May 29th, 2020 Update
Good morning Church!
I offer you this paraphrased benediction from I Thessalonians as an opening word of blessing as you get into your day! May God himself, the God of peace, empower you through and through, from the top of your head to the soles of your feet. And may your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept whole, and your thoughts, emotions, and physical needs be met in Christ Jesus until the day he returns. The one who has called us is faithful and he will do it!
CHILDREN'S MINISTRIES THIS SUMMER
While day camps and resident camps that happen on the Beulah Beach campus are scheduled to begin againon July 5th, all of the summer Beulah on the Road Camps and Wet N' Wacky Wednesday, have been cancelled. Beulah on the Road and Wet N' Wacky Wednesday have been a big deal to many of our kids and their friends in the community and we feel very badly we cannot pull it off. But we are reserving our spot already for next year! But here are some of the things we are considering or hoping to do for kids this summer:
1. Our worship gatheringsbeginning June 7thwill include a special kids time during the service each week. And individual activity bags will be available at the back of the worship center as well as some table space if kids need it, each week. We hope to include kids songs etc. as well as a part of worship if indeed we see kids are coming.
2. In that we will not have Beulah on the Road, we would like to use some of our monies set aside for such to provide scholarships for kids who might want to actually go to a resident camp at the Beach. You can click on their website to see what camps will be available. We would hopefully cover all but $85 of the expense (the cost if we had BOTR) of the camp. We are thinking we could cover 7 or 8 kids. It would be first come, first served, and we would not offer more than one full scholarship per family unless we saw that we had some left. Watch for more information on this one.
3. We would love to provide VBS in a box (keep listening for more on this one too), and would get super excited if we could pull off some backyard clubs this summer. A family would serve as host (once a week for five weeks or for five daysin one week) and simply invite friends from the neighborhood (though we would post clubs for our church body so that kids from our church could join too if there was no club in their neighborhood). It would be a 2-3 hour time each day including games, crafts, lesson etc. The key would be having host homes, families who are interested, and some willing teachers. We will see, but if this interests you, please respond via email or phone call.
The Rufener family (Peter, Heidi, and their three children, Hannah, Caleb, and Olivia) will be with us on site at our live-stream gathering this weekend. Peter will be preaching part one of our a two part series on "Community." Lord willing, he will be preaching part two of the brief serieson June 21! This will be the final Sunday that Marlene Miller will be presenting a children's story as we shift to a reopening format next week. Thanks Marlene for this great idea and reading each week! And we will have a video honoring our high school grads and will be praying for them. Join us via live-stream and invite others!
Next week we will be reopening with worship gatherings offeredat 9:00 AMand10:45 AMand live-streaming of the10:45 AMgathering. These summer times were chosen with the idea of spreading out our body due to limited seating perhaps somewhat evenly between two gatherings. (Many find8:00 AMtoo early to attend so we shifted to9:00 AMand we need enough time following that gathering to prepare for live-streaming the second gathering). So much of what we are doing may end up being adjusted as we see how things go, but this is our starting point. And here is this week's "top ten" of what you can expect and what we are asking:
1. Please don't come early for gatherings. (Who thought they would ever hear that!) We encourage all to come close to the starting time of the gathering they will be joining.
2. All entry doors will be propped open and then closed and locked 15 minutes into each gathering, and then propped open at the end of each gathering again.
3. Members of our safety team will serve as "greeters" as well as staff the doors. No handshakes or hugs encouraged!
4. Restrooms will be open but please use them only if you absolutely need to do so. Remember how on long trips mom and dad would tell us to make sure we used the bathroom before we got in the car? Same idea here! :)
5. Water fountains will be closed, but we will provide bottled water for those who need it.
6. Hand sanitizer will be available at several locations near entry doors to the worship center. Masks are encouraged but optional.
7. Please don't spend time before or after gatherings socializing in the lobby. Please do that before you come in and after you go out if you want to connect with others. We are technically saying the lobby is closed, as is the coffee cafe.
8. We have left six feet between rows in our worship center. If you are not sitting together with your family, please leave three empty seats between yourself and the next person. (Our best guess is that we will be able to accommodate 50 to 120 in each gathering depending on family seating). We will see!
9. There will be activity bags for kids...several kids tables available in the back, and a weekly children's and youth spot in our gatherings.
10. Come with prepared hearts expecting the Lord by His Spirit to be at work!
We talk often at Cornerstone about being a motley crew united in Christ. It is our mission to be both Christ-centered and community focused in our commitment to transformation and multiplication. We constantly say that we want to be the light of Christ where we live, work, and play! This reopening is our chance to shine in gracious ways! I am sure we