On September 13th in a grass covered courtyard in Northern California, our church community met to hear the Word, share bread and wine, and listen to music in a worshipful setting. It was the first time our worshiping body met in person for over 6 months. The gathering was sweet and sad; a moving experience for most, but also, because we cannot now be all together, missing the majority of its body, we were also incomplete and therefore not fully celebratory.
As Pastor Nate and I have navigated this time of pandemic and had conversations with many of you, it is clear that this, our Body of Christ, will not feel comfortable gathering in person until a vaccine or clear course of treatment for COVID19 is found. We understand and respect this reality. Your safety matters, and we are glad you are choosing to be careful and responsible. With that said, we also are keenly aware that so many of us are tired of virtual meetings (called zoom fatigue in our kids’ elementary school), feeling deeply isolated, and in desperate need of Good News. So we wanted to offer another opportunity for our church family to come and connect with God and this community in some way. And so, Pr. Nate and I have made interactive art and faith stations a central part of this outdoor worship, and set them up on campus through the week. There are signs with questions that explain what you are seeing. And if you are on Facebook, videos posted on how to utilize the space. Our hope is that anyone might feel comfortable, if they want to, to come to campus and safely take part in the Faith/Art projects.
We hope you all are able to experience these works of art and faith. May they be a way that our incomplete body of Christ gets to safely connect with one another in these hard times. Until then, you remain in our prayers and in our most fervent hopes for reunion and celebration.
Continuing on last week's transformation theme - Prince of Peace and our extended community, many of you visited the Social Hall – or saw the inside during a worship service – and you may have noticed the Hall is in a middle of an update. Our Property committee has been working hard to make needed repairs around campus while the property cannot be used as we would all like.
As part of these efforts, we tried to find ways to create space for folks to volunteer onsite, in a safe way, to help us all deal with being stuck in our homes for so long. Barbara Emerson and Bill Young have been working hard together to prepare the space for priming and painting – Barbara’s efforts at nail repair are all those spots you would see on the walls.
We are ready now to open the Social Hall up for anyone to drop in.
Please use this signup sheet to choose when you would like to help. Or contact Pr. Nate to schedule a different time.
Adopt-a-Highway Participates in Coastal Clean-up
Caltrans has given our Adopt-a-Highway Clean-Up program permission to resume clean-up of our 2 mile portion of Highway 85 at Saratoga Avenue. We chose to begin on Coastal Clean-Up Day this Saturday, September 19th. It is the largest international volunteer day that brings out the most volunteers to help keep our water and environment clean.
Weather report is clear skies!
No better way to celebrate clean air than with clean roadways!
We will be implementing Caltrans' newly updated safety guidelines to assure we maintain physical distance, etc. These guidelines are included in our highway clean-up procedures. And because of the social distancing required, we will need extra volunteers. We need a total of 12 people (four drivers, and eight people exclusively cleaning the highway). We have 7 signed up now so we are putting out this special plea to get additional sign-ups by Friday. We also will have a Pre-Meeting Friday Night, 9/18, at 5:30 PM for all those who sign up.
Resurrection is the belief that new life and new beginnings come after death and deep grief. As Christians we gather (virtually or in-person) on Sundays to celebrate the Resurrection. As 2020 has piled on tragedy after problem after natural disaster, and as we have been separated from our in-person faith communities and gatherings, it can be hard to believe in the Resurrection and to center ourselves in its hope. I recently read an article that reminded me so clearly that Resurrection is a process, a spectrum. And one of the difficult realities of this is that life on the other side is usually different than the life before.
When I am at my lowest and struggling to see the end of this pandemic or struggling to see a way forward in our nation’s political life and democracy, I remind myself of the struggles of Good Friday and Holy Saturday. As Jesus breathed his last and his disciples scattered, Jesus’ ministry as the disciples knew it (in-person and communal) was over. It took time for the disciples to rearrange and figure out how to continue Jesus’ ministry of neighborly love, radical forgiveness, and inclusive community (read the book of Acts to hear all the drama, murder, power struggles, and eventual hope!). I think we are in that place as a church and world, too. We all will be changed as a result of this year. And the ministries of PoP have already and will continue to adapt to this new reality. We have been touched by the amazing shifts of so many of our people, willing to volunteer, help, be active online, call one another on the phone, and utilizing our property in new and unique ways (just to name a few shifts!)
As we continue to respond to the “gifts” of 2020 and look to what New Life God has in store, we wanted to take a few moments and update you on the current life and work here at PoP.
+In-Person Outdoor, Covid-Safe Prayer Service (Outdoor Vespers) starts this Sunday at 5:00PM. RSVP at the Google form or contact one of the pastors to sign up. We’ll gather, safely, for communion (bring your own communion elements), a short meditation, prayer, and live music.
+Our Fellowship Hall will return to its former self after this weekend as we close down the site and funnel the items to other fire victim donation centers, non-profits, and people in need.
+PoP Financial Update Coming: This coming week you will be receiving a separate email outlining our financial picture as Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, for the end of 2020 and looking ahead into next year. We are so grateful for all of you and your support of our ministry and work amongst our faith community and the community outside of our doors. You have responded generously and your generosity was and is needed. We ask you to read this email carefully. It is serious news, but also, there is good news here as well. The pandemic is affecting everyone, and we feel, as your leadership and staff, that it is important to keep you all informed about our status and how we are preparing for the coming year.
These are some of the immediate changes in our ministry and midst here. As we look to the start of our education year, keep an eye out for Small Group Gatherings, Youth Group events, Bible Study and opportunities to hear about and find that “Resurrection Faith.”
Pr. Sara & Pr. Nate
In-Person Outdoor Prayer Worship (Vespers) starting September 13th @5PM
Greetings PoP Community, we are excited to announce that on September 13th at 5:00PM we will have the opportunity to gather together for Vespers, a fancy word meaning evening prayers. It will be rather different than our Sunday morning services, mostly due to COVID gathering restrictions. But the differences, we feel, will be a moving and powerful way to gather as a community again to worship and experience with our physical selves, the gift of human community.
We will be practicing social distancing, wearing masks at all times, and praying with our hands instead of our mouths. Of course, amazing music will be included, but no group singing yet (per safety measures outlined by medical professionals).
We’ll be gathering outside on the courtyard lawn area. We’ll have some chairs set up but also encourage you to bring your own blankets or chairs AND a communion serving for each member of your family.
To be part of this service you need to RSVP (50 slots are available) at this link. If you cannot use the link (or if it is already full) please contact Pastor Sara or Nate and they will help and/or get you into the next week’s service. We will be gathering in person every Sunday evening at 5:00PM. If you are not comfortable attending, we completely understand. Please know that online Sunday morning traditional worship services will continue live-streaming at 10AM on Sundays.