Holiday Club 2023 Encanto is now firmly behind us and we are so grateful to God for His provision of the means, the leaders and the many many children who came through our doors for the five wonderful days of ministry.

Ignition is a project of Rays of Hope which supports students from Alex as they navigate their university studies. Having a good mentor is one of the most important factors in the success of the students. Each student is allocated an individual mentor and mentor training is provided. Do you want to volunteer for this extremely rewarding opportunity?
If so, join the online information session on:

Thursday, 10th November
at 7pm.

Contact Sarah: for details.

It was a joy to celebrate Easter together! We had a full weekend of celebrations, including a sunrise service! If you missed the Good Friday or Easter Sunday services you can catch up here.

This weekend we dive right into our second major teaching series for the year: God’s Household, where we will be journeying through the book of 1 Timothy.

It may not seem like it at first, but the book is a fantastic follow-on to Easter:

“I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth”

1 Timothy 3:14-15

As with all our major teaching series, we will have additional resources to complement your journey through the book. Each week we will release daily devotions that will follow the passage preached on the weekend. You can find them here.

Some of our community groups will be following the series in their mid-week groups. If you would like to join a group contact Pastor Zwai.

The Scratchpad Podcast.

We are also excited to announce a new podcast that will launch with this series, called ‘The Scratchpad’. This will be a talk-show type of discussion on the Sunday message, which will include additional material and insights on the passage. It will also include an opportunity for you to ask questions related to the Sunday message! Each week you can submit your questions here.

There will also be additional teaching platforms in the series, particularly when we get to the tricky bits. These long-format discussions will also include opportunity for questions.

Sunday Services

As is now customary, we have both in-person and online worship services. We are very grateful for the increased capacity (250 people) at religious services at this time, which means more opportunity for you to reconnect with the ‘church of the living God’! If you haven’t yet come back to Church, now would be a great time!

Our services will remain at: 8:00am | 10:15am | 5:00pmPlease remember to book!

The emphasis of this book is on godly living in the social microcosms of our lives, fuelled by life in the Church, which is the ‘the household of God’.

We hope you will come to deeply know

“… he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen”

(1 Timothy 6:15-16)

With you in God’s Household,


Title: One year on..

Dear Rosebank Union Church,

This weekend we mark the one-year anniversary of the Covid-19 disruption on our Church. It was on 15 March 2020 that we had our last full, unrestricted gathering on a Sunday! In the providence of God we were allowed a significant moment to meet, ‘Lift the Sail’, and head into the uncharted waters of a pandemic.

It is therefore somewhat serendipitous that we celebrate the one-year anniversary of closing church by re-opening it!

In case you haven’t heard: we’re opening our doors for a full, gathered worship experience again!

Due to the current limit of 100 people on religious gatherings we will be opening three services, to try and cater for as many RUC worshippers as possible. The services need to be slightly shorter to allow time for making the facility safe, meaning our service times in this season will be:

  • 8:00
  • 10:15
  • 17:00

Due to limited space, booking each week is essential. You can do that here (link)

Online Services

For our congregation joining us online: please note that we will be live-streaming the first two morning services, so choose one of the two times (8:00 or 10:15), gather, and join us for our brand new online Church experience (there will no longer be a livestream at 9:30).

We have done some upgrades to our online capabilities and are looking forward to bringing you the latest version of ChurchAtHome (which is now 5.0, if you’re keeping track!)

You will find the services on our usual platforms:

If you’re choosing to worship at home, in the spirit of our ‘Hospitality’ Rule of Life, (link to sermon on hospitality) consider being intentional about inviting others to join you. ChurchAtHome provides a remarkable opportunity not only for fellowship, but strategic hospitality.

Easter Services

The relaxing of restrictions for Churches also means that we get to plan for a memorable Easter!

We have a few weeks to go, so save these dates:

  • Thursday 1 April: Setting the Scene: immersive worship experience through the Easter Thursday narrative
  • Friday 2 April: Good Friday services
  • Saturday 3 April: Holy Saturday retreat (*new*)
  • Sunday 4 April: Sunrise service (*new*) & Easter Sunday services

AGM This Week!

Lastly, the reopening of Church also means that our AGM next week will be both online, and in-person. If you’re attending in-person be sure to book (link), as dinner will be catered.

At this AGM the emphasis will be on celebrating what God did at RUC in 2020, and looking forward to 2021 by presenting our Mission & Purpose for the year(s) ahead.

