2020 had more than the usual degree of chaos for many people, but even in a relatively uneventful year, there is some degree of chaos in most people’s lives. Though one might yearn for a life free of chaos, even a cursory study of this topic suggests that chaos is important, perhaps necessary, for life. (Read more)
The Queenscliff branch of Rural Australians for Refugees is currently conducting a letter-writing campaign to our politicians, and would greatly appreciate our support. Please find out more by clicking on the links below, and see how you can help get justice for genuine refugees.
If you didn’t know just yet, God is on Twitter. The Almighty has over 6.1 million devout fans eagerly awaiting His latest posts while He Himself follows only one account—Justin Bieber’s. The parody account is full of hilarious jokes and witty comments that will hopefully make you laugh and raise your spirits…except if you are easily offended by a bit of off-colour language and a suggestion of heresy 🙂 (Click here to read more.)
After the annual general meeting followed by lunch in March of this year, about 30 members of the Ocean Grove congregation participated in an asset-mapping exercise. People were asked to list the assets of the church in five categories: physical, economic, associative, institutional and individual… (Click here to read more)
While ‘church’ is not functioning as usual in this time of social distancing, expenses still need to be met. Not having an offering plate to pass in worship means that the church depends on people taking the initiative to contribute in other ways. The simplest way is by direct debit from your bank accounts to ours.
To give to the Barwon Heads congregation, you will need to download from the U Ethical web site (https://www.uethical.com/forms-and-documents) a “Direct Offering Form” or, alternatively, contact Doug Whan (email@example.com), who will email one to you. The following information goes into question No 3:
- Bank: U Ethical
- Account name: Barwon Heads Uniting Church
- Account Number: 109654004
Contributing to the Ocean Grove congregation requires you to contact your bank, either online, by phone or in person, and request a transfer from your account to:
- Bank: Commonwealth Bank of Australia
- BSB Number: 063-834
- Account Number: 1005-1143
- Account Name: Ocean Grove Church Council
You may include your surname and/or your giving envelope number to identify you as the contributor.
Even simpler is to set up an automatic direct debit on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis. Just ring the Synod offices on 951-5200 for advice on how to arrange this.
If you prefer the familiar, a cheque may be sent to PO Box 393, Ocean Grove.
There are many people, who make sure they worship on Easter every year, who will not know where to turn this year. If you are one of them, please know that you are very welcome to join us online via Zoom on Easter and every Sunday morning at 10am. Australian Eastern Time.
If e-worship has one advantage, it is that distance no longer exercises its tyranny, so no matter where you live in this wide, wide world, you may participate as neighbour.
If you would like to be included, do the following:
- During the week, i.e. before Sunday, go the website at zoom.us and sign up.
- Spend some time familiarising yourself with the process. You can do all this without any special app for your device, but you will want to download the free app eventually.
- On Sunday morning just before 10am, open up Zoom, sign in and click on “Join”. You will be asked for a meeting I.D. and this will be posted each week on this website.
And that is all there is to it. We look forward to meeting you there.
The first live-streamed worship service on Palm Sunday, while not without some difficulties, was judged a success by participants, and so we will continue to pursue this method of delivery. We had 21 participating devices, most with more than one person, so our ‘attendance’ was almost as good as our last Sunday’s attendance at the two churches combined.
Quite possibly, this will be our normal way of worshipping for several months. One member suggested that, even after we are allowed to meet again in the church building, we should continue to stream the services for the benefit of those who cannot, for one reason or another, be present.
During our first go at ‘Zooming’ we picked up a few tips:
Zoom Tip #1
If you have some difficulty hearing, turning up the volume of your device too much may result in ’feedback’, causing unwanted and distracting noise on everyone’s device. For the hearing impaired, plugging a set of ear phones into your computer, phone or tablet is a better option. Alternatively, you may already have a hearing aid that allows you to get the audio directly from your device via Bluetooth. If these alternatives do not work, see Tip #2 below.
Zoom Tip #2
While on the subject of audio interference, if there is background noise at your location, you can prevent it from being broadcast by ’muting’ your device. You can easily unmute whenever you wish to speak to the group. You will see a little image of a microphone in a corner of your screen (mine is in the lower left corner). ‘Clicking’ on this will mute (or unmute) your audio.
Zoom Tip #3
We learned that responsive readings and prayers can be awkward. In the future, such sections will be fewer in number, and congregational responses will be kept short.
Geoff and Carol Naylor took the initiative of scheduling a Zoom meeting at 11am for a morning tea gathering after church, and invited everyone by email with the necessary information to log-in. This important part of church worked well. At one point 12 devices were engaged. As anyone can host a Zoom meeting, all are encouraged to follow the Naylors’ example. Meetings can be scheduled ahead of time, thus allowing plenty of time to issue invitations.
A Maunday Thursday holy communion will be held at 7:30pm this Thursday. The Assembly Standing Committee has authorised home communion during this period of restricted social contact.
On the following morning a Good Friday service will be streamed at 9:30am. More information about these services will be printed on the website in coming days.
Last June during National Refugee Week, our congregation, through its Justice and Mission group, hosted a discussion by a panel of refugees about their experiences. One of the panel members was Shokoofeh Azar, an Iranian journalist, artist, author. Ms. Azar had written an historical novel set in Iran after the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Not just any book, The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree was shortlisted for the Stella Prize last year and was a finalist in the Queensland Literary Awards.
It has just been announced that this book has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize (see Age article by clicking here). To even be shortlisted is an outstanding achievement, and we congratulate Shokoofeh and wish her well.