March 19, 2020, 1:30 pm
Dear Church Family,
After closely and prayerfully monitoring this health crisis, the elders have decided to cancel all on-campus worship services for the foreseeable future. So please remain at home this Sunday and participate in worship through the video of the worship service we will provide as we did for March 15th. Again, a link to this video will be e-mailed to everyone on our mailing list. We will also post the link on the FBC webpage and our social media accounts. If you know someone who has a connection to FBC but whom you suspect is not on our e-mail list, please help us by forwarding this message to him or her.
We long to be reunited, but we will do it only as soon as is advised. We too feel what Paul often felt in his separation from the churches he started. "But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face…" (1 Thessalonians 2:17)
We long to be together, but while we can't be – we're making every effort. Our online service last Sunday had over 750 views! We heard from people at FBC, from Yolo county believers whose churches don't have an online option and who worshiped with us, and from as far away as the East Coast and Brazil!
"For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia (AND Davis!), but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything." (1 Thessalonians 1:8)
It is so hard to be separated, but there are some real opportunities for us in this. Our mission to help people discover (and deepen) their faith, grow in love for God and others, and live as ambassadors of hope is as possible and as crucial as it ever was. We may be constrained in where we can move, but “God's word is not chained” (2 Timothy 2:9).
So here are three great invitations for us:
Connecting with God: Let's read together daily from the Moravian Daily Text. We're doing a reading of it on Instagram stories every morning this week, or you can follow along in the app.
Connecting with our church family: Here's a challenge for the week: go old school and call 3 other FBC people before Sunday. Don't text or email – let them hear your voice or see your face via facetime, skype, or zoom. If you're in a home group and can't meet in person, discuss what would work best for your group to stay connected this week. We highly recommend trying out Zoom for an online ‘hello'. It's easy to use and free for up to a 40 minute call: why not try checking in to say hello during your regular small group time this week? (If you need help with this or want to host a longer call or a bigger group, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can help!) We're also working on ways we can care for each other in prayer, practical help running errands, and meals – so watch this space for ways to offer or ask for help. We are here for each other. Our doors may be closed but ministry continues!
(And in that vein, just a gentle reminder not to forget your tithes and offerings. Even with the cancellations, ministry continues and will ramp up once this season ends. That means the financial needs of the church continue, so we all need to be faithful in our giving. Now is a great time to figure out online giving, if you haven't done so yet: you can set tithing up safely and easily here. We know you will respond as you are able and the Lord leads.)
Reaching out to others: How can our church be ambassadors of hope for our community in this season? One of our members decided to deliver a handwritten note to everyone on their street, suggesting a daily 10am “check-in wave”. Every morning at 10am, they're planning to walk down the street and let their neighbors wave to say they're okay. If anybody needs anything (or doesn't turn up to wave), they'll know to follow up. This is such a beautiful example of using our creativity and time to love our neighbors. Let's be sharing ideas and encouraging one another in this!
Let's stay in touch! FBC is on Facebook, Instagram, our services are on YouTube, and we'll be sending out a weekly enews. Let's use group texts, video chats, and good old fashioned phone calls to stay connected.
We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 1:2)
Hope to worship online with you all this weekend,
The Board of Elders
(Moises de la Torre, Brian Ganyo, Chris Krage, Joe Biggs, Ray Rodriguez, Keith Redenbaugh, Chris Dietrich, Steve Luxa, and Scott Wieking)