Immanuel, Woden Valley NSW

The year 2020 has been challenging for our Immanuel Church, Woden, Guild Ladies as I’m sure it has been for all small groups around the country. Seniors’ luncheons were cancelled indefinitely. Retreat, fellowship days, Convention, ACT Church Women services, were all cancelled. Church services were live-streamed – thanks to the technical wizards who made that possible – and the rhythm of all our lives was changed, seemingly overnight!

Phone calls, though, are a poor substitute for face-to-face fellowship and we resumed almost normal meetings in July. The “proper” spacing was strange at first and there were certainly no whispered asides to each other. Rostered hostesses prepared and served the lunch/water/coffee. Very nice for the recipients and much work for those hostesses who nevertheless served with a smile and made us feel special.

During our pastoral vacancy we were blessed to have retired pastor, Dennis Obst, helping in our congregation and leading our Bible Studies at Guild meetings. What a joy it was to return to those shared studies and how we appreciated what we had previously taken for granted! Another of the benefits was to increase our compassion for those who don’t enjoy the same freedoms to worship and live as we do.

Our year is ending on a high note. Pastor Tim Muller has joined us from his last parish in Columbus, Ohio and was installed on 1 November. It was a day of great rejoicing and special celebrations – not least as it was held in the Holy Trinity Catholic Church in a neighbouring suburb; much larger premises which comfortably housed our local Lutheran crowd.

Pastor Tim has embraced his new leadership role and, with his wife Mary and two of their four sons, have settled into Canberra and the manse. All they need is their carefully packed shipping container of worldly possessions, which is way overdue, and languishing in Taiwan because of COVID-19 delays!

Our guild Advent evening will be held in the church this year due to space restrictions. We’re looking forward to that season and the Christmas services which will be all the more special after unavoidable isolation for most of the year.

The people of God are resilient, and we look forward with confidence to more normal times in the foreseeable future.

In Christ we trust

Meryl Packer

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