As a faith community, we worshipped online more than half of 2020 and, as we enter 2021, we continue to be online. Sometimes I wonder, will the novelty of watching or worshipping online wear off? Will people start to make other extra-curricular activities a priority on a Sunday and forget worship altogether? According to a recent Gallup poll, it would be in our best interest to continue to engage in weekly worship. Although this is a study conducted in the USA, I think its findings are compelling.
As many of you know, Gallup surveys Americans' mental/emotional well-being and has done so for the past 20 years. A recent poll (November 2020) found that Americans who had stated they had excellent mental health now dropped by 9%. This is the largest drop since the poll started. In fact, Gallup found that during 2020 every category surveyed declined in well-being regardless of the demographic.
Interestingly, however, when it comes to church attendance there was a shift. People who attended seldom or never saw a 13% drop in their well-being. People who said they attended church monthly had a 12% drop. But people who attended church services weekly had a 4% increase in their well-being (Preaching Today, 4 January 2021)
This is amazing. Attending church and worshipping weekly increased mental health even during a pandemic. Although the survey did not specify if people attended online or in-person we are reminded of the value and importance of consistent church attendance and worship. Hebrews reiterates this, “And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-26
We hope you continue to join us for online worship each Sunday - 9:45am and 11:15am and if you know someone who might find it encouraging please share the link to online worship - it’s good for their health.
Blessings, Pastor Michele
Congratulations Monte Peterson! After five years of study on two continents, while parenting and working, Monte has graduated with a Master of Divinity degree from Luther Seminary. Well done Monte!
We are worshipping online this week at 9:45am (Traditional service) and 11:15am (Contemporary service). Find us on our website, Facebook page or YouTube. And it's time to kick off our 2021 programmes following the Christmas and New Year break. Details are provided below.
We are all keen to put 2020 behind us. But hey, it wasn’t all bad! Did you see our video of Union Church life during the past year?! There were so many events that kept us connected, spiritually fed, grateful and laughing amidst the pandemic pause. God is very good.
Zoom Coffee Hour: Between Sunday services, pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea and connect with friends and church leaders 10:45am - 11:15am. Contact us at any time to get the Zoom link.
ReCharge Contemplative Prayer: On Wednesday, 13 January, we will gather online from 8:00pm - 8:30pm for praise and thanksgiving, silent confession, hearing and meditating on God's Word, and lifting our concerns before the Lord. Email Monte Peterson for the Zoom link.
Young Adults ReConnect Night: We would love to have all our young adults join us for some fun games and activities as we reconnect on Wednesday, 13 January at 8:00pm. Email Dan Tupps for the Zoom link.
Men’s Fellowship Hong Kong, Zoom Exclusive Professional Lunchtime Gathering for Men and Women: Friday, 8 January 12:30pm - 1:30pm. Join us as we hear some of Hong Kong’s most beloved Christian executive coaches share their Hot Tips for an Awesome 2021 (Charles Caldwell, Trevor Smith, Derek Ma and Nigel Raymont). Register here to receive preview materials or simply join on Friday via Zoom.
Giving: Thank you for supporting God’s ministries at Union Church. Please check out the website to learn how you may tithe or make an offering online or by cheque. Still considering a pledge for your giving in 2021? It is not too late to send your commitment to the church office. Thank you.
The History of the Church in China, from the Tang Dynasty to the early modern era, Wednesdays, 20 January - 10 February 2021, 8:00pm - 9:00pm. Catriona Woodrow, local historian, teacher and theologian walks us through the introduction and growth of Christianity starting with the Nestorians in the 7th century, the role of the Jesuits in China, followed by the missionaries and local church growth during the colonial era. The four interactive classes will be offered on Zoom. Please pre-register at to ask questions and receive the Zoom link. All are welcome.
Book Group: Two studies are approaching in late January and February. Why not get started on one of our next book group reads? All are welcome to join! Contact Monte Peterson with questions.
Tuesday, 26 January: The Day the Angels Fell by Shawn Smucker; a novel that explores the difficult questions of life.
Tuesday, 23 February: The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri; a novel about an ordinary Syrian couple seeking refuge from the war that engulfs their homeland.
Film & Theology: People are watching a lot of movies these days; let’s get together to talk about them! Art and story can unlock our imaginations regarding God and faith and give us new eyes to see what God is up to. We’ll watch the films on our own, and then gather on Zoom for conversation, led by Chris McKenzie. Join us! Register with our Admin team. You can find the films on YouTube, Google Play, Amazon Prime, iTunes etc.
