Raising the next generation

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A Letter to the Congregation

July 1, 2020

Pastor Larry Ballenger and the Session of the church

 

Dear Members and Friends of Arcadia Community Church:


            As our country and state are slowly beginning to reopen, we want to let you know where Arcadia Church is in that process.  While we are unable to provide a specific date, at this time, we want you to know that we have a “Reopening Team” of elders and staff who are in prayer and discussion about this.  As you know, it is a complicated issue with a wide variety of factors to consider.  That is why we are asking that you please pray for us to be guided by the Holy Spirit.


            We start from the premise that while the church campus has been closed, Arcadia Community Church has never been closed.  Ministry continues.  We are still the church.  We are worshipping, serving, giving, growing in our faith, although in different ways than before.  Our mission continues each week, as well as programs for youth, young adults, small groups, Bible studies, (via zoom, phone, and text), prayer meetings, and staff meetings.  Session and Deacons meetings and ministry teams continue to function via zoom and social media.  Groceries are being delivered to folks in need.  And because of your faithfulness, more and more members are giving online to make sure that staff and our missionaries world-wide are being paid.  We are in many ways working harder now than before.  To God be the glory!


            The early church met in homes, catacombs, and a wide variety of locations as do many Christians around the world today.  Whether we are scattered or together we are still the church and God is still very much at work.


            With all that being said, we want to share with you four values that are guiding our discernment:

            1.  We want to reopen without unnecessary delay.  Hebrews 10:25 says: “Do not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encourage one another.”  We are doing that now through online services in our homes and for those who are new at this, staff and talented members have been providing training and assistance to make sure that anyone who wants to be connected can be.  While all this is good and becoming a new normal, it cannot completely replace being physically together in worship as a community.  Connection is not only a high value, but a human need.  So, while we continue to explore ways to be connected and engage our congregation remotely, we are also highly motivated to reopen the campus and worship together in person as soon as we can.

            2.  We need to reopen responsibly in a way that protects not only the health of our congregation and staff, but also the health of the community.  We are paying close attention to the guidelines from our county, state, and national governments as well as the Centers for Disease Control.  When we do reopen the buildings on our campus, we will meet or exceed all requirements and protocols for hygiene and social distancing. 

            3.  We need to reopen effectively.  We want to reopen in a way that provides a meaningful worship, ministry, and community experience that will work for adults, children, and youth.  We want to provide a warm welcome and hospitality and be aware of our witness to our neighbors and community.  When we do reopen, for an uncertain time we will need to be prepared to wear masks, to keep at least 6 feet apart and we probably will not be able to sing.  We will need to be flexible as we come back together to worship in new and different ways.

            4.  We need to reopen united.  As some have said, we are all in the same storm of COVID19, but we are not all in the same boat.  Some are experiencing the devastating economic consequences of this lockdown, losing jobs, income, even homes.  Some are understandably fearful of the very real health consequences of the Coronavirus.  Some are experiencing loneliness and isolation in painful ways which can adversely affect one’s health.  Some are experiencing all of the above.  Whichever part of this crisis causes us the most pain is likely to influence our opinions on how and when to reopen.

These are four values in the midst of a very fluid situation that changes frequently and with uncertainty.  That’s why we ask you to pray for the Session and staff as we try to remain flexible and discern the best steps to take over the coming weeks and months. 


            We will continue to keep you updated as changes occur.  And for those of you who cannot or do not feel comfortable coming back quite yet even when it becomes possible, our media team is working on the systems that need to be put in place for live streaming of our services of worship.  We want to make sure everyone has access to worship and stays connected. 


            If you have any questions or concerns, we’d love to hear from you.  Don’t hesitate to call the office [626-445-7470] or email Pastor Larry at revbal@arcadia.church.


            We trust that God is using this time of shelter-in-place to shape us into better people and to be the church for the 21st century that He is calling us to be.  We can’t wait until we are all together again. 

 

In Christ,

Pastor Larry and the Session

An Update From Pastor Larry

Regarding COVID-19

HOW THINGS ARE CHANGED AT ARCADIA CHURCH (for now):


The following measures are being followed at the church, on Sundays and throughout the week, in response to the worldwide health crisis.   Your elders and staff have taken the following steps:

  1. Worship will not be held in the sanctuary in person, but online until further notice and will be decided on a monthly basis at the Session meetings.  The Session has voted to continue with online worship through the month of July.   
  2. The church office is closed.  Staff will continue to work remotely form home.  All calls to the church office will be forwarded to Erin Cruz.  You may also reach her during office hours at (626) 367-2091. (From time to time there may be people in the office, but we ask that you contact us by calling the office or our cell phones.)
  3. The pastoral/program team are on call and available according to the following schedule:

Pastor Larry Ballenger      626-807-0286              Tues, Weds, Thurs, Sat, Sun

Pastor Andrew Ritiau       562-569-0386               Friday, Sunday

  1. All on-campus social and spiritual events are postponed and cancelled until further notice.   Contact your leadership.
  2. Committees and boards, including Session, will meet online unless they are cancelled.
  3. All of our rental groups have been cancelled for the present.  
  4. Our three “nesting” congregations, Armenian, Taiwanese, and Indonesian, have been directed to follow current CDC and governmental guidelines and perform their worship services in a virtual or online format.





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