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2020 Feast of Tabernacles: Rockingham, Australia

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2020 Feast of Tabernacles

Rockingham, Australia

The Church was extremely thankful that the Feast could be kept at the usual venue in Rockingham, a seaside city about 31 miles (50 km) from Perth. Very few restrictions were in place as our state has a closed border, and we were able to have more freedom than many places in the world.

All services were webcast to members in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia as they were unable to attend a Feast site.

On the opening night we were reminded that Ephesians 1 sets the scene for the Feast and we were there to learn respect and awe for God, and to rejoice.

Through the wonders of technology, we received sermons from Victor Kubik, Gary Petty and speakers from Queensland and Victoria as well as our Festival elder Grant Chick and local speakers Jean-Jacques Matter and Peter Crikis. The video on how various members were coping with the impact of the virus was a very moving reminder of what is happening elsewhere.

Some messages focused on the Bride of Christ, the Bible being like a jigsaw puzzle, the economy during the Millennium, being thankful to God, God’s government, the many faceted titles of Christ (introduced by Handel’s Messiah), new beginnings and God’s armor. We were encouraged to support, comfort and exhort one another. The younger members of the congregation also had a youth study and a children’s Bible study.

On days six and seven of the Feast two special ceremonies took place. On the sixth day, the blessing of the children was performed for baby Ashton and 2-year-old Ava.

On day seven, the responsibilities of a deacon were outlined before the ordinations of Jean-Jacques Matter, Hugh Davidson and Rick Grey to the role.

Many messages from around the world were shared during the week, reminding us of our Church family all over the world.

Special music once more reflected the preparation and commitment of singers and instrumentalists playing piano, violin and guitar, and the youth choir which sang on the Eighth Day/Last Great Day.

The Perth tradition of a “meet and greet” after services on the first day became more of a “meet and eat” as there were no visitors to meet, but the enjoyment of being with one another and sharing food together was delightful.

The “fun family bug” night also included a display of teenage photos and what those teenagers’ aspirations were, including members whose ages range into the 80s. The younger ones also enjoyed go-karting. Some traveled out to Penguin Island, just off the coast, to see the largest colony of “little penguins” on the coast of Western Australia.

After having a great deal of cloud cover over previous weeks, we were blessed to have a clear night available, which allowed Matt Woods from the Perth Observatory and four members of his volunteer group to bring two large telescopes down for a star gazing. Coincidentally, this occurred during Space Week in Australia.

“Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing” (Isaiah 40:26 Isaiah 40:26Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who has created these things, that brings out their host by number: he calls them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one fails.
American King James Version×
, New International Version).

The telescopes were set up on a high viewing platform at Point Peron just outside Rockingham, overlooking the Indian Ocean. Although the night was cold and windy, 47 adults and children spent several hours looking at a very tiny part of God’s wonderful universe.

Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, Albireo (a yellow/blue double star), Butterfly cluster, 47 Tucanae globular cluster and Tarantula Nebula were seen.

Matt shared commentary and fascinating facts during the evening, as well as bringing other objects to our attention with a laser pointer. It was a much enjoyed and unique Feast experience.

The Eighth Day/Last Great Day message encouraged us to run the race “better, stronger, faster, higher” and to be lights. Our usual final hymn was “God Be With You.”

A catered lunch was later served in the main hall before we began to depart back home.

Leone Schreuders