We are reopening the sanctuary this Sunday! I for one am excited about that! Last Sunday was the remembrance of Pentecost 1,990 years ago. The church was born that day. The Church Jesus said the gates of hell would not prevail against. The Church when gathered, Jesus promised to be in their midst. The Church in which we are the body and Christ is the head. That’s us! So, I’m excited we are reopening the sanctuary for worship. The Church is essential.
Even though we closed the sanctuary for three months we didn’t stop being the church. Commissions still met. After three weeks we met outside in our cars for worship. Food Ministry continued and became a drive-in food ministry. We stayed the church through Zoom prayer meetings and Zoom Life Group meetings, and Facebook Live services and YouTube virtual chats. Those means of connecting weren’t the best, but were the best we had.
Our new, temporary schedule for Sunday morning is 9 am Drive-in Service, 10 am Adult Sunday School, and 11 am Worship Service in the sanctuary.
Even through we closed the sanctuary temporarily, we were never governed by fear of the danger but faith in God. We submitted to governing authorities (Romans 13), but were obedient to God. We were humble recognizing we don’t know everything about this coronavirus. And we were motivated by love for our neighbor.
But now we plan to regather, knowing some of our church family are not quite ready yet to come back to the church building. That’s why we are still offering our service on Facebook Live and our webpage and doing the Drive-in service at 9 am where someone can feel more comfortable in their car. But for those planning to attend Sunday School and the 11 am worship service, here is what you can expect.
- We will sanitize all main surfaces before you arrive.
- We will leave the two main entrance doors open so you won’t have to handle the door knobs. The doors will be closed and locked once everyone is inside. The sanctuary doors will also be open.
- You will be able to pick up a bulletin on a table and the prepackaged communion elements when we serve communion on Father’s Day.
- We will tape off sections of the sanctuary which encourages spacing between you and others.
- We will have hand sanitizer around.
- You’re welcome to wear a mask into the building when around others. I will say more on that later in this email.
- If you bring your children, we are offering a children’s program on the patio by the youth room and on the playground. Jeff Reynolds and Casey Rot are leading this! They will escort your children at 11 am.
In order to minimize close contact (☹) we have made some changes in our worship service in addition to seating.
- Bibles, hymnals, papers and pencils have been removed.
- We won’t pass the plate, but will provide baskets for you to place your tithes and offerings in on your way out or into the sanctuary.
- Seating is limited and you may not be able to sit in your favorite pew. Try a new place. Live a little!
- There won’t be a meet and greet time. Please visit with each other outside after the service.
- We’ll dismiss by sections at the end of the service. That will keep our narrow foyer from getting too congested.
Some may find these changes unnecessary and frustrating. I do, too. For the short term, we feel it is best practices.
We are asking if you come inside for Sunday School or church you take the following precautions out of love and respect for others.
- Please stay home if you have a temperature of 100.4 or higher, have a cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, loss of taste or smell or unexplained muscle soreness.
- Please stay home if you have been in contact with someone who has recently been sick.
- Please wash your hands well before coming.
- Please try and maintain 6 feet of distance between you and others. I know many are comfortable with much less, while others aren’t.
- If you are diagnosed with COVID-19 within 10 days of attending a service, please let me know.
- Feel free to wear a mask and gloves in the service if you wish to.
- Please do not remain in the aisles or stand in the foyer. If you wish to talk, do so outside in the fresh air.
It’s hard to write these words. Let us be humble, putting the needs and feelings of others before our own. This is a chance to show love to another even if we do not feel the need to protect ourselves to this extent.
While we will be having a drive-in service and sanctuary service, that doesn’t mean that everyone will be there. Each of us will need to make the decision of when to return on their own. We’re not all in the same situation or have the same needs. Some have health concerns that make them far more vulnerable or have family members who are which impacts their decision. Let us lovingly respect their decision not to return yet and continue to reach out to them. Let’s be the Church!
I hope we stay open and all returns to normal. We don’t know the future. It may not. We’ll keep seeking the Lord and praying. Please pray! Pray for the sick, the lonely, the discouraged, those financially impacted and pray for our nation to heal.
Let me say something more about wearing a mask. I do not like them. I’ve never met anyone who likes them. The CDC has contradicted themselves on if they are really necessary. I’ve read compelling reasons for them and against them. Let me say, I don’t know their effectiveness in preventing someone from getting COVID-19.
