Jesus said it well, “in the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!” John 16:33 NRSV. The New International Version states, “In this world you will have trouble.”
If you have been watching the news, listening to parents of young children lament the daunting prospects of online school (yet again) and seeing educators scramble to respond to the latest Hong Kong pandemic situation, you would agree. Additionally, there are many in our congregation who are ill and facing challenging situations. In this world you will have trouble. We do and we will.
It is during these times of trouble we can hang onto the promises of God.
Canadian schoolteacher Everett R. Storms during his 27th reading of the Bible, compiled a list of God’s promises and he found 7,487 promises from God to people. He also found other combinations of promises totalling 8,810 promises. Here are a few:
“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29
“For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” Isaiah 43:2
"I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
Looking for some encouragement today? I invite you to uncover some of those promises for yourself. Whatever storms you are facing, God’s Word can and will provide comfort and encouragement.
Blessings, Pastor Michele
We are online for this Sunday's worship services. Watch the livestream of the 9:45am (Traditional) and 11:15am (Contemporary) services here. Catch up with friends during Zoom Coffee Hour, Sunday, 16 January, 10:45am. Email for the Zoom link.
Study groups and classes are online too. Please talk to your ministry leader for arrangements.
Selah Service (postponed): This unique, contemplative worship service is best experienced in person. We will let you know the new date as soon as possible.
Men's Fellowship Dinner (postponed): The Men's Ministry at Union Church looks forward to meeting for fellowship, dinner and testimonies as soon as restrictions lift.
Women's Ministry - Bloom Where You Are (postponed): It's best if we can gather all together for this event - it will move to 24 May. Keep the date of Tuesday, 25 January - look out for @thetable zoom social details below!
Tomorrow - Friday Ladies Group, ONLINE, 14 January, 10:30am - 12 noon, Zoom: The group is continuing with the DVD and book, Elijah Faith and Fire by Priscilla Shirer. If you want the Zoom link or need the book, contact .
English Service for Christian Unity, ONLINE, Tuesday, 18 January, 8:00pm: As part of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2022, join this service with speaker Rev. Maggie Mathieson (of Kowloon Union Church). Watch the livestream at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5btpRVvNYvM. You can find the liturgy here.
GriefShare, ONLINE Wednesday, 19 January, 7:30pm: The third session addresses The Journey of Grief. We are now holding GriefShare online. Contact for the Zoom link.
Young Adults Study - "Your Time is Now": ONLINE Wednesdays at 8:00pm, 2nd session is on 19 January. Want to know God's purpose for your life now? In this six-part series, speaker and chaplain Jonathan Evans encourages us to walk in God’s purpose today and for the rest of our lives. Learn how we can take hold of what God wants to give us right now. For more details and the Zoom link contact Dan Tupps.
@thetable Zoom Social, Tuesday, 25 January, 8:00pm: Join with friends, bring your tea, hot chocolate or preferred beverage + meet @thetable. Zoom link coming soon! Questions? Contact .
Robert Morrison, Pioneer Protestant Missionary to China, Online: Wednesdays, 16 and 23 February, 8:00pm - 9:15pm. Join Catriona Woodrow via Zoom to explore the significance of the life and work of Robert Morrison (1782 - 1834). This continues our heritage series of the rich historical foundations of Union Church Hong Kong, as we prepare to return to 22A Kennedy Road. Save the date - registration opens soon.
Alpha Course, Thursdays, starting 10 March, 7:45pm (NEW DATE): We are excited to offer the Alpha course in March - your opportunity to ask any question about the Christian faith. Bring a family member, friend or colleague! Registration is open.
Sunday School Registration 2021-2022: Registration for the academic year 2021/2022 is open. Children ages 0-10 years old enrolling in our Creche and Sunday School programme must be registered by completing the form HERE. Registration forms are also available at the Children’s welcome table. For more information, please visit our website, email or call 2101 0414.