Tuesday, 19 January, 8:00pm: The Tree of Life
Tuesday, 2 February, 8:00pm: Groundhog Day
Quiz Night - Save the Date! All church QUIZ NIGHT coming 30 January, 6:00pm - 7:00pm.
Online Sunday School, Sunday 10 January: We are excited for our children to experience God’s love together in this new year. Our 3-7 year old children will explore a foundational, Jesus-centred journey through God’s story of love with our new curriculum, SIMPLY LOVED. Our 8 year olds and above will learn how to be bold for God through the BE BOLD study. We will meet online via Zoom every Sunday until further notice, from 10:45am – 11:30am. Registration required.
Sunday School 2020/2021 Registration is open: All babies and children need to be registered for the Creche and Sunday School which also allows you to get the Zoom link for our online Sunday School. You may complete the registration form here. For more information, please visit the Union Church website or contact us by email or ring us on 2101 0414.
Did you miss Union Church’s Zoom into Christmas Children’s Musical? It was an amazing, creative online production about the story of the Nativity. You can still watch it here!
Friday Youth Group – 8 January: We’re kicking off the New Year with a Friday Youth Discussion Night. We'll start with some warm up activities and then jump into a conversation around how to read the Bible and how we can apply it to our lives. 6:00pm - 8:00pm. Youth can join the Zoom via this link.
Sunday Youth Group – 10 January: We’re back to online Sunday Youth this week! Youth are welcome to join us on Zoom at 11:15am where we'll get to spend time reading and discussing scripture. Seniors will be looking at what the Bible teaches us about Christian leadership, and Juniors will be starting a new series based around asking hard questions! Youth can join here.
Wednesday Night Study – 13 January: On Wednesdays, we'll be starting a new study where we'll be watching the series "Chosen" about Jesus' disciples and discussing together. We will watch the first episode together, and then discuss. Join us on Wednesday, 6:30pm – 8:00pm. Here’s the Zoom link.
Social Media Workshop - 29 January: Social media is a constant part of our lives - as technology continues to evolve and change it's important that we take time to consider its impact. We're planning a discussion night on Social Media and Youth on 29 January. You can watch the movie "Social Dilemma" (available on Netflix) and we will discuss together how social media affects us and how we can use it in a healthy way. Information about guest speakers and Zoom link to follow.
Our Missions Partners: We look forward to sharing with you throughout 2021 news from our local and international Missions partners including prayer requests. One of the most effective ways we can support our partners and those whom they minister is through prayer.
Read more about all of our Missions partners here. Who would you like to be involved with? Stay tuned for an upcoming series of Union Church Missions videos!
Home of Loving Faithfulness: HOLF, our long-standing Missions partner, is searching for a faithful new Servant Leader/Family Executive Director in charge of the day to day operations at HOLF in Sheung Shui, New Territories. Please prayerfully consider who the right candidate is for this special organisation. More information can be found here. The application period has been extended to 15 January 2021.
St Barnabas' Society and Home: At Christmas, the Saturday Morning Group led by Patrick and Mariam Wong visited St Barnabas' Society and Home to show Christmas cheer and love to people in need. They delivered 150 gift bags and hot meals!
Meeting as a small group at this time is challenging, but the support from each other is more important than ever. There are online options - please reach out if you need help figuring this out! If you aren't currently in a group, we encourage you to try it out in the new year. There are groups for women, men, couples, day-time, night-time, etc. Interested? Contact Monte Peterson.
Need prayer? Reach out to us confidentially at We also provide high-quality, confidential care to people who are hurting through our Stephen Ministry programme. Contact Pastor Michele for further assistance.
Fertility & Pregnancy Loss
Fertility & Pregnancy/Infant Loss Support Group - Struggling and could use some fellowship, friendship and support? Please contact Tess Lyons.
Families in Need (FIN)
Our Families in Need ministry helps people with their basic monthly needs. If you can make a contribution, we are grateful for your generosity. Please mark your envelope "FIN".
To ensure we comply with all relevant laws, we have amended our Church policies with effect from 1 January 2021. If you wish to donate to a specific cause or Union Church Missions partner, please note that this donation can only be received by Union Church as a preference. Union Church retains the right to decide where funds received by the church will be directed. The "new rules regarding stewardship" were created and voted on by the Joint Leaders on 22 December and they have been posted to the notice board in the foyer of the church. If, during this period of COVID restrictions, you wish to receive a copy, please contact David in the church office.
Last Week's Sermon
“Resolutions” Rev. Dr. Michele Bland