With the Governor’s mandate last Friday that you must wear a mask if inside public places and I am being honest here, I’m torn. Romans 13 speaks of obeying governmental authorities for they have been placed there by God. I also believe that we Americans have been blessed to live in a country with a Constitution that recognizes our liberties come from God, not government. When governments exceed their authority and order your business to close and you go out of business that, to me, violates my right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The same is true with masks.
So, I asked the Lord to give me a word on masks. Two passages came to mind. Romans 14 about eating meat sacrificed to idols. Paul’s conscience allowed him to but he realized other Christians were offended by that. So, he gave up his right for the sake of others.
The other passage was Exodus 34:33-36 which spoke of Moses wearing a veil when he spoke with the people, but not wearing one when he was in the tabernacle speaking with God.
So, this is what I plan on doing Sunday for the 11 am service. I will be wearing a mask to greet you as you enter. Once at my seat I plan to remove it. I will not be preaching in one. If I move around in common areas, I will wear one. Of course, if you have trouble breathing remove it. That’s my game plan and you will have yours. I trust this will not be a divisive issue for any church, especially ours because we are offering a drive-in service and online options.
I also want to let you know, Yearly Meeting in Canton has been cancelled. They are offering a one-day virtual meeting with voting, so we still need delegates. If you are interested, please contact me or Ted Blanco, our Presiding Elder.
Also, Carolyn Zinzner is having a second cataract procedure Wednesday. Please pray that it goes well.
The “Tasty” teaching this week is on goodness and it’s excellent. Check it out on RightNow Media. Goodness isn’t looking good, feeling good, or even doing good. It is being good. Only God is good. Micah 6:8 describes being good: goodness is loving the right ways and living the right way.
- Goodness is an action that helps others.
- Goodness is an affection that cares for others.
- Goodness is an attitude that inspires others.
Sharing Life will be held at the Vinson’s Sunday at 6:30. We will meet outside on our patio and talk about what God has been teaching us.
I want to talk a little more about our temporary schedule change for Sunday mornings. I say temporary because I don’t know how long it will be in effect.
Beginning June 7th, the drive-in service will start at 9 am. I wanted to keep this service in case any aren’t quite ready to meet inside the building yet. If you aren’t, it’s ok.
We will offer the adult Sunday School classes at 10 am. We are not offering teen and children’s classes yet. Talk with your SS teacher to make sure your class is meeting.
I’m excited to meet again inside the building in our sanctuary at 11 am! Next week, in my pastor’s email, I will spell out the details of what you can expect. There will be staggered seating as we try to maintain social distancing. Things will be different, but it will be good to see each other!
We are discussing offering something for children, though we won’t have a nursery yet. Our Education Commission desires to have volunteers supervise children playing on the playground or gym if it rains. Again, I’ll provide more details in next week’s pastor’s email.
Our worship service will continue to be online on Facebook Live, our webpage, and our YouTube channel. You can stay connected there. We’re definitely missing each other, but stay safe, stay strong, stay in the Word and prayer!
We had another wonderful Drive-in service Sunday. I loved the first song we sang called “Build My Life.” Here is a line from the song: “Holy. There is no on like You. There is none beside You. Open up my eyes in wonder and show me who You are and fill me with Your heart and lead me in Your love to those around me.” I encourage you to meditate on that and pray God accomplishes that in you.
I also mentioned Sunday our temporary summer schedule. Beginning June 7th, we will have the prayer group at 8:30, the drive-in service at 9, adult Sunday School classes will resume at 10, and we will have our first service in the sanctuary at 11:00. Of course, our service will be on Facebook Live and our website for members to access. Like our church Facebook page and subscribe to our YouTube channel. I will write more details about this schedule in another email later this week.
My upcoming sermon is on Kindness. The corresponding teaching on RightNow Media called “Tasty” by James Merritt is a good one. Please listen this week. Here are a couple of highlights. Kindness is treating others the way God treats you. Jesus is the greatest example of kindness. He shared 3 ways to “kill with kindness.”
- Show kindness with your deeds
- Share kindness with your words
- Sow kindness with your heart
Ad Council met Monday and decided our new Sunday morning schedule beginning June 7th. Drive-in service at 9, adult Sunday School classes at 10, and an inside the sanctuary service at 11. We will provide more details in upcoming communications. For the next 3 Sundays our schedule is the same, the Drive-in service at 10:30.
