Many thanks to the volunteers who made fifty (50!) lunches for our friends at the San Jose Family Shelter this week!
Prince of Peace has a long history of caring for the physical needs of our neighbors and one way we can continue this vital ministry is by packing sack lunches in the safety of our own homes and dropping them off at PoP for delivery to the Family Shelter.
The Shelter is in need of fifty lunches per day. We have committed to serve lunch again next week, and would love your help! The lunches are simple affairs, made up of:
This is a great project for families, individuals, and folks who are anxious about leaving their homes. If you want to know more details, contact the office (firstname.lastname@example.org) 408-253-7167.
If you're interested in participating please add your name to the sign-up list even if all of this week's slots are filled. It is our hope that we can do this every week and perhaps extend the program to serve other neighbors in need. Thank you all so much for your care!
Dear Prince of Peace Community and Family,
8 weeks ago, the Prince of Peace faith community was suddenly thrust into a new online world of worship, 8x8 meetings, and virtual Bible studies. Our staff moved their work off campus and the doors of our site have been shuttered for the sake of the shelter in place directive. Over these past 8 weeks, we have been inspired by our musicians who sing and record their art, for Michael Touchi and the amazing ways that his music still reaches through screens and touches our hearts, for our phenomenal tech team who have cut, scrubbed, and done other technical magic to keep us engaged by the efforts that come from our many speakers and musicians. I have also personally been lifted in spirit by participating in online gatherings where the vulnerability of seeing one another’s homes and faces without Hollywood lighting makes it seem like we are almost in the same space. We’ve been touched by the laughter that comes when our youth gather regularly online in confirmation class and with Drew, the videos the high school seniors have produced, and the numerous times I have heard that “so-and-so” from church just called me the other day. As a faith community you all have risen to the occasion in such beautiful ways; perhaps in ways you never expected nor wanted to. ☺
As I (Pr. Sara) mentioned in my sermon on Sunday, and as you may guess with the reality of COVID19 and its presence in Santa Clara County, we as your staff and council leadership are in agreement that we will not be able to gather in large groups until it is lawful and safe. Currently, we have little information from the Santa Clara county health department about when we will be able to gather in groups of 30-35 or beyond. We respect the SCCHD decisions and know that they are basing the lessening of restrictions on scientific data and the safety of us all. We share those priorities: the safety and well-being of our church community and the wider community your lives touch. Thus, until we have word from the Santa Clara County health department concerning the legality and safety of gathering in groups of 30 or more, we will continue to do online worship only. It is our aim to make worship participatory, engaging, and inclusive of as many voices as possible while still maintaining the timelines necessary to produce a good “product.”
I deeply understand just how difficult it is to not be able to see one another in person, to worship together, and to do many of the things that help us feel connected to God and one another. But it is in these kinds of stressful and uncertain times that our faith can be a rock and stronghold for us. While we all wait, we will continue to offer creative and unique ways to engage one another with online groups, weekly online Bible Study, weekly online theology pub, and pastoral care calls. When it is deemed safe we will also be opening up campus and open air meeting spaces for small group gatherings. Again, we have no estimate on a timeframe for this.
I assure you, once we have clear guidance from the county and state, we will utilize our creativity and love for one another in planning worship and gatherings that are safe for all who feel comfortable enough to attend. This is not the time to take risks (as we have seen with numerous news stories on churches and faith communities who have disobeyed gathering restrictions and ended up with many ill and infected). And also be assured that the resumption of activities on campus will not end our online activities. Each of us must make our own decisions about when we feel comfortable with gatherings on campus. Prince of Peace will make all our events as available to those at home as we possibly can. As always, if you have any input on ways we can be a vital and loving presence to one another, please reach out to us.
In the meantime, as we live into this liminal space, we will also offer up ways to connect with and care for our neighbor. Many of our neighbors are in need due to the financial crisis and sudden shift in how we live. Even if we can’t worship together, we can still continue in our acts of love and justice for those around us from the safety of our own homes. I commend to you the section in our E-notes titled, “Connections to Neighbors.”
I will close these words reminding you that we are here for one another in this strange time. We are grateful for the commitment you have shown to this community and to your neighbors. May the curiosity of this time in our lives be that our physical distance means that we find ourselves being connected even more closely to God and to one another.
Pr. Sara and Pr. Nate
Prince of Peace members have been making cloth masks since the beginning of the pandemic. Over 60 were donated to Rotating Safe Car Park. Many more have been given to Prince of Peace members.
There were an extra 15 in the office last week. Those were placed in the food pantry that sits on the Cox Avenue side of the parking lot and a brief announcement was made on Next Door (social site for neighborhoods).
By the next morning all masks had been picked up. Most importantly, 185 neighbors saw the post and reacted in some way.
Reactions included simple "Thank" clicks, requests for masks when available, many thank you's for sharing masks, kindness, and reminding people about the food pantry, but also engagement. Since the post, neighbors with no prior connection to Prince of Peace have delivered personal care items and food. A scout troop that was not previously connected with us was looking for a low-contact volunteer opportunity, so they "adopted" the pantry for a Mother's Day service project.
This small gesture had a huge ripple effect in the community. It is a reminder that little things can make a big difference. Thank you for sharing God's love with your neighbors!
If you have extra masks, they are needed. Anne has a list of neighbors that made requests after the initial batch were gone. If you would like to make a big difference in another way, there are many opportunities. Contact Drew or Pastor Sara.
Since March 8th, two members of Prince of Peace have taken it upon themselves to make sure this community can still worship together. As the social limitations began, they brought gear and know-how to the sanctuary, along with a thoughtfulness about including everyone, somehow, in being a worshiping community – and not just a show for us to experience.
From that time on, David L. and Ken P. have been giving their time every week to record, compile, edit, adjust, scrub, and whatever else it takes to produce the videos that unite us all. Without this pair, this isolation would be so much more… isolating. ;)
But there’s more! One of the bright-sides of this adoption of online worship has been the chance to welcome and welcome back folks from around the country. And these two fine gentlemen have been dreaming up a variety of ways Prince of Peace can continue to offer online worship as we make the transition back into meeting in larger groups. These folks are really turning this challenge into a wonderful opportunity for Prince of Peace, both now and going forward.
Thank you, David and Ken!
by Pastor Nate Winterhof