It is out of an abundance of love and care for our church family and partners in ministry that we have come to the conclusion that it is indeed necessary for our church to suspend all worship services and close down the church facilities effective immediately. We will review this decision at the beginning of April to determine a further course of action. Thank you to our Church Council members who have helped Mike Bishop (church moderator) and me, to make this decision.
We now share this letter with you to give you more information as to why we needed to make this decision. Also, it contains important information as to how we will be moving forward, in light of these unusual times.
Firstly, it was in response to the official advice from the CDC, and our own denomination that we took this step. Our denominational leadership has sent out “strong suggestions” to all church clergy that worship not be conducted beginning this Sunday. Our national gatherings and meetings have all been cancelled.
Personally, my first concern is your well-being: spiritually, physically and mentally. I took my ordination vows very seriously, 22 years ago, which is when I agreed to indeed care for the well-being of those to whom God has entrusted me. Please know that I will remain available to you and our church family for pastoral care concerns.
I realize that it feels very counter-intuitive for us not to be in community and in worship, together, because as Christians we love to pray for and just be with each other. This is very hard. However, the decisions that our government has taken in order to protect us, dictates at this time, that we must be wise and take every precaution necessary with wisdom and calm.
I have just now been in communication with church staff. Amber will be coming in as needed in order to continue the administrative duties of the church and Pelito will also come in so that our office area and bathrooms remain disinfected as best as possible. I have asked that Pastors Victoria and Jamall be in touch with their groups on a regular basis in order to minister to them as best as they can using phones.
Moving forward, on Sundays and on Wednesdays I will be sharing a short reflection, prayer, and scripture via facebook live. People do not need to have a facebook account in order to watch. They simply need to go to our church’s face book page and click on “watch.” I will be doing this at 9:30 a.m. on Sundays (starting Sunday, March 22) and at 7 p.m. on Wednesdays (starting THIS Wednesday.) The web address to our facebook page is m.facebook.com/chulavistaucc or simply type in community congregational church of Chula Vista facebook in your browser and you will be directed to our facebook page.
This unusual situation will be pushing us to do ministry in very creative and effective ways. I ask that all of you remain in touch with one another and always with the goal to edify and encourage one another.
Additionally, I will be sending out reflections and short prayers on a weekly basis via email. I know however, that not all members have email capability. So we will need to send some devotional materials weekly, by regular mail.
I will also be asking members of our visitation ministry along with Victoria, Jamall and myself to call all members as needed, to be in contact with them, for spiritual support. We do not want anyone to feel isolated during this unprecedented time.
For now, I share with you this verse from Paul’s letter to the Philippians 4:4-6. “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God. And the peace of Christ which surpasses your all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Amen.