April 4, 2020
Hello Church Family:
While the continued need for social distancing means we cannot be together in space right now, we can join together in time, and thanks to technology, we are able to reengage in some of our normal community activities in new ways. Here are a few updates on our church programming:
- Live Sunday Service: Beginning this Sunday morning at 10:30 (4/5), we will begin a Sunday morning virtual-service, live from our living rooms. Using a Zoom Webinar, we will have a short service with scripture readings, songs (from Michal’s living room piano), and a sermon. The webinar format means you can watch and listen, but only the presenters will be heard and seen. The link to the Sunday service webinar will be on our website under the “Live From our Living Rooms” link that will replace the "Sunday Prayer and Message" link on our main page.
- Women’s and Men’s Bible Study: Thursday evening at 7:30 (4/9), we are resuming our studies through the book of Exodus, in a Zoom meeting format (like we have used for our virtual home group meetings the last two weeks). The ladies will meet this Thursday, and the men will meet the following week.
- Good Friday and Easter Sunday Service: While it is uniquely difficult to be apart from one another during the week leading up to Easter Sunday, we can, again, be very thankful for the technology that allows us to remain connected. We will plan on a live Good Friday Service Webinar at 7PM and then continue with our live Sunday morning service, on Easter Sunday.
With elements of the COVID-19 challenge ever changing, we are glad for the opportunity to continue to engage, and we certainly look forward to being back together in person soon! While all around us things may seem unstable, we can be so thankful that we serve the Lord who does not change. His steadfast love endures forever.
Grace and peace.
Jared, on behalf of the Elders of Christ Church
March 18, 2020
Dear Church Family:
We are certainly living in the midst of an unprecedented and difficult situation. We are continually thankful to God and reliant upon God for his provision and sustaining hand in our lives, and situations as this virus outbreak remind us of that truth in an acute way. In addition, in the midst of this, we understand the responsibility we have to follow the guidelines outlined by our civil authorities and the prudence those guidelines represent.
Given those guidelines, this does mean that our corporate gatherings need to be suspended for the time being. That said, our task as a local church in the midst of troubled times, is that of faithfully upholding one another (we exist for the good of God’s people) and interacting with the world in a way that witnesses to Jesus and brings honor to him (we exist for Christ in the world). In light of our purpose as God’s people, I wanted to share these adjustments with you in terms of our life together:
- Sunday Mornings: I will be recording a prayer and devotional/sermonette with a link to that video available on our website Sunday morning. As time goes on, we may modify how we engage in a “virtual” Sunday morning service, but we can begin here, corporately being encouraged by the word of God. This Sunday, we will continue our break from Hebrews and look at Psalm 11.
- Mid-Week Devotional: Along with the Sunday morning teaching, I will email a devotional outline for the week, that includes reflection questions connected to the Sunday morning scripture passage and a confession and pardon to use during your own private worship during the week. In addition, Michal is going to prepare a Spotify playlist with a few songs that go along with the theme of the weekly study, in order to provide some musical edification for your week.
- Bible Study: Because of limitations on group meetings, we are not going to be meeting in person for our men’s and women’s Bible study. Instead, next Thursday, 3/25 and the following Thursday, 4/1, we are going to gather via Zoom (an online meting forum) for a virtual small group. All are welcome to join, and we’re going to use this as an opportunity to talk about our experiences during this time, as well as pray for each other and the world around us. I will send a Zoom link each week, and the planned time for these meetings will continue to be 7:30pm. For the purpose of clarity, this means there is no women’s Bible study at our house this week.
- Youth Group: Normally, the last Friday of the month is our youth group gathering. Because we are not able to gather, we’re going to set up a Zoom meeting for the youth to join. There will not be an agenda, but instead this will give the youth a chance to chat together and engage. That meeting will take place on Friday, 3/27, at 7pm. I will send out a Zoom link as the date approaches.
- Practical Needs: During this time, we can find ourselves facing unexpected pressure. If you find yourself in material need—whether it is a matter of household supplies or errands that you are unable to run—you can contact Julie Skarphol, who has volunteered to help coordinate options for help. Along these same lines, we understand that this can bring unexpected financial burdens as well; if you find yourself facing a particular financial burden please contact me, and we can look at ways to provide some relief.
- Pastoral Care: While we are limited from gathering corporately, if you need to meet with me or one of the other pastors, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We can be available either by phone, Zoom, or in person. We are prepared to be a help and are ready to encourage you in any way we can. Please! Don’t hesitate to reach out—even if you just need a listening ear to talk through all that is going on.
- Loving Our World: During times of crisis, the church has always engaged with the world in meaningful and relieving ways. To that end, the Red Cross is experiencing serious shortages in blood donations, due to a less-than-normal number of donors as people are concerned and staying away from medical sites. As the church, this presents a tangible opportunity for us to engage in our community and demonstrate the love of Christ, by donating blood. The ramifications of shortages such as this are significant, and this is a very useful way we can be helpful. Included here is a link to the Red Cross donations sites and times that are local, and I would encourage you to consider donating blood. (https://www.redcrossblood.org/give.html/drive-results?zipSponsor=97202)
Our goal with the outline above, is that this basic program would help to take us through the next couple weeks together. Certainly, one of the most difficult things for us in all of this is that we are not able to meet together for corporate and mid-week gatherings. As a church, we realize the priority of these times and their necessity for our own personal growth and ministry to others. At the same time, we also trust most of all that the Lord Jesus is the one who maintains, protects, and provides for his people. So while things seem to be rapidly changing and while these circumstances are far from ideal, we want to remain flexible as necessary and prayerfully trust in the One who is full of steadfast love. The poet in Psalm 46 can be a help to us, as we reflect on the fact that: “God is our refuge and strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble. Therefore we will not be afraid, though the earth trembles…”
I am very thankful for you all. I am praying for you all. And most of all, I am looking forward to being together again soon!
Grace and peace!
Jared, on behalf of the Elders of Christ Church