Uniting Heart & Soul of Woollahra
God, what are you up to?
It was a Friday 9 weeks ago and at 11 am Gladys gave the orders that church would go into hibernation for the coming weeks due to the impending doom of Covid.
I could be heard screaming from my car “ NOOOO GOD!!!!! I have a strategic plan for my church and this has stuffed the plan, please God what are you thinking?” I quickly dusted myself off and I went straight into action. I rallied the troops, we were going into battle mode titled “WHAT COVID?”
I called Josh Wyatt at Signal box who was working with my team at Uniting Heart and Soul of Woollahra on all marketing and creative matters to help kick start our new church plant at Woollahra. Josh was totally unflappable and said, “Ness, I’ll be at your place at 3 pm we can film your sermon for the week and get it up online”.
I kept thinking this was NOT in our plan, God, what are you up to? I called the Uniting heart and Soul worship team aka Jonty Cornford “Musician extraordinaire” and Rachel Humphries “vocal angel” and inquired into their recording capacity. Jonty immediately said, “ Yes Ness we can do whatever you need, I have recording experience and all the necessary gear to put songs together”. Rachel was also 100% on board. Afterwards, I called Jessica Chau our creative director at church and she agreed to do the prayers. Josh from Signal box would do the final edit and load it on our Facebook page and website. Phew crisis diverted, time for a pinot!
I was so grateful to be able to bless our community with a service for that week. We had about 120 people watch that week. WOW, our church numbers doubled in lockdown who would have thought?
God, what are you up to?
God had assembled a team of people with very unique skills to bring about an online church. Jessica Chau is a famous movie star in Asia who has been in many action films, she is a total natural in front of the camera. Jonty is a musician and recording artist with years of experience, Rachel is studying Vocals at AIM Currently , Josh is the digital master of all film and creative things.
Before I was a Rev I was an actor and one of my gigs was as presenter on Good Morning Australia with Bert Newton in the ’90s. Was God going to actually use my TV skills for church and His mission (OK God just for a few weeks to get us through this Covid storm, so I thought). God had assembled all that we needed to do His mission for this time and place. Together we do a 30-minute online service that has a chill vibe. Music, Prayer, Message, Music is the liturgical flow of what we bring each week. Just long enough so you don’t dose off while you sip your coffee and sing.
After eight online services we have consistently seen growth and now we have over 1.3K people engaging with us in the week either on Facebook or our website.
Due to Covid, I say with a giggle, we have planted an online Uniting Church, which was possibly Gods plan for us all along but it took a pandemic for me to realise and to be brave enough to give it a try.
We want to share our resources with you at this time especially if you need good music and a no BS message about our radical Jesus. My style won’t suit everyone but some of you might see it as your jam.
Vanessa Williams-Henke (Rev. Ness)