Sunday, 6th December, 2015.

Welcome to everyone joining us for Playgroup Sunday – and an early celebration of Christmas. If you are visiting us for the first time, we hope you will enjoy the informal environment where we can have fun with our young children and learn something from the bible together. There will also be opportunity to pray for any needs or concerns, so at the appropriate moment, please don’t hesitate. In the meantime, please make the most of friendship and cake on offer before the service and do stay for lunch afterwards if you can.

The really big news is that after our congregational meeting last week and all other things considered, Parish Council decided unanimously to proceed with an invitation to City on a Hill (Geelong) to come and use our buildings. The centrepiece of the invitation is allowing them to worship on Sunday mornings, including making significant changes to the interior of the worship space and some other creative ideas they have regarding street signage, etc.

In order to facilitate this, we as the St Matt’s congregation will be changing when we meet. At this stage, we look like holding our Playgroup Sunday on a Sunday evening, once a month. We will also hold a Celebration Service, including a meal and Holy Communion on another Sunday evening once a month. Both the Op-Shop Community and Tate Street Missional Community will meet on the other Sundays respectively, at other times and venues to be decided.

For the Seniors, after discussion with Marlene Holloway & Lyn Hudson, we look like offering a weekly gathering on a Tuesday morning, with Holy Communion about once a month. This will be an opportunity to pool our resources with the 3C’s cafe and Seniors Scrabble groups combining, as it were. Given the age and health of some of our Seniors, we also need to look at transport issues.

For all those who wish to continue to gather for worship on a Sunday morning, it has been reiterated to me this week that we are very welcome to join City on a Hill. I envisage that some of us will indeed want to do this and also do something like gather for coffee together before or after the service. Parish Council has identified this as a priority.

The fine details have yet to be worked out completely; some of them are unfolding as we begin to talk amongst ourselves about the upcoming changes. I will keep you informed as and when I can.

In the meantime, I want to give you some more vision about why we’re making this offer.

1.       It’s the hospitable and generous thing to do for our fledgling, Anglican brothers and sisters.

2.       It’s an investment in the future both for our own congregation and for City on a Hill.

3.       It provides for us an ongoing central place, time and resource for larger, gathered worship.

4.       It releases St Matt’s to push further into the model of Missional Communities.

5.       It provides, in the short term, some much needed renovations to our worship space (albeit in a very contemporary style).

6.       It provides, in the longer term, an additional income stream enabling us to continue our much valued ministry.

I hope you can see that we are in exciting times and that not only will you be blessed by your own involvement but that many others will too. We each have a role to play in this!

God bless,  Ian.