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Dear Church Family...

This is going to be a quite a long email... It was going to be full of the good news of church re-opening for physical services, but we've also had two shocks and heart-aches during this week...

Our Heartaches...

In my check-in on Wednesday, many of you learned of the sudden and unexpected death of Robin Catterick. Robin was in the Waterglen Shopping centre on Wednesday morning getting a cooldrink and snack when he collapsed and subsequently succumbed to a massive heart attack. Robin and his family Sharon, Tayla and Jamie have been members for many years and Robin served on our Board of Management.
Then, on Friday morning early, Heloise Sachse, a regular at our Grace congregation passed away after a being diagnosed a month ago with stage four pancreatic cancer which had spread rampantly. These deaths have shaken us to the core and our hearts go out to the families of Robin and Heloise.

If you haven't watched it yet, I want to encourage you to watch the check-in on our you-tube channel as I speak about how we cope with these kind of losses that take our breath away. You can contact me for a link if you can't find it. (I can't put too many links in this email otherwise it gets blocked by service providers...)

Heloise's daughter and family are well supported by their church family, but many of you have asked about what they can do for Sharon and her girls. I have talked to Sharon who has asked that we allow her and her extended family some time to process and find their feet in this time. If you would like to do something, you could provide a frozen meal in a disposable container and drop it off with Brenda (Please do not drop your meals off at the Catterick home.)

Please also take time to read the "Guidelines for Caring for People in Bereavement" that I have added below...

"Lord God, you know how our hearts break with all the pain and heartache we see around us. Please be with the families of Robin and Heloise and surround them with your healing comfort and love. In Jesus' mighty name. Amen."
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RESTARTING OUR SERVICES.
We will begin restarting our Services this Sunday.
Our elders have agreed on a cautious and incremental approach, moving forward thoughtfully and keeping our concern for others and our community foremost. We do not ever want to be labelled as a "super-spreader" church as has happened in Korea, the USA, France and Germany. We will err on the side of caution - not out of fear - but out of great consideration for the health and safety of others.

We will begin with one service this Sunday and we will continue our online services. As time passes and we get more acquainted with our new normal, we will increase our services, re-open the Sunday School and other activities. In my mid-week check-in I spoke about adopting a pioneer attitude and looking for innovative ways to function in these challenging times. I especially want to encourage fellowship groups and people living near each other to have "watch parties" or "house church" where you gather in small groups to worship together in that way. Just because we can't gather in big groups doesn't mean that we can't gather. We'll just de-centralise!

Here's how Sunday morning 8h30 at Emmanuel will work:

You should NOT attend if:

PLEASE HELP US...

We have to keep a register of attendees and this will be very time-consuming at the door and so we have an on-line booking form. Please, please, please use this - it will save a lot of time and congestion at our entrance!!!

It's at https://bit.ly/3iMj7Kq

And finally...
Many of you have expressed your love and concern for me... It has been a challenging time. Who would have thought that when I preached on Jeremiah running with horses, I would be preaching to myself!! We've had the break-in at the church, a conference that I am organising and this week these two very sad losses, a funeral and all the arrangements for re-opening. I am sad and tired, but it is well with my soul. I am profoundly grateful for my many blessings which includes a caring church family. Thank you for your love and especially for your prayers.

It turns out that our October Theme of "Overcoming" is going to be very apt!

That's all for now everyone. Please do have a look at my bereavement guidelines below...

With lots of love,
God bless,
Theo

Guidelines for caring for / visiting those who have been bereaved.

If you visit... (Please don't rush to do this.)








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Emmanuel Presby Church · 818 Plaston St · Faerie Glen · Pretoria, Gauteng 0043 · South Africa