Friday Youth - Tomorrow & Online! - 14 January, 6:00pm - 8:00pm: We're picking back up with our series on the 10 Commandments by J.John. We'll check in on Zoom before heading to our breakout rooms for Juniors and Seniors. Zoom link is here.
Sunday Youth Online - 16 January, 11:15am: This Sunday we are starting a new series for Juniors and Seniors, as well as having time to check in, pray and more. You are invited to join the Zoom here at 11:15am.
Youth Confirmation Class starting soon! This is the opportunity for Youth ages 12 and older to participate in a class that provides Christian foundations and mentorship. Sign ups are open through 28 January and the class runs February through May 2022. Contact for more information.
MISSIONS - ODETTE SPECIAL REPORT
Super Typhoon Odette devastated large swathes of the central Philippines across the Visayas and northern Mindanao in mid-December leaving a trail of destruction far and wide.
Union Church ministry partner, International Care Ministries (ICM), works in all these affected areas and is already on the ground assisting the churches and people hurt by the typhoon.
Union Church has in recent years supported 3 CAMACOP church plants on the island of Leyte in the eastern Visayas in the coastal communities of Pintuyan, Albuera, and Hindang. (CAMACOP stands for the Christian & Missionary Alliance Churches of the Philippines, another Union Church ministry partner.) All three incurred damage with the Pintuyan church completely destroyed.
The pastor at Pintuyan, Rafhel Cuadra, was severely injured over the weekend from a single vehicle accident while he was transporting relief aid to congregants. He underwent surgery on 12 January for a broken shoulder and other injuries at a regional hospital.
Union Church is coming alongside to assist in the recovery from Typhoon Odette in support of ICM and our CAMACOP church plants in rebuilding the churches and assisting some of the congregants, and in providing for the medical care and treatment of Pastor Cuadra. Please keep Pastor Cuadra in your prayers for a quick and full recovery from his injuries and that he can soon return back to serving his congregation.
ADDITIONAL MISSIONS NEWS
Walk The Wall 2022 Hong Kong extended to 31 March! This is a global movement to give life and end abandonment for the most vulnerable children in China. Union Church's Filipino Fellowship is the pacesetter - again! On 1 January, they hiked 15km in 5+ hours and raised $15k for International China Concern HK. Why not Walk the Wall with your own small group or ministry team?! Register today https://walkthewall.org/hk/
Kun Sun Prison Ministry: We are thankful for the work of the Hong Kong Christian Kun Sun Association (KSA) at prisons and the Castle Peak Immigration Detention Centre. We pray for a hope and a future for prisoners and detainees, many of whom do not know how long they will stay there. We lift up everyone involved - and say a special prayer for those at the detention centre who experience prolonged uncertainty and anxiety. To learn more, read KSA's latest newsletter.
SAT-7 PARS programme New Identity: In Persian societies, a woman's identity is often defined only in relation to their father or husband, which can lead to a lack of rights. SAT-7's PARS programme is helping Persian-speaking women discover their true identities in Christ as beloved daughters of God. Read more from our Union ministry partner.
Light of the World Church and Preschool, Myanmar: Pastor Vum asks for prayers for two elderly women Mrs. Aye, who had her eyes operated on before Christmas, and Mrs. Pan Wan - that the health of both women would be fully restored. He asks for prayers of protection for villagers who are persecuted. Homes are reported to be bombed in the provinces and cities.
Persecution in Rural India: 2021 was one of the most violent years for India's Christians. Ten Indian states have adopted anti-conversion laws and anti-Christian groups have attacked believers and churches. On Thursday, 20 January, 7:30pm, a special guest based in India, Remo Paul, will share insights on religious freedom for Christians during a Stand Asia prayer meeting. Contact for the Zoom link.
Stay connected while church is online. The support from your friends in a small group is tangible demonstration of God's love for us. Interested in joining one? There are groups for women, men, couples, day-time, night-time, etc. Contact so that we might suggest a good group for you.
Pastoral Care and Prayer
Last week's service
“What's New in 22 - You" Rev Dr Michele Bland