Dear Rosebank Union Church,

On Sunday I experienced the joy and privilege of being inducted at RUC. It was indeed a very special day for us, but in some ways, I was more looking forward to our first ‘normal’ Sunday together. Little did I know that it would be quite a while before that would happen!

Despite the various views on the precautionary measures taken by our government regarding the CoronaVirus, the church’s leadership agrees that it makes sense to be conservative early, in an attempt to curb the spread of this disease. As a Church we certainly don’t want to contribute to the propagation of a damaging disease on our community.

Therefore we will be abiding by the government restrictions placed on public gatherings, which will have an immediate impact on our Church gatherings, until such time as these restrictions are lifted.

This means:

  • The AGM scheduled for 18 March has been postponed.
  • All weekly Youth and Children’s activities are suspended.
  • Other weekly gatherings at the Church will be suspended.
  • We will no longer be meeting for worship on Sundays on our premises.

The wording of that last announcement is important! Whilst we will not be gathering in our hundreds on Sunday for worship, we will still be gathering in small communities across our city for united RUC-style and RUC-led worship! The Church that normally meets at Rosebank, will now be meeting in your home!

Our team has developed an online platform to easily enable small groups to gather and have a worship service in their homes. This will include all of the usual elements of an RUC worship service, including continuing with the preaching of our planned new sermon series, worship, prayer, scripture, community, and yes, even offering! The only part left up to you is the coffee…

Visit the platform

As we began planning for this extraordinary season in our Church we really started believing that this is an incredible opportunity for us, despite these challenging circumstances.

In a way we will be returning to the very roots of the Christian Church, which started by gathering in houses (Acts 2:46, 1 Corinthians 16:19, Colossians 4:15, Philemon 2 etc). The advancement of the Kingdom of Jesus started in homes, and continued in this way at least for the first generations of the Church’s expansion in the Roman world.

Make no mistake: Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit, moves as powerfully in small groups as when we gather together more formally as a large congregation! In fact, we believe and are praying that we will experience a new, authentic and more intimate encounter with Jesus as we temporarily move to homes. In small groups we are immediately confronted with the need to actively participate in the worship; it’s much harder to be a ‘spectator’ in a small group! As awkward as this may initially be, we believe we are going to see Jesus work in profound ways in this time.

Our exhortation to you at this time is simply this: commit today to continue in worship this Sunday.

That means:

  • Think about who you will gather with. This could simply be with the people you’re living with, or perhaps gathering with a couple more. This may be a great opportunity to reach out to others and make intentional connections.
  • Think about what time you will gather. Part of the opportunity in this season is to meet at any convenient time, so long as it’s on a Sunday. There’s nothing inherently special about one particular day, but we do want to maintain some sense of unity within our individual gatherings.
  • Think about where you will gather.

We want to take great pains to emphasise the COVID-19 precautions for everyone in this time:

  • Do not attend any gathering if you are ill in any way.
  • Have no physical contact.
  • Frequently wash hands.
  • Refrain from touching your mouth.

These must be enforced by everyone, everywhere, in every situation!

At the induction service I shared the strong impression that our emphasis for the Church at this time is to ‘lift the sail’. The picture is that of this great ‘ship’ of Rosebank Union Church being open and ready for a particular and special move of God.

I certainly did not anticipate that this would coincide with a pandemic! However I have firmly come to believe that in our return to the basics and innocence of Church, our sails will be filled. Indeed I look forward to the day that we will all gather together again as the RUC family, and anticipate that being an explosive worship service!

Remember, in all things God is sovereign, He loves us, is with us, and intervenes on our behalf. Please pray with us for our Church, our members, our country and our global community at this time.

Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God. And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7)

Love,

Richard.