we have managed to get through our Centenary year 2021 with resolve and steadfastness. We trust that God will guide us into the uncertainty of 2022.
- I would also like to extend a huge word of gratitude to all the church leaders, society stewards, volunteers, and the office staff, Thomas, Joyce, Pauche and Mzoli. You have all served with much love and care this year and your loyalty has proven that when the body of Christ works together, much can be accomplished for the Lord. Thank you once again to our outgoing stewards, Malcolm, Gisela and Len. We will miss your input in our team meetings but are sure that the two newbies, Daryl and Lee, will step into the gap with much enthusiasm and energy.
- A special mention must go to Ken Gerhardt who tirelessly films and edits our online services each week. The poor man has to hear my sermon so many times each week – he really must be holy by now 😊We are so grateful for his gifts and know that God is using this medium of ministry to touch many lives. We are also grateful to Rudi and Gudrun Elliot for managing the website and for weekly uploading the content for us. This is a lot of extra work and they do it so willingly. Lastly, I want to thank Hilda Boyd for faithfully choosing our songs for the online Extended Time of worship. If you haven’t used this ministry yet, it really is a wonderful way of experiencing a whole worship service online – including songs, prayers etc.
- As from this week I will be taking on the added Pastoral oversight of the Simon’s Town Methodist Church. This will require a little extra planning and delegating on my part, but I am grateful for the support of the Pastoral Care teams, as well as the Society Stewards of both churches. Koeks Donaldson and Pieter DeBeer Strydom will be the first line of contact in our Pastoral Care team in Fish Hoek, as well as our Supernumerary ministers. I will send an update early in the new year as to how this will impact my weekly schedule and where I will be on each day of the week. I also pray that we can foster a greater bond with our sisters and brothers in Simons Town and the broader circuit.
- Our online ministry will continue during the holiday season, with our Sunday services streamed via the website www.fhmc.co.za and YouTube. Our weekly Bibles Study will go into a short recess from next week, but I will keep writing a daily devotion on my blog for those who would like to receive it – you can find it at www.livingingrace.co.za.
- Remember to drop off your Christmas hampers/love boxes by the 19th December. The leaders will pass these onto people who are in need before Christmas. Thank you for caring.
Lastly, we would like to wish you a blessed Christmas and a New Year filled with hope, joy and peace. May this time of the year be filled with many reminders of God’s goodness and overwhelming presence amongst us. Immanuel is with us.
Living in Grace
Delme, Kim, Declan, Nathan and Joshua