Hoping to see you soon,


An update from Pastor Richard van Lieshout: –

  • We’re re-opening church in-person from Sunday 14 March (services at 8:00am, 10:15am and 5:00pm) – BOOK
  • Services will also be live-streamed – We need volunteers!
  • Reminder about our upcoming Church AGM on Wednesday 17 March – BOOK

Everyday, wherever we look, we’re confronted with a world that is quick to take offence, quick to condemn, quick to criticise, to attack and to fight. In a world that’s broken by division and hatred, we want to be reminded of God’s call on us to love one another.

Series Resources

Please make use of these great guides for personal and groups study to help you get the most out of this series. These guides will be updated each week.

Series Outline

  • (27 September) Introduction
  • (4 October) Bear one another’s burdens
  • (11 October) Love one another, Outdo one another in showing honour, Live in Harmony with one another.
  • (18 October) Serve one another, Show hospitality to one another, Love one another.
  • (25 October) Bearing with one another, forgiving each other, teach and admonish one another.
  • (1 November) Confess sins to one another and pray for one another.

Dear RUC member,

This week the leadership of the Church have made the immensely difficult decision to cease the operation of our Hospitality Company, which will unfortunately result in the retrenchment of the hospitality staff.

This company has been at the heart of our events management and catering operation, hosting events for Church ministry, community organisations as well as external corporate events.

An operation of this scale has necessarily required its own contingent of staff, of which we currently have six full-time staff and two part-time staff. This contingent of staff manage events and catering on a spectrum from small church functions, the Street Cafe, right through to large corporate events.

Whilst our Church has been proud to offer a quality service across this spectrum, it has come at a cost.

In 2019 RUC subsidised the work of the Hospitality Company to the value of R124 000. Indeed the history of this operation indicates that the scale of activities is insufficient to cover the personnel and other costs. While external corporate event bookings do go a long way to covering costs, these external bookings will always be limited, due to the priority of competing internal ministry needs.

The cost is not only financial: the complexity of this kind of operation has made it very challenging for our staff. An inordinate amount of time has been spent with staff, Deacons and Church Council in trying to adequately manage this service.

We commend our hospitality staff for their perseverance and hard work in sustaining this operation despite its various challenges. Our decision to close the operation has no bearing on the work ethic of our staff. Our hospitality staff, from top to bottom, work long hours, seven days a week.

Ultimately though, the model is unsustainable, both from an economic and operational point of view.

This has been brought into blunt focus this year, due to the Coronavirus. As you are all aware there have not been any gatherings, whether religious or corporate, since March. As a result, the Hospitality Company has suffered a loss of over R600 000 to date.

There is little optimism that this will change for the remainder of 2020, which means that RUC could end up funding a loss of over R1 million by the end of the year.

At our Townhall Meeting on 1 July this year I spoke about the ‘Clarifying & Catalysing’ effect of the Coronavirus. It has become apparent that indeed this season has clarified for us as a Church leadership that we have to cease this operation and focus on our core ministries.

Whilst the mechanics of this decision are clear to us, the burden of the decision rests heavily on us as the beloved staff have served us so well over the years.

We are all so grateful to Yvette and her professional team for serving us so excellently, and representing a true spirit of hospitality to our Church and all the clients of the Hospitality Company.

The staff will of course be receiving appropriate remuneration as part of the separation package, but we would like to open a channel for you to donate towards an additional gift for this group. Should you wish to contribute towards a farewell gift you can make an EFT into our bank account with the reference ‘Hospitality’ (or by using the online donation form below)

I urge you all to be in prayer for these staff members. As a Church we are seeking to help find alternative employment for them, so please pray for these opportunities to open. If you have employment opportunities for them please contact us.


Richard van Lieshout

Donation to the Hospitality Staff

Dear Rosebank Union Church,

Next week Sunday we will be starting a new Teaching Series called ‘Coming Back Stronger’. It’s a series through the Old Testament book of Ezra, which we believe has particular relevance to our lives in these strange times.

This little-studied book of the Bible tells the story of the return from exile of the people of God, and how they sought to re-establish themselves in the land of Israel.

After seventy years of isolation God sovereignly orchestrated human events to allow the people to return, but even then the process was painfully slow- it took decades for the story to play out!

When I first heard this story it resonated so much with what I was experiencing during lockdown. Initially lockdown seemed like a temporary disruption, but it quickly became evident that this season of ‘exile’ would be a long one.

The good news is that eventually we too will return ‘home’, to a rhythm of life a lot more like the ‘normal’ we were used to. This Coronavirus season will end. But even then, the return journey may be painfully slow.

The significance of the story of Ezra is that whilst the period of isolation was long, and the return journey slow, God sovereignly used that time to shape the people in such a way that they would come back stronger. The book details people being shaped in resilience, purity, devotion to God’s word, worship and community.

