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Dear COA Family,

“Three times a year you are to celebrate a festival to me.” (Exodus 23:14)

This was what the Lord commanded the Israelites to do when they first came out of Egypt.

What are these three festivals?

1. The Festival of Unleavened Bread. Also known as the Passover, this festival takes place at the beginning of the barley harvest in Spring, usually in March and April. It commemorates God’s deliverance of his people from slavery in Egypt.

2. The Festival of Harvest, also known as Weeks or Pentecost. This takes place at the end of the grain harvest, usually end of May to June. It commemorates the giving of God’s Law for the people to live by.

3. The Festival of Ingathering, also known as Tabernacles. The summer crops of olives and grapes are gathered at this time in early autumn, usually in late September to October. It commemorates the wanderings of the Israelites in the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land.

These celebrations were mandatory for all the Israelites because they were God’s chosen people who belonged to him. This was why they were to express their identity in such a special way!

The same is true for us today.

As God’s chosen people in Christ (1 Peter 2:9), we too are called to remember and express who we are by what we do continually. This includes coming together for prayer and worship of God each week, as well as devotions and prayers in our daily lives.

In particular, for us in COA, there are also three major celebratory occasions for 2022:

1. Vicar’s Induction Service (13 Feb). We not only give thanks for the institution of a new Vicar but also receive the Holy Spirit’s commissioning of us as a church for God’s purposes in the seasons ahead.

2. COA Anniversary Service (29 May). We remember and give thanks for God’s gracious establishment of our church. We also renew our commitment to serve God and the community He has placed us in. This is all the more significant as this year marks the 70th anniversary of our founding!

3. Confirmation Service (30 Oct). We rejoice with the newcomers who are joining our church fully and celebrate the filling of the Holy Spirit in both their lives and ours.

These are special events that God has ordained for us to remember who we truly are and to receive His grace for our lives. Our lives do not belong to ourselves but to God. So let us come together joyfully in worship of our Lord for all that He has called us to!

God bless,
Rev Ian