Dear church family,
I just got done listening to the news conference in which Wake County announced a stay-at-home order. We have never seen times like these, and most of us have never lived under similar restrictions. Much is being stripped away. The things that are important, however, remain unchanged. The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the Word of the Lord remains forever! From everlasting to everlasting, He is God! COVID-19 will pass, but not even the gates of hell will prevail against the Church!
Good things happening
I have been personally so blessed in talking on the phone with our church family. Faith and hope are not diminished among us. The church is being the Body of Christ for each other. Many of you tell me about others who have called with words of encouragement and offers of help. Thank you for reaching out and caring. Please keep it up! Also, so many people joined together in praying for Matt and Jess and the kids as they traveled home earlier this week. All 72 slots were filled for uninterrupted prayer during the 36 hours they were traveling. This is the church being the church.
Ministries are continuing! Cameron and Roger are keeping connected with kids and youth, the working ladies’ group is still on for Saturday (online), small groups are connecting. Please take advantage of these opportunities to serve each other and build each other up. If you need more information about how to use Zoom for video “conferencing,” reach out to Paul. Also, someone has pointed out that it would be great for some of our men to fellowship online. Several of our Elders are ready to lead men’s online Bible studies or discussion groups. If you’d like to be involved, please let Pastor Cameron know.
We continue to look for creative ways to extend church life over the Internet. Please let us know as ideas come to mind. And if you have ideas for effective and legal ways to serve the community, please let me know.
Communion April 5th
We’ve had great response to the Sunday services on Facebook and the website. The service runs live on Sunday at 10:30a and then a little later is posted for viewing at any time. I think more people may be “in attendance” online than we had in person before! You can then use the sermon as the basis for family or small group discussion.
On Palm Sunday we will celebrate the Lord’s table during the on-line worship service. We simply ask that you have bread and grape juice ready during the service, as we share together. If you would like to have a communion-like bread, a simple recipe is included at the end of this letter.
Online church and stay-at-home restrictions
Some of you might be wondering, how is it that we are continuing to produce our online worship service, when we’re supposed to stay at home. For the purposes of the order, Wake County specifically addressed the question and allows for the minimum number people necessary to come to the church and produce on-line services. We communicated with our County Commissioners about this ahead of time and are grateful that they responded with this decision and took the time to make it clear.
Lord willing, this Sunday morning we will have five people here producing the service, and the church won’t be open to anyone else. These five can do their part in such a way that they don’t violate social distancing restrictions.
One part of continuing to worship together, even in different circumstances, is continuing to give. The building is still here and the bills need to be paid! Some have asked about how that will go, and we simply want to direct you back to the church web page about ways to give. Thank you for your continued faithfulness to the Lord and generosity in this matter, and for the extra effort it may take to get this set up. To reiterate what we say on that page, online giving is pretty easy to set up, but having your bank send a check both protects your information and keeps down administrative fees related to online giving. If you have any questions about this, reach out to Paul. And some have asked — if you’d rather not set something like this up, but would like to mail a check to the church, that works, too.
Sharing needs and carrying each other’s burdens
We’ve had a number of people reach out, offering to help those in need. If you are in a high risk group, rather than go out, you can ask a church family member to bring you food, a prescription, or household needs, or to run other errands. Those who need help and those who would like to provide that help can link up here. (Some have found that they can’t enter their names. You can also call the church office to get help.)
As you are helping others, please follow all the recommendations of the CDC. Leaving a box on the porch and having a chat from 6 feet away is perfectly fine under these circumstances. And remember that if you’re picking up a prescription, you will need the recipient’s name and date of birth, and you may be required to provide your ID to the pharmacist.
Aaronic benediction (I wonder if you knew that’s the theological title?)
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace
Communion Bread Recipe
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup water
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix flour, oil, and salt together in a bowl; add water and mix using a pastry cutter until dough is soft. Form dough into 6 balls and press into disks onto the prepared baking sheet using your hands. Bake in the preheated oven until bread is cooked, 8 to 10 minutes.
Cary Alliance Church