388 Montague Rd Para Vista SA 5093 Australia
+61 8 8263 5087

Immanuel – The Power & Possibilities of Presence

Immanuel – The Power & Possibilities of Presence

The alarm blared at 5 am. It was a cold, foggy autumn morning. I wasn’t overseas on a ministry trip heading out early, there were no appointments in my diary, and I only planned to start writing at 8.30. Why the early start?

There was no hesitation, however. I leapt out of bed, dressed appropriately, switched on my headlamp, and went to meet the four other morning joggers waiting at the local pub.

Halfway home, I huffed to the guy running next to me, “I wouldn’t have done this if it wasn’t for you lot. Not only did your presence motivate me, but you also made it enjoyable.”

“Same,” he gasped.

That’s the power of presence.

“Look, the virgin shall become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” (Matthew 1:23)

Christmas is about the power and possibilities of presence.

Presence changes everything. In Jesus, God is with you, despite the worst of you, outside of your circumstances, and regardless of what others think of you. You have his very presence living within you through the Holy Spirit.

You now begin to see yourself as incredibly loved, one in whom the Father delights. Even when you feel abandoned, you can declare out loud that you are chosen and loved.

This is the message of Christmas. Jesus enters this world and your world. He dies in your place and is raised to life to be present with you always.

How different would life be if you knew that you were never alone, that your problems don’t cut you off from God but instead move his heart toward you? That’s the power and possibility of presence. It releases you to think in a new way—about God as your Father, about yourself, and about others.

Pr. Peter Steicke

Bible Reading for this Week: Matthew 1:18-25 (NIV)

Please check the website www.paravista.org.au for podcasts and video archives of weekly messages or head to our Facebook page www.facebook.com/goodshepherdparavista for regular updates and encouragement from our ministry team.

Prayer Requests

Please forward all prayer requests to the church office via churchenquiries@paravista.org.au or phone 8263 5087. If you know or have spoken to anyone who does not have access to a computer, please assist them to submit their request and offer to pray with them. Prayer requests are not included in the weekly news online. If you would like to view the current requests, please refer to the email that alerted you to this Weekly News.

Christmas Service Times at Good Shepherd 

Come along and celebrate the birth of baby Jesus with us!

Minister Call to Para Vista – Update

Extracts from an email received by our Chairperson from Pastor David Schmidt. 

“Hi Lindsay

Thank you for the invitation to prayerfully consider the call to Good Shepherd, Para Vista.

It was wonderful meeting with you and your leadership team via Zoom. As a community, I certainly sensed that you are a people of God who are earnestly seeking where God is leading. I also sensed that you are positively wrestling with how congregations can do ministry and mission together.  Your Meet and Eat ministry, as well as the Kids and Parents ministry that is just beginning (of which I cannot remember the name), are wonderful statements of how God’s church does mission as the body of Christ. I also noticed the heart of your leadership team to be developing a culture of prayer. This is essential in our learning to listen and notice where God is working.

I write this email to formally let you know that after praying about this call, I sense the need to Decline it.

This has nothing to do with Good Shepherd Lutheran Congregation – who you are and where you sense God is leading you. I certainly felt many synergies between who you are and where I believe God is leading the church.   The reason for my declining the call is that I still sense that God’s call on my life for the work across the LCAQD, as well as God’s call on my wife’s involvement at Prince of Peace Lutheran College, has not yet concluded.

I will be praying for you and the people at Good Shepherd, as you continue to seek God’s leading.

May God’s Grace, given through the Christ himself, uplift you all this Christmas”

This certainly confirms the direction we are taking as church to Reach into the community with the Gospel that all may know Jesus and worship him.  The leadership teams and the call committee will convene early in 2023 to decide our future direction from here.

Rev David Schmidt  BTh MCouns
Director Mission and Ministry, LCAQD

This certainly confirms the direction we are taking as church to Reach into the community with the Gospel that all may know Jesus and worship him.  The leadership teams and the call committee will convene early in 2023 to decide our future direction from here.

Congregational Administrator on behalf of the Chairperson

An exciting Opportunity to Join Good Shepherd Church Staff

Administration Team Leader

  • Part time- 25 hours/ per week
  • Position description, Contact Congregational Administrator Stephen Zanker at stephen.zanker@paravista.org.au
  • Applications close: Monday 13th January 2023
  • For more information: Click here

Bringing Joy to Christmas

 Lutheran Care were very surprised at the quantity of food and gifts in our November collection and thank you for your generosity.

Although this was delivered to their Blair Athol site much will be returned to the Ingle Farm Family Hub in the form of Christmas food hampers and presents for children. The Hub will be distributing 21 Christmas food hampers. In these 21 families there are over 60 children who will each receive Christmas presents.

Thank you for your support and for the joy you will bring to these families.

100 Hearts Project

“A big Thankyou is sent from the students and staff at East Para Primary School to the lovely people at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.”

The hearts have been an incredibly blessing that has lifted the spirits of more than 100 students and staff.

