Thursday, April 2, 2020
Redwood Chapel Family,
Psalm 136:1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!
Our world is engaged in fighting a pandemic that is unlike anything I have ever seen in my lifetime. The relative safety and security that we have grown accustomed to is now frequently upended by negative news reports, protective masks, unsettling projections, and required social distancing. All of this can feel overwhelming and invoke a sense of anxiety, yet we serve a God who is GOOD, POWERFUL, FAITHFUL and TRUE! This reality provides a reason to give thanks – even in the pandemic, and I invite you to do that today!
On March 31, 2020, Alameda County’s Interim Health Officer directed all residents to continue “sheltering in place” through May 3. There is also a concurrent California Stay at Home Order that does not have an end date. As a result, our church office and related on-campus church ministries will be closed until these directives have changed.
However, to ensure that our church remains connected with each other and our community during this time, the following Redwood Chapel ministries will continue to function online unless otherwise noted below:
We will continue to livestream worship services at 11:00am each Sunday morning. Click on this site to access either our Facebook or You Tube livestreams. If you are a Facebook user, we encourage you to interact directly with other attenders during the service.
We will have the following Easter-related celebrations: Palm Sunday at 11am; Good Friday (pre-recorded service available starting at 12pm); Easter sunrise service (pre-recorded with downloadable instructions that can be used for meditation and reflection); Easter livestream Celebration at 11am.
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, now is a good time to join - let us know and we will get you connected!
RC Kids is meeting each Sunday at 10am. Check out RC Kids page for more information.
Many of Redwood Chapel’s other ministries have shifted to online meetings, including Student Ministries, Young Adults, Women’s Ministry, Celebrate Recovery. Please email email@example.com for information about specific ministries you are interested in.
Our Food Pantry’s next distribution will be Saturday, April 18 by the entrance on Redwood Road to members of our community who are in need.
We routinely check the Redwood Chapel voicemail box [510-886-6300], mail, and our main email inbox [firstname.lastname@example.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 to keep us up to date on how you’re doing and how we can be praying for you.
We periodically post new recorded content to our Livestream page, so check it out each week for updated information from our pastors.
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.
Today I met (virtually, I promise) with about 12 other pastors in the Castro Valley area for a time of prayer and encouragement. Each pastor reported that they are using this time to lean into God’s Word, build community in new ways, and shepherd the people that God has given them to lead. My encouragement to you is to do the same – lean into God’s Word and pursue Him like never before, reach out to those in your community groups and Lifestage classes and be a blessing to each other, finally ask the Lord who He may be bringing to you so that you may speak a word of life to them.
Psalm 136:26 Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.
In His Grip,
Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Redwood Chapel Family,
“The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
The verse above is as true today as it has ever been so before I get into the details of this update, pause and give thanks for the presence, joy, and love of our great God!
I am sure that by now you have heard the directive from Alameda County’s Interim Health Officer that all residents are being directed to “shelter in place” beginning this morning through April 7. As a result, until the directive is lifted, our church office and related on-campus church ministries will be closed. One of the exceptions is our Food Pantry which will be distributing food this Saturday, March 21 to members of our community who are in need.
My greatest concern at this time is for the most vulnerable and at-risk persons in our church and community. Would you begin praying with me today about how we can most effectively minister during this difficult time? As we said on Sunday, though we are not here at church it does not mean we will cease to be the church. Our pastoral staff will be working from home and will be available to our church family to answer questions, pray, encourage, and respond to your needs. The best way to reach our staff if you do not have their personal contact information is by emailing email@example.com.
I have been so grateful for the many who have contacted me with offers to help reach these members of our community with grocery runs, car rides, pharmacy pickups, and the like. Your kindness and generosity as a church continues to be a blessing. As opportunities and needs arise we will be mobilizing response teams as quickly as possible.
MAINTAINING COMMUNITY IN CRISIS
We are aware that many people in our church and community will have adjustments to their normal schedule in this season. For some, this may mean your kids are home from school for the foreseeable future. For others, there may be more serious adjustments that include decreased wages or even loss of employment. Our hope is that your unique needs will be communicated to our pastoral team (firstname.lastname@example.org) so that we can walk with you in this season. It may be that God will provide for you in ways that you did not expect or are unable to anticipate, or we may be able to meet with you for prayer and encouragement over the phone to make sure you are doing okay. Our hope is that even with increased isolation that there will be opportunity for community to form in new and creative ways.
To this end, we are working hard to ensure that our church can remain connected in the following ways:
1. We will continue to livestream worship services at 11:00am on Sunday mornings on March 22, 29, and April 5. The look, feel and format of these services will likely change from week to week, but we will be live and you will be able to tune in. Plan to have elements ready in your home so that we can take communion together at the end of the service.
Some work is being done to direct our livestream to YouTube and our church website for those who are not on Facebook. BUT if you are a Facebook user then watching it live from the Redwood Chapel Facebook page continues to provide the best opportunity to connect and feel engaged with others. If you need technical help before this weekend in getting your computer setup, send us an email at email@example.com.
a. RC Kids will be posting content on our website and through the Parent/Kid Exchange on the ChurchCenter app that you can use at home with your kids.
b. RC Students will be posting videos to the Redwood Chapel Students Facebook group and to @redwoodstudents on Instagram.
c. Our LifeStage leaders have been given curriculum to share with each of their classes. They may choose to do this via email, Zoom, Facebook, or some other means, as each ministry leader will be responsible for their own class.
d. If you are not yet connected to a smaller community at Redwood, now is a good time to join - let us know and we will get you connected.
3. Additional times of connection through prayer and worship are being planned. We will communicate the details soon, but stay tuned for a midweek gathering on Facebook Live to encourage and pray for one another and our community. Some of you have already let us know that you have decided to join in prayer and fasting during the lunch hour or for a chosen day each week - thank you for responding to the call! Please use your ChurchCenter app to keep us up to date on how you’re doing and how we can be praying for you.
4. 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.
Throughout history, crisis provides the Church with the opportunity to minister in new and creative ways. Look for opportunities around you to extend the love of God in a season of fear and unrest. Pray for us as leaders that we would respond well even as we pray for you to minister in the context where God has you. Pray for our government leaders, medical personnel, and first responders who are working hard to protect our communities.
In His Grip,