We are living in troubling times and it is very easy to be swayed by many conflicting and vociferous voices.
This week I have been pondering the response to the vaccines and how we as Christians accept the limitations placed on us and our so-called freedoms as we grow weary and want to be out and about.
Also there is much fear about the possibility of restrictions placed on nonvaccinated being excluded from gatherings.
I want to share with you some extracts from an article published in the Otago Daily Times and reproduced in the Baptist Magazine online. It is written by Gareth Jones who attends Dunedin Baptist Church and is an Emeritus Professor of Anatomy. There is much to think about. I have taken highlights from the article. Gareth writes:
A great deal has been heard of late about the use of vaccine mandates to control who can and cannot work in various organisations, from hospitals to schools, and who will or will not be allowed to attend concerts and sporting fixtures.
In the midst of what can be a confusing scene, the leaders of some church groups have made their views abundantly clear, as they have railed against any mandates that would prevent people from attending their churches. In their eyes vaccine mandates would represent placing the authority of the Government over the authority of God.
To turn people away from services goes against all that most churches stand for. But it is unfortunate that much of the well-publicised opposition to vaccine mandates is based on the rights of individuals and the freedom to express themselves as they wish
An emphasis far more congenial to Christian thinking is the opposite, and that is to protect the health and wellbeing of all within the community—both within the church and in wider society. There is no hint in Christian thinking that the authority of the church is superior to the authority of government. Ideally, they work alongside one another respecting each other and endeavouring to achieve what is best for all within society.
Biblical values emphasise love of neighbour; service of others; support for widows and orphans—in our society this translates into support for the vulnerable, those unable to fend for themselves, those with compromised immune systems, the elderly and the very young, and especially those with chronic health conditions. There is a communitarian thrust to Christian teaching, pointing towards the welfare of others, inside and outside the church.
In the midst of a serious pandemic, individual churches have to determine their own policies regarding vaccine mandates. Since COVID-19 is a serious public health problem, the vaccinated/non-vaccinated dichotomy cannot be ignored by allowing everyone to act as they wish. In public health terms, everyone in a church community is affected by the actions of everyone else. No-one is an island and so the decisions of each person have an influence on everyone else. Individual interests are never to dominate, as clearly brought out by core biblical teaching to love God and one’s neighbour. Each of us is responsible for looking after those around us, in health terms as well as in spiritual terms.
In the final analysis, the church leaders have responsibility for the health and safety, and the welfare of all within a church building. This is a general principle, extending far beyond COVID-19 considerations.
The Covid Vaccine Debate - Part 2:
This Sunday, we look at the suggestion that the Covid 19 Vaccine is 'The Mark of the Beast' found in Revelation 13.
Kids Programmes during Lockdown
There will be not Blaze or Spark's programmes running due to covid restrictions.
Youth on Zoom
This week we are bringing back some OG games, so join us for some fun and a chance to catch up. And as always, feel free to invite others to join us.
4:30 pm on Friday 5 November.
Click here for the Zoom link.
Virtual Morning Tea
This Sunday at 11:30 am, after our worship service has been posted, we will be having a Virtual Morning Tea!
Get your biscuit and a cup of coffee and sit down for a Zoom chit-chat with others! Catch up on others' weeks, talk about whatever, leave whenever you wish, enjoy some fellowship!
The young people are also invited to this, and then will have a 'break-out' Ignite youth meeting using the same zoom link, which Matt will organise.
Giving to our Community During Lockdown
There are many in need in our community during lockdown. If you would like to contribute financially, a couple of good options would be to Vision West (click here) or contact Ruapōtaka Marae in Glen Innes on 09 5705340.
This is a family-friendly Christian music and arts festival held in the Waikato, on anniversary weekend, 28-31 January 2022. Ticket prices will go up at the end of October; however, there is still plenty of time to sign up. Check out their website here, or talk to Matt Anderson if you have any questions.
Due to covid restrictions, we are unable to meet in person for out mainly music sessions. However, a link will be posted on our Facebook page each Tuesday at 10am for anyone who wants to sing along virtually!
Young Adults Home Group
Every Sunday evening at 7:30pm. Please email the church to be added to the Facebook page, and check Facebook for updates of what we have going on. We'd love for you to join us!
Basix Small Group
Basix is a series of chat group courses looking at the basics of the Christian faith. Each course runs for four weeks, and discusses questions about who God is, life and the Christian faith. Please contact the office if you are interested.
Wednesday Night Home Group
Home Group at the home of Paul and Ruth Ungemuth every second and fourth Wednesday at 7:30pm. Each week we share in supper, do a bible study and pray for each other. Will begin on Wednesday 13 February. Contact the office for more information.
Thursday Morning Home Group
Home Group in the church lounge on the third Thursday of the month at 10am. After morning tea we do a bible study and pray together. Contact the office for more information.