Happy Belated Mother’s Day! I hope you moms had a great day yesterday and didn’t have to cook since all sit down restaurants were closed.
Ad Council is meeting tonight to discuss the details of re-opening. Would you pray that we’d have wisdom? If you have input, email me today, especially parents of children. I would like to know how you feel about your children being in Sunday School or Junior Church. We will keep you informed.
As restrictions are lifting, has the Lord been speaking about giving of yourself with real life situations? Circlesashland.org is an effective ministry to families committed to walking out of the cycle of poverty. Current volunteer needs are tutoring for school age children, allies for families, and to cook a meal once a week. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
I will be preaching on the fruit of the Spirit Sunday, this time on patience, the one we all need! James Merritt’s teaching on Tasty on RightNow Media is excellent. He says every time you get impatient you are really being impatient with God because God caused the problem or allowed it. And, it is great to wait knowing God is never late.
- Problems will try your patience
- People will test your patience
- Persistence will toughen your patience.
I pray you have a blessed week walking closely with your God.
Times like this demand we seek the Lord as for how He’d want us to reach out and seize this moment for the kingdom.
How many of you have friendly relationships with your neighbors? It’s friendly, but doesn’t go deeper. They think you’re nice (and you are), but do they know you’re a Christian?
God has raised up a local ministry tool called “For Richmond.” They are partnering with area churches for anyone to reach out to his or her neighbor with the love of Christ.
There are 3 levels of involvement:
- Bronze. You sign up to pray for your street.
- Silver. You sign up to pray and send an email or postcard. They give you a sample mail and free postcards.
- Gold. You sign up, identifying your church and you will have access to outreach resources.
I encourage you to pray about this idea to reach out. Sign up is easy. Just click on this link. Love Your Neighbor
Let’s not miss out on this ordained time.
I hope you are viewing/listening to my sermon on our website if you are not able to attend the Drive-In service. April 26th Sermon I also hope you are accessing the RightNow Media parallel study called Tasty by James Merritt. This week’s lesson and sermon is on the third Fruit of the Spirit, peace. James Merritt uses Philippians 4:4-7. He mentions several peace robbers: pressures, problems, people. He discusses a peace that’s real, practical and helpful. This line is a take away for me, “When you truly give God your worries, He totally gives you His peace.”
Good morning! I hope you had a wonderful weekend. I enjoyed seeing you all at the Drive-In service. We plan to keep doing them until we are back inside. A hard rain could cause us to have to cancel. We are recording the service and if you weren’t there you can watch it (here).
Cathy and I are doing a Facebook Live Chat on our church’s Facebook page. You don’t have to have a Facebook account to watch. Just search Hanover Evangelical Friends Church Facebook and you’ll find it. It is also on our church’s webpage later. (Last Wednesday’s chat)
Several of us are doing a Zoom prayer time Sunday morning at 8:30. If you would like to be a part of that contact the church office or Cathy directly.
Did you watch the “Tasty” video on RightNow Media on love? Check that out. The one for this week is on Joy. Email me if you’d like to dialogue on that or the sermon. Here are a few points to consider. Once I choose Christ, I can always choose joy.
- Decide to be joyful
- Desire to be joyful
- Determine to be joyful
Thank you for your continuous generous giving to the Lord and His church through these hard times. It is a part of our worship to return our tithes to God.
I loved our drive-In service on Sunday! I’d like you to read what Donn Irvin wrote:
“To Pastor, praise team, ushers, and all those that park the cars and made our awesome open air church service.
Also to all my brothers and sisters who were there today.
It was amazing. Thank you all so very very much for all that you did to make this happen.
Yes, very different but in the beginning it was open air meetings and a good reminder that the building is not where God dwells but God dwells within all believers, so therefore; the Holy Spirit was very present today even though we each sat in our own car. His presence was there because he lives inside of each one of us individually. So wherever you and I are, there the spirit of God is.
So, if we came today and didn’t feel the spirit moving and working then it’s time for us each individually to check our lives because the Holy Spirit was present but it’s up to us with whom he dwells to let him have full reign and move.
Don’t know about the rest of my brothers and sisters, but what I do know for me HE was there and he had full reign and I am forever grateful for everyone that did the hard work to give us this opportunity today to come together corporately and to praise and worship God together, to listen to the word of God be preached, and then the icing on the cake, to take communion together.