It is our hope that as we journey through Ezra we will be shaped in the same way, ready to come back stronger, in our personal lives, families, community and as a Church.

When will we be meeting again?

Speaking of coming back as a Church, we have deliberately been taking our time to process the ruling allowing for religious gatherings of up to 50 people during Lockdown level three.

Whilst I was initially excited at the opportunity to be in gathered worship again, I quickly realised that our responsibility towards the health of our members, as well as our responsibility to the wider community, meant that we should wait and discern before making any attempt to return.

In some ways the decision to wait is made easier for a Church the size of RUC simply because there is no logistical way that we could fairly accommodate the approx 1000 people who attend a Sunday service.

Circumstances change so quickly these days that we feel it appropriate on a number of levels, to wait, and we ask for your patience and understanding in this.

Church Online Platform

This concession to religious communities also came at the same time as the launch of our new online Church platform (what we call ChurchAtHome 3.0), which we hoped would take us as far as we could go in terms of providing an opportunity for engagement with our Sunday services.

I have spoken much about the ‘macro’ and ‘micro’ interactions that we experience during gathered worship on a Sunday. At the beginning of lockdown the priority was to bring the ‘macro’ interactions online, such as worship, prayer and preaching.

Our priority in this latest iteration of ChurchAtHome is around engagement with the ‘micro’ interactions that take place during gathered worship, the weighty accumulation of all the little engagements you would experience on a Sunday.

The friendly hello from a parking volunteer, the nod of acknowledgement from a passer-by on their way into Church, the warm greeting at the door, the casual conversation in the pews waiting for the service to begin, the catch-up with friends over coffee after the service, the reassuring words of comfort or prayer before departing.

There’s no way we can replicate all of that online, but our new platform at least goes some way towards experiencing these interactions.

If you haven’t tried gathering around our live online services at 9:30 on a Sunday (8:30 for Kids Church) please give it a try, just log on here:

What else is happening?

There are a few other ways that we are hoping to continue building our Church community during lockdown:

  • Prayer meetings: It has been so encouraging to me to see how the gathering for prayer has also become the primary fellowship platform for our Church. The best part for sure is the breakout room time, where people get to meet others, connect and pray.
  • ‘First Mondays’: a monthly webinar series dealing with practical topics related to life in this Coronavirus season. We kicked it off on 1 June with Dr Nat Schluter, who helped us think theologically and pastorally about the Coronavirus. If you haven’t yet watched it go visit our YouTube channel for the replay, it is well worth your time (and share it with others!). Next up in the series we have Jane Kratz, chair of Biblical Counselling Africa, who will speak on the topic of fear and anxiety in this season.
  • Fathom’ course: an online learning opportunity around the wider subject of the Gospel, on our brand new online learning portal. Click here for an overview of the course. It’s a four week course that you can do in your own time!


One of the most moving moments in the book of Ezra occurs in chapter 3 (spoiler alert!):

All the people gave a loud shout as they praised the Lord when the temple of the Lord was established. Many of the priests, the Levites, and the leaders  – older people who had seen with their own eyes the former temple while it was still established – were weeping loudly, and many others raised their voice in a joyous shout. People were unable to tell the difference between he sound of joyous shouting and the sound of the people?s weeping, for the people were shouting so loudly that the sound was heard a long way off”

Ezra 3:12-13

I find that to be such a poignant picture of life at this time: a peculiar mixture of godly grief with faith-fueled hope. Most of the time they are so intermingled we can’t tell the difference between the two!

It certainly is creating the perfect conditions of heart, allowing us to be shaped by God so that we will come back stronger.

Waiting expectantly with you,


We are live in an unprecedented time in the history of the Church. Ordinarily, on Good Friday, tens of thousands of churches representing millions of people would be remembering the death of Jesus through the sacrament of Holy Communion. Now, in 2020, most of these churches will be empty.

Of course, we will still be celebrating what the death of Jesus meant for us by participating in worship, prayer & the Word through ChurchAtHome! But what about #CommunionAtHome? Is this something we can practice in our own homes, without the presence of clergy or without the gathering of other Christians?

In order to answer this question it will be helpful to refresh our understanding of the sacrament of Holy Communion.

The origin of Holy Communion, or the Lord’s Supper as some call it (1 Corinthians 11:20) goes right back to Jesus. Each of the synoptic Gospels records the last meal that Jesus shared with his disciples on the night that he was betrayed (Matt. 26:26–30; Mark 14:22–26; Luke 22:19–20):

Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives

Matthew 26:26-30

The significance of the symbolism in this event is connected to the occasion of this meal, which was the Passover festival (Matthew 26:17). This important celebration commemorated the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt, through the last of the ten plagues (Exodus 12).