I went into each of the three classes that had been relocated due to storm damage and shared a story about how my church friends wanted the children to know that they care about them.

I handed each student their own little soft heart and tag. The students all very excitedly hugged and treasured their hearts, feeling the joy and care.

The school principals were overjoyed to know others cared about our school. They really appreciated their hearts and the beautiful gesture of GSLC.

The front office staff were so thrilled that they put an article in the school newsletter.

The students’ comments and hugs blessed my heart and encouraged me as a Pastoral Care Worker at East Para Primary.

THANKYOU so much Mary Jo, Julie and Good Shepherd for the joy this has brought to our school community. God brings good out of everything even storm damage.


Give To Kamwenge This Christmas

In 2011, Maranatha Health began its operations in Kamwenge district, an incredibly under-serviced region of Uganda. The community embraced us and became a part of the MH story. Two years later, circumstances required us to move to a neighbouring district, where we are now.

This Christmas we are giving once again to the place where it all started.

We are partnering with a new health clinic being established in Kamwenge. This is an opportunity for MH to do our core work of EMPOWERING – building the capacity of the broader Ugandan healthcare system by offering equipment, training and staff time.

We want to get this clinic off to a great start to ensure more families have access to quality health care. Our aim is to raise $20,000 by January.  This Christmas, give the gift of empowerment to our colleagues at the Kamwenge health clinic!

Visit www.maranathahealth.org/christmas to celebrate Christmas with MH, through a gift to Kamwenge!

RENEW Young Adults Camp

RENEW is a camp for young adults and those who have just finished high school to gather together for a weekend to connect with God and others. Join us to be “renewed” through worship, electives, activities, fellowship, and late-night chats.

Due to the flood currently impacting the river Murray communities,

RENEW 2023 camp will be held at Dzintari Campsite at Normanville from 3rd-5th February 2023
Two Nights $185 | One Night $155
50% discount – Year 12 school leavers 2021/2022

Click here to register: https://bit.ly/3FCq8ME


Connect Cards

Please fill in a connect card as you walk in the church as it is the only way we can connect with you!

GS Family Care Calls

Seeking volunteers (of all ages) to make pastoral care calls during Advent. Please see Cees Wesselingh, Kathy Liebig for more information or contact the church office.

Calling For Pastoral Care Team Coordinators

Our church community is seeking for a person or persons to assist in coordinating the Pastoral care for our community.

If you are interested and believe you have gifts to serve our church family in this way, please come and speak to Cess Wesselingh after the service or write it on your connect card so he can get in touch with you and explain this further.

Calling For Church Volunteers

As from November we are hoping to offer Holy Communion twice a month for each service.  However, to be able to do this successfully we will need more volunteers.  The areas we need help include setting up, serving, and clearing up. None of these are big tasks and full training will be given.

We are also looking for volunteers at both services to serve as Worship Hosts and Welcomers, and to help serve morning tea.

Please prayerfully consider this request and notify the office if you feel called to serve.

Family Support Coordinator News, From Georgie

Christmas Service Times at Good Shepherd

Christmas Eve: ‘From Darkness to Light’ 5:30pm (family service); 7:30pm (carols and drama)

Christmas Day: ‘Joy’ 9:30am

Bring your children and your grandchildren! We would love for you to join us this year for our Christmas Eve Family Service at 5:30pm, as we celebrate the birth of baby Jesus!

This year’s theme is ‘From Darkness to Light’. While not compulsory, you might like to bring a LED light from home to add to the atmosphere…

School Snippets

We have so many things to be thankful for. Our Good Shepherd guiding us through a year of challenges and blessings. This week students met their teachers and class groups for 2023, while many new parents/ caregivers gathered in the church café for coffee and conversation! On Tuesday, we gathered for worship in the morning and farewelled our graduating students in the evening, reflecting back at their time at Good Shepherd as well as looking forward with hope and optimism to their future. On Thursday afternoon the ELC students celebrated their end of year with their Christmas concert, sharing the good news of Jesus’ birth. We indeed have a lot to celebrate and thank God for.

For a final wrap up of the year, please enjoy our School Newsletter by clicking on this link: https://bit.ly/3j2nYgd

You might also like to view our 2022 Good Shepherd reflection video via this link: https://vimeo.com/781253404

Growing Faith at Home

Dear Church Family,

Do you know the meaning of your name? This week’s GFH resource provides an opportunity for your family to discuss one of Jesus’ names ‘Immanuel’ as well as the names of people in your own family! I have also placed printed copies of the Christmas Family Faith Trail in one of the stands in the church café area. This booklet is packed with Christmas themes and activities designed for pre-school, primary students as well as all age activities.  There are prayer and online video suggestions, reflections, even a Christmas biscuit recipe… Plenty of ideas to explore during the school holidays!



