Letter from John Woodhouse

Dear friends

I would like to let you know what we are planning for Christmas at St Thomas’ North Sydney in these unusual times. Things will be a bit different this year, as we do our best to cooperate with the authorities and support their efforts. We will be working hard to ensure all of our gatherings are safe opportunities to celebrate the birth of the Saviour of the world.

On Sunday 20th December we plan to have our ‘normal’ Sunday services at 8am, 9:45am, 11:15am and 5pm. We have decided to forgo any attempt to hold a version of Carol Services or Community Party in the light of the restrictions under which we would need to work.

On Christmas Eve (Thursday) we are planning to stream ‘Carols at St Thomas’ North Sydney’ on YouTube. This will be a high-quality pre-recorded program of carols, stories, readings and a short talk (or the like). We would like to encourage our people to host Christmas Eve gatherings in their homes and invite friends, neighbours and family (up to 20) — especially not-yet-believers — perhaps for a Christmas Eve meal. It will be as widely publicised as possible. Time and speaker TBA.

On Christmas Day (Friday) we plan to have a Christmas service at 8am and 9:45am. At the latter we will include children in the service, there will be provision for overflow, and the service will be livestreamed. There will be no Christmas Day service at 11:15am or 5pm.

On Sunday 27th December (day after Boxing Day) we are planning our normal 8am service, a service with kids (provision for overflow and livestream) at 9:45am, and a service at 5pm as usual. (There will be no service at 11:15am on this Sunday.)

On the five Sundays of January (3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th and 31st) we are hoping to do something special. Understanding that many of us will be away for at least some of these Sundays, but that when we are around most of us have a bit more time on our hands, we would like to encourage everyone— when they can — to come to church morning and evening through the Sundays of January. We are planning a topical series addressing some of life’s big questions today. The intention is to strengthen the confidence of believers and engage not-yet-believers in challenging gospel related thinking. The series will cover 10 topics through the five Sunday mornings and evenings in January. More details soon.

Please pray that this unusual Christmas season will be a time when the wonderful news of God’s love for the world is heard by many who are prepared to listen — perhaps by the very strangeness of these days.

Your brother in Christ

John Woodhouse
Acting Senior Minister