It was on this last night in Egypt that the angel of death killed the firstborn male from every household (including livestock!), except for those in God’s covenant community, who identified themselves by painting the blood of an unblemished lamb on their doorposts. God commanded that on this last night a special meal be made to commemorate this event, a meal which included unleavened bread.

When Jesus then took bread and a cup on the night of the Passover, and connected it to his coming death, he redefined the elements of this sacred meal! He would become the passover lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7)!

What that means for us is that our ‘participation’ (1 Corinthians 10:16) in the ‘body’ (bread) and ‘blood’ (cup) of communion symbolically identifies us with those who have now finally, and fully, been saved from eternal death!

This leads us to an important principle that we hold to. We believe that Communion is for those who identify Jesus as their Saviour.

Just as the blood painted on the doorposts identified the Israelites as God’s covenant people, so our participation in drinking the cup (and eating the bread) identifies us as the ones who are members of God’s New Covenant (Matthew 26:17, Mark 14:24, Luke 22:20). That is: it is one of the ways that we symbolically identify ourselves as Christians!

Note: participating in Holy Communion does not make us Christians, it simply makes visible, or identifies, declares, demonstrates, that we already are Christians!

The apostle Paul would later say that those who partake in the body/bread of communion are those who ‘discern the body’, that is, those who already recognise Jesus as their sacrifice (1 Corinthians 11:29).

This is why Augustine called the sacraments ‘visible words’, meaning that the simple act of eating and drinking in the Communion meal is a declaration of our belief. The means of our salvation will always and only be by grace alone through faith alone!

This has direct implications for #CommunionAtHome.

If we were at Church we would emphasise and stress this point: Communion is for believers! Don’t take this lightly in the less formal environment of your homes!

It also means that parents need to be discerning of their children participating in communion. We have provided additional communication for parents on this, but the bottom-line is that anyone can participate, so long as they themselves would identify as Christians, and ‘discern the body’ of Jesus (symbolically) in the bread, and similarly his blood with the cup.

Since there is such significance to Holy Communion, which perhaps makes it better suited to celebrating at Church, why then are we inviting you to participate at home?

The answer again goes back to the occasion of Jesus’ last supper, the Passover. Here God commanded this to be a sacred feast to be kept “throughout your generations, as a statute forever” (Exodus 12:14). Again, Jesus adds to this in his re-interpretation of Passover (and the institution of Holy Communion) by saying we are to “do this in remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 11:24-25).

This is one of the reasons God gave us this particular ordinance as an observance, simply as a reminder of what Christ has done. This is not so much because we are in danger of forgetting, but we are in danger of distancing ourselves from the central event of Jesus’ sacrifice to the point where it no longer functions as the controlling centre of our lives!

We don’t know how long lockdown will last, or how long we will be restricted from gathering. We take seriously Jesus’ instruction to ‘remember’, and realise that as believers we should never move far from refreshing ourselves with the truth of the sacrifice of Jesus!

There is a second reason why we believe it’s significant to participate in communion at this time.

After affirming Jesus’ command for us to remember his sacrifice through this meal Paul adds: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26).

This means that there is a ‘proclamation’ or ‘preaching’ element to communion: it communicates something! It communicates the gospel in ‘visible words’ to those around us.

For now that may only include members of our immediate household, some of whom may not yet be followers of Jesus. Don’t underestimate the ‘preaching’ effect that your participation in Communion may have!

And let’s not forget the effect that our combined proclamation under such extraordinary circumstances may have on a watching world. Perhaps more than ever the world needs to see people ‘participating’ in the hope of Jesus!

One more thing: sometimes we as Christians need this ‘preaching’ of the gospel more than anyone else! In these days of fear, doubt, uncertainty and the threat of hopelessness, we need to remind ourselves, ‘preach to ourselves’, the certainty of the victory of Jesus! The ordinance of Communion not only communicates to the world, but also to our own hearts, and provides much needed assurance.

How will this all work?

Since the elements and the procedure are normally all laid out for you at Church, what must you prepare in order to participate in CommunionAtHome?

Richard will explain more about how we will partake during the live communion event, for now all you need to do is get the elements ready. Some simple bread or crackers, along with any form of juice (preferably red!), is all you need.

We look forward to proclaiming the death of Jesus with you in this powerful way tomorrow!

And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved

Acts 2:46-47

#Acts246 #LiftTheSail #ChurchAtHome #CommunionAtHome

Children & Communion

Our Children’s department has put together a great document on Children and Communion. Please read this to help you to disciple your children around the topic of Communion