Thursday, May 21, 2020

Redwood Chapel Family,

Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

 

It has been over two months since we started sheltering in place. While some have found new patterns of healthy living, others are battling anxiety and frustration each day. All of us are challenged to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus instead of our circumstances. Remember our HOPE is not just in a future change of circumstances, but our HOPE is in a person: the Living God, who loves us, cares for us, knows our needs and promises to meet them. (Phil. 4:19) 

 

Yet some may wonder, “When can we return to church?” and “What can we be doing as the church until we are able to meet again?” I hope to answer these questions below and give you an update on ministries taking place through Redwood Chapel during this unique season of life.

 

UPDATE ON MINISTRIES
On May 18, 2020, Alameda County’s Interim Health Officer directed all residents to continue “sheltering in place.” There remains a concurrent California Stay at Home Order.  Neither of these Orders currently have an end date. As a result, our church office and related on-campus church ministries remain closed until these directives change. However, we hope that all of you these past two months have remained connected to the church through our ongoing ministries.

 

  1. We shifted livestream worship services at 11:00am each Sunday morning to our YouTube channel. Having a live service with the YouTube chat feature helps increase our connection with you and provides opportunity for you to engage with others. Our tech team continues to make improvements each week to our online capabilities and set design.

  2. Lifestage Community groups continue to meet each Sunday morning prior to the 11am service. Check our webpage for contact information and times each group is meeting. If you are not yet connected to a smaller community at Redwood, let us know and we will get you connected!

  3. RC Kids is meeting each Sunday at 10am, and have new mid-week meetings. Check out RC Kids page for more information.  

  4. Many of Redwood Chapel’s other ministries have shifted to online meetings, including Student Ministries, Young Adults, Women’s Ministry, Celebrate Recovery. Please email info@redwoodchapel.org for information about specific ministries where you have interest.

  5. We will be featuring the work of our missionaries on May 31st and June 7th for our annual Missions Conference. Please refer to the weekly enewsletter for related details. 

  6. Our Food Pantry continues to distribute groceries to those in need on the third Saturday of each month at 9am utilizing a drive-in / pick-up process in the Main Parking lot. The number of people served through this ministry increases each month.  

  7. We continue to periodically post new recorded content to our Livestream page, so check it out each week for updated information from our pastors.

  8. Our Benevolence Team continues to address economic needs as they arise in our congregation and community.

  9. We routinely check the Redwood Chapel voicemail box [510-886-6300], mail, and our main email inbox [info@redwoodchapel.org] so that our pastoral staff can be available to our church family to answer questions, pray, encourage, and respond to your needs. Please also use your ChurchCenter app Virtual Connect Card to keep us up to date on how you’re doing and how we can be praying for you. Many of you have been faithfully using these tools which has helped us stay in closer connection with you.

 

RE-ENGAGING AS A CHURCH BODY

Our deep desire is to resume some form of in-person gathering as soon as possible, whether in small groups or as a large congregation. We are keeping abreast of all the CDC guidelines, local and state regulations, insurance positions, legal arguments and court decisions surrounding re-engagement as an entire church. We are in regular communication and/or attend virtual meetings with other state and local community leaders and pastors to ensure that when we do re-gather we are able to do so in as safe a manner as possible. To that end, we have pro-actively purchased materials and equipment that may be required when we meet again. We also understand that each church has different views on this topic of re-engaging depending on their unique local situation within the state of California. Thus, while we do not have a date certain to re-gather currently, we have discussed a variety of options for how we can meet as a congregation if certain restrictions remain in place. 

 

As a reminder, our means of communicating with you will be through emails (sent to all of our church attenders at one time), updates on our website and ChurchCenter app, or through our social media pages. If you receive requests or information about Redwood Chapel from sources other than these, please contact us for clarification. 

 

WHAT YOU CAN DO DURING THIS TIME

Because of the various opinions and changing information we encounter on a weekly basis, please continue to be in prayer for our Pastors and Elders as we seek to lead our church community in this season. While the Pastors and Elders have discussed the topic above, we continually seek the Lord’s guidance and wisdom as to how we can continue to advance the Kingdom of God, whether in person or at home. While you are at home, I encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and reach out to neighbors and acquaintances to share God’s love in tangible ways. If you know of a need, ask what you can do to meet it. If you can’t meet it, share the need with us so we can join you in praying and helping to meet others’ needs.

 

I love you all and hope to see you soon!

 

Psalm 136:26 Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.

 

In His Grip,

Jeff Miller
Lead Pastor

Serving the Hayward, San Leandro, San Lorenzo, Oakland and the East Bay California Communities food bank