Do you like camping and sharing time with other people who like to have fun? Here’s an idea!  SPIN is a four-day, three-night, statewide camp in January for young people in years 4-6 (in 2022) to experience an inclusive and encouraging community and grow in relationship with Jesus and others. This year’s theme is ‘Who am I?’ Significant sponsorship is offered to first time campers by the LLL. (Only $20 admin fee.) Due to flooding in the Riverland, SPIN camp will now be held at Glenhaven Park at Stockport (approx 20 minutes from Gawler).

For more information contact Georgie here, then head to SPIN  to register.




We give thanks for all those who have contributed to our online devotions this year. Now we are looking for more! If you have one or more of your own that you would like to share, please send them through to the church office via churchenquiries@paravista.org.au

Office News

Office Closure over Christmas

The office will be closed over the following periods:

23 December 2022 9.00am to 3.00pm                OPEN

24 December 2022 to 9th January 2023             CLOSED

10th January 2023 onwards (Tuesday- Friday)  OPEN as normal

26 January 2023                                                   CLOSED

For urgent contact please call 8263 5087 and leave a message. Messages will be retrieved by staff as available while the office is shut.

Weekly News

The last Weekly News for 2022 will be published on Friday 23 December and the first edition for 2023 will be published on 13 January.

IT’s On Again!!!

What you ask?  The Christmas Whirlwind Competition will be happening on Saturday 24th December from 8.00am to blow the cobwebs out of the old dust blowers. Some will get a chance to see if they can master the borrowed backpack to assist in giving the church grounds a bit of a dust off and the facility a bit of a spruce up.

For free entry, please bring along your personal safety equipment (earmuffs and dust mask), best leaf blower and join the group to create an inviting appearance to our church facility for Christmas. Don’t have a blower? I have a few spares you can test with free training. Will the electric machines get a look in this year?

So! if you don’t have a competitive machine?  Compete for the biggest spiderweb ball as cobwebbing will also be completed and you can create a web ball worthy of a Guinness record.

Request children are supervised by an adult.

A Parking Blessing for Christmas

Parking will only be available for members will be in the Good Shepherd early learning centre car park.  This can be accessed via Hillary Cres without having to enter the church grounds. Please consider leaving the parks close to the entrance of the church as a blessing for our visitors.  These arrangements will be in place for all Christmas services.  Parking signs will be in place and your assistance in following directions of the car parking attendants is appreciated.

Car parking attendants are required to assist with traffic and parking on Christmas Eve from:

  • 4.30pm till 6.30pm.

Please, contact Stephen on 0403 180 814 or email churchenquires@paravista.org.au to assist.

AED Device

A Defibrillator (AED) is located rear school alcove next to the Café playground. A key is on an orange tag next to security keypad in the café (small entry exit door). All members holding keys to the complex are to add to their security procedure the visibility of this key and if it not hanging on the hook to advise either the church or school office as soon as possible of its absence. First Aiders, please note where the unit and key are located, in case of emergency.

Replacement Of Main Auditorium Carpet

When? 16 to 28 January 2023

How?   This is your opportunity to move chairs, remove old carpet squares and replace chairs.

We are seeking a team to be available throughout this time to assist in saving the church up to $5,000.00. Please advise Stephen Zanker, Ross Pukallus, or the front office of your availability so this can happen in a smooth and organized manner without too much disruption of our activities.

Part of History Available for Sale!

For a donation you can purchase surplus carpet tiles.  Let the history life on by lining your garage floor, man cave or other area for a small cost to assist in funding the full replacement of carpeting our facility. Be quick as they won’t last long. Contact Stephen or the front office for further information.

Name Badge Request

The cost for a Name Badge is $12. If you would like to order one then, contact the church office on 0882635087 or send an email to: churchenquiries@paravista.org.au

Weekly News Items

Weekly news items are to be sent to churchenquiries@paravista.org.au or krishna.vasani@paravista.org.au by Wednesday Evening.  Out of hours please leave a message on the answering system 08 8263 5087 or email the office and staff will respond as soon as they are able.



“…You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”

Psalm 16:11


Safe Church

Please consider the health and safety of others and do not attend the church if you are feeling unwell. 

In observing Christ’s command to love one another, we are to treat each other with respect and dignity. In honoring people, we are also fulfilling our responsibility under the law of the land. The LCA and Good Shepherd Para Vista is committed to implementing processes to ensure the church is a safe place. If anyone feels they have been subjected to sexual abuse or harassment in any form by anyone who holds a position of trust in the church, please contact:

P: 1800 644 628 E: report.abuse@safeplace.lca.org.au

Weekly News Submissions should be made by the Wednesday prior to Friday publication.

Church Giving via Electronic Funds Transfer:
Regular Electronic Giving (REG): BSB 704 942; Acc 100 354 939
Church Office Hours: Tuesday-Friday 9am-3pm (closed 12:30pm-1:30pm for lunch)
Church Website: www.paravista.org.au Email: churchenquiries@paravista.org.au

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388 Montague Road Para Vista SA 5093 |   Phone: 8263 5087 | PO Box 306 Modbury North SA 5092