I hope everyone is well and continues to sense God's presence during this time. It has now been six months since we first shut down our church campus, can you believe it? And we, as a church, are continuing to re-imagine. It has been a wild ride, but a good one, and I am really excited about many of the ways we are able to do ministry together!
Although, in the past couple weeks, you may have heard the news that we are permitted to reopen worship indoors, the Session is still determining whether that is the direction we want to go right now. In order to get a pulse on our church family, similar to what we did in the Spring, it would be helpful if you could fill out this brief survey as part of our discernment:
Take the Survey
In the meantime, I would love to share with you some of many ways God is moving at our church:
1. Although the preschool was opened in the Spring for essential workers and in the Summer for camps, on September 8, we have reopened for a new school year! Although CDC and licensing regulations have required us to cut our capacity by 20% while maintaining the same size staff, we have been able to welcome back more than 100 little ones to our campus. Their laughter is a joy to be heard! If anyone is looking for something for their 2-5 year old (full or part time), we do still have a few spots open. This is a rare chance to get into our preschool!
2. In order to accommodate many of our staff whose jobs were to be affected by the closing down of schools, we are also hosting two pandemic elementary age learning pods in our upstairs children's area. This allows 14 kids (K-6th grade) to be in a safe learning environment with a tutor while their parents work. It almost feels like we have our own school here!
3. Children and Youth ministries have been invited back to campus! As a result, we have after-school programs beginning this week for kids in grades 2-12 happening most afternoons in our outdoor spaces--from drumming, to movement, to fitness, to faith! We even have a youth orchestra playing on Saturdays all day!
4. Our prayer quilt and bell ministries have also been invited to resume again--social distancing, of course. These two ministries have brought so much joy and hope to so many people so it is wonderful to know they will have the opportunity to continue in fellowship with one another.
5. The Cafe Service began in-person in our new outdoor worship space on September 13 at 9:45 am. About 50 people gathered this first week, many with children, who have, in particular, had a more difficult time engaging online. It feels good to be able to offer them this opportunity and to see so many familiar faces.
6. The art exhibit featuring some of our senior adults was featured in the Beacon! It will be displayed through September on the back side of the Family Life Center. Read The Beacon article here.
7. We also thought we would need to cancel our Family Camp this year, but it turns out Thousand Pines Camp near Lake Arrowhead has been able to re-imagine (just like us) and has set up their camp for families to socially distance together! So from October 16-18, we now have the opportunity to "gather" for a new kind of family camp. There won't be the usual group activities, but it is still a chance to get away. Details are on our website.
8. All of this is happening ON the campus or in-person, but equally as important, is the way our church has continued and will continue to gather online for adults of all ages and stages. Our men's ministry is booming! We still have a couple hundred women gathering every week between bible studies, small groups, and MOPS. We have a number of mixed gender groups debriefing the sermon, discussing racial justice, engaging in centering prayer and even unpacking the Universe! Not to mention, we continue to gather in our online worship services, including kids, each Sunday.
It is my hope that if you aren't plugged into a group here, that you would find your place this fall. What are you waiting for? Getting involved has never been easier. Learning through being in community is one of the ways that God grows us closer to Himself. With our vision of Loving Everyone to LIFE with Everything we Have may God continue to guide us in this new season.