Newsletter 3 July 2020 | One day we will gather again…

Over the past few months, most churches have stopped meeting in person. A global pandemic, government regulations, and a desire to serve each other and society have kept us from gathering. Instead, we’ve held “services” online, met “virtually,” and used technology to connect.
As commentator by David Gundersen said: “One of these days churches will resume meeting. But these new services feel strange. Our sensitivities are heightened, our differences are on display, and we have to endure restrictions and protocols that are awkward, inconvenient, and frustrating. Then, no matter how safe we make it, some of our church family still can’t come.
“With all this in mind, some of us may feel tempted not to come at all. If our restored gatherings are so different and restricted, our online options so available and convenient, and our physical presence a genuine vulnerability, why should we even meet in person?”
This is a valid question. But before we make our decisions, we need to reflect on the importance of our gatherings so that our desire to meet grows instead of atrophying.
So, unless you’re someone who needs to stay home for health reasons, here are five reasons given by Gunderson (I’ll share the next five next week) to come back to church.

  1. We’re embodied creatures.
    God made Adam from earth’s soil, Eve from Adam’s side, and humanity from their union (Gen. 1:26–27; 2:18–25; 3:20). We’re embodied souls, male and female, in his image. We’re not ethereal beings made to float in virtual space. We’re not just pixels and screennames, headshots on Zoom and Facetime. We’re human beings. We’re designed to see and hear and taste and touch and feel our way through the physical world God’s made. In recent months, we’ve seen the power of our online world. But we’ve also felt its limitations. No loving couple gladly accepts a “long-distance relationship” as ideal. Neither should a loving church family.
  2. The church is one body.
    The Bible consistently teaches that the church is Christ’s body on earth (Eph. 1:22–23). Each believer is a different body part, but we’re intricately knitted together (Eph. 4:15–16). We’re not independent but interdependent. Our spiritual gifts are like eyes and ears and hands and feet that each play their part in the body’s growth and mission. Yes, even at a distance, we’re still Christ’s body. But like any healthy body, we shouldn’t want to stay dislocated.
  3. The Spirit is drawing us.
    Not only are believers one body; we also have one Spirit (Eph 4:4). The Holy Spirit — the third person of the Trinity — inhabits God’s church, and he’s always drawing us toward unity. God’s Spirit can’t be divided, so when Believers are separated involuntarily, we feel the tension — like a rubber band stretched too far. The Spirit within us yearns for us to be together, like that same rubber band pulling us back in.
  4. We’re a spiritual family.
    In the church, God is our adoptive Father, so we’re all spiritual siblings — God’s “household” (1 Tim 3:15). With our different ages and genders, Paul even calls us fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters (1 Tim 5:1–2). But families aren’t meant to be separated. Healthy families live together, laugh together, cry together, and help each other. Parents with grown children love it when the adult kids get together — and those parents are only fully satisfied when everyone is present. We must be faithful during this season to reach out to those who can’t safely join us. But all who are able should seek to gather for our life-giving family reunions.

ONE DAY WE WILL GATHER AGAIN…

Over the past few months, most churches have stopped meeting in person. A global pandemic, government regulations, and a desire to serve each other and society have kept us from gathering. Instead, we’ve held “services” online, met “virtually,” and used technology to connect.
As commentator by David Gundersen said: “One of these days churches will resume meeting. But these new services feel strange. Our sensitivities are heightened, our differences are on display, and we have to endure restrictions and protocols that are awkward, inconvenient, and frustrating. Then, no matter how safe we make it, some of our church family still can’t come.
“With all this in mind, some of us may feel tempted not to come at all. If our restored gatherings are so different and restricted, our online options so available and convenient, and our physical presence a genuine vulnerability, why should we even meet in person?”
This is a valid question. But before we make our decisions, we need to reflect on the importance of our gatherings so that our desire to meet grows instead of atrophying.
So, unless you’re someone who needs to stay home for health reasons, here are five reasons given by Gunderson (I’ll share the next five next week) to come back to church.