Yes He is alive
Yes He has risen
Yes He is seated at the right hand of the father
Yes we are the temple of God and he dwells within us.
Yes this world is not our home
Yes we are seated with Him in the heavenlies
Yes It is finished
Yes He is coming for his bride
Yes He is coming again to save his chosen people and to rule and reign on the throne of David
Yes His bride will come with Him in our glorified bodies.
Amen Amen Amen
Love you all”
Let’s do it again this Sunday at 10:30.
Sunday’s service is on our website (https://www.friendlychurch.org/sermons/resurrecting-broken-worlds/) and Facebook page if you weren’t able to attend Sunday, as well as the Wednesday chats.
This week I am beginning a new sermon series based on the Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. The sermon series will be paired with a RightNow Media teaching called, “Tasty” by Pastor James Merritt. I encourage you to watch that this week and ask yourself:
- Am I motivated by love? (1 Cor. 13:1-3)
- Am I marked by love? (1 Cor. 13:4-6)
- Am I mastered by love? (1 Cor. 13:7-8)
The first sermon is on Love, “Keep Love Alive.”
I asked Jo Twigg and Jim Trusty to provide testimonials as to how they are using RightNow Media to enhance their walks with Christ. Listen to what they say:
Jim Trusty says, “RightNow Media is the ultimate shopping place for personal Bible study because of the amount of resources it has. It totally channels my thinking on a daily basis. I can access it anywhere, anytime and when I’m on-the-go I can even listen through my bluetooth. When something has been heavy on my heart, I go to it and search topically to learn more. Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” and the more you pour the Word into you, the easier it is to be prepared to give an account for the hope that I have as it tells us in 1 Pet 3:15. This has been a great tool to continue pouring the Word in me in between church services. I’m always learning something so I can “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 3:18.”
Jo Twigg says, “Here is the testimony from our Life Group…
When Right Now Media was first introduced to our congregation, I considered it just a source of information should I need it…after scanning through the content, I knew that I had other resources which were more helpful to me as a Children’s Director for a large bible study group. I maybe would scroll through the children’s resources at times and actually was not super impressed. In March of this year before covid-19 restrictions, I again browsed through the children’s resources and this time, discovered so many new options of resources offered. I kept searching and searching and…for such a time as this…discovered a wealth of faith-growing options…not only for children, but for our young millennials and for our Life Group. Our Life Group began a study in Revelation last week (we have Zoom meetings) and we are currently using David Platt’s video and notes as a point of reference for our bible reading which we can project on-screen in our zoom meetings. Carl and I have also downloaded RightNow Media on our Smart TV to view and also search through Right Now Media’s many options of study which is totally awesome when you can view it on big screen. I have also further enhanced my quiet time with Right Now Media’s many options even as I do my exercises. We have encouraged our Life Group members to take advantage of this resource for their whole family and have received very positive comments.”
Jesus is risen from the dead today! And tomorrow! And the next day! We live by His resurrection power (Ephesians 1:19-20). Have a good and safe week. See you Sunday for the Drive-in service!
You are sitting at home, right? Feeling a bit bored? Instead of watching the news on TV or playing another video game, watch a Christian video on RightNow Media and build yourself up in your faith!
You received in an email a “how to” to get connected to RightNow Media. If you have any questions about this, call Lisa in the church office (730-9512) and she will assist you.
I will be asking every church member/attender who is online to join together in doing a RightNow Media study called “Tasty” by James Merritt. I will be doing an online preaching series on the Fruit of the Spirit beginning April 19th, which will pair with the RNM study. We will immerse ourselves in the work of the Holy Spirit through these character traits!
Have you listened/watched the past two sermons on our website? If you haven’t, please do so. There is strong encouragement in God’s Word for how you can deal with what is happening in our world. I will be preaching on the Miracles of Palm Sunday this Sunday. We are planning a Drive-In service for Easter at our church in our cars. Stay tuned for details!
I am chatting on Facebook Live Wednesdays at 7pm. View replaces at our live stream page. You can find that video chat and much more on our website, friendlychurch.org.
I miss seeing and being with you. God will help us get through this as we keep our eyes on Him. Technology exists to help us spiritually, like RightNow Media. Take advantage of these tools so you stay sharp spiritually.Pastor Ed