  1. We’re embodied creatures.
    God made Adam from earth’s soil, Eve from Adam’s side, and humanity from their union (Gen. 1:26–27; 2:18–25; 3:20). We’re embodied souls, male and female, in his image. We’re not ethereal beings made to float in virtual space. We’re not just pixels and screennames, headshots on Zoom and Facetime. We’re human beings. We’re designed to see and hear and taste and touch and feel our way through the physical world God’s made. In recent months, we’ve seen the power of our online world. But we’ve also felt its limitations. No loving couple gladly accepts a “long-distance relationship” as ideal. Neither should a loving church family.
  2. The church is one body.
    The Bible consistently teaches that the church is Christ’s body on earth (Eph. 1:22–23). Each believer is a different body part, but we’re intricately knitted together (Eph. 4:15–16). We’re not independent but interdependent. Our spiritual gifts are like eyes and ears and hands and feet that each play their part in the body’s growth and mission. Yes, even at a distance, we’re still Christ’s body. But like any healthy body, we shouldn’t want to stay dislocated.
  3. The Spirit is drawing us.
    Not only are believers one body; we also have one Spirit (Eph 4:4). The Holy Spirit — the third person of the Trinity — inhabits God’s church, and he’s always drawing us toward unity. God’s Spirit can’t be divided, so when Believers are separated involuntarily, we feel the tension — like a rubber band stretched too far. The Spirit within us yearns for us to be together, like that same rubber band pulling us back in.
  4. We’re a spiritual family.
    In the church, God is our adoptive Father, so we’re all spiritual siblings — God’s “household” (1 Tim 3:15). With our different ages and genders, Paul even calls us fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters (1 Tim 5:1–2). But families aren’t meant to be separated. Healthy families live together, laugh together, cry together, and help each other. Parents with grown children love it when the adult kids get together — and those parents are only fully satisfied when everyone is present. We must be faithful during this season to reach out to those who can’t safely join us. But all who are able should seek to gather for our life-giving family reunions.
  5. Preaching is a sacred moment.
    Our generation is used to John Piper sermons, God TV and the late Ravi Zacharias clips. Phones and screens and apps are now our default medium. In just three months, we’ve even grown used to watching our own ministers and leaders teach God’s word through WiFi. In this digital environment, we must remember that preaching is fundamentally a live, sacred moment (Acts 20:20, 27). Yes, it can be streamed and recorded and posted, benefiting both virtual attendees and future hearers. But for a local family of believers, God’s word is best communicated live as the Spirit empowers an appointed preacher and trusted shepherd to articulate God’s word personally in a moment pregnant with purpose and possibility. In these moments, ministers shepherd their own sheep, and sheep hear the voice of their shepherds. In these moments, we’re struck not only by the content of the message but also the gravity of the moment. When we hear God’s word taught in a congregation, we resonate not only with our risen Lord and his royal word, but with each other. A feast enjoyed together is better than food eaten alone.
    So, remember, when this is all over and Covid is under control, which it will be one day, that: We’re human beings. We’re designed to see and hear and taste and touch and feel our way through the physical world God’s made.

Mark Derry



Petro will explain how to install this on your smartphone.
Click here to watch.


Do you have a sewing machine?

Would you like to help to make face masks?
St John’s has partnered with Masks for PE and is encouraging people to make masks to give away in needy areas.
Wearing face masks when out and about is mandatory. Everyone needs at least 2. That’s a lot of masks!
Masks for PE makes it very easy for people to help.
They supply packs with enough pre-cut fabric for 30 masks, thread, fabric ties and instructions.
Finished masks will be packaged along with instructions in English and isiXhosa as to how to wear them safely and how to care for them.
Masks will be distributed at our Fountain Road Soup Kitchen in Ggebera and the Centre of Concern.

Belinda and Mike Jordan will be co-ordinating this project for St John’s.
Contact Belinda on 083 447 3900 if you want to start sewing and to arrange for delivery and collection.


Please Whatsapp Debbie (083 454 0479) to arrange collection.


Dedicated Giving
We would appreciate it if you could deposit your dedicated giving contributions via EFT into our bank acount:
Standard Bank
Branch Code: 050417
A/C Name: St John the Baptist Church
A/C Number: 080281206

(Please make sure your name & reference is included)


Inviting all TEENS to join us on a ZOOM meeting today @ 5PM.
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us04web.zoom.us/j/2253956501?pwd=YlFIU00zVDBUbWlYa1IvaVlEc1NkZz09

Inviting all Children’s Church kids to a Zoom meeting this Sunday @ 10am!
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us04web.zoom.us/j/2253956501?pwd=YlFIU00zVDBUbWlYa1IvaVlEc1NkZz09

Inviting all TEENS to a Teen Church Zoom meeting this Sunday @ 10:30am!
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us04web.zoom.us/j/2253956501?pwd=YlFIU00zVDBUbWlYa1IvaVlEc1NkZz09


Please contact Andrew 083 546 2451
or Petro 072 663 9774 should you have any questions or require assistance with ZOOM.


General Notice
Please be aware that the recycling area is currently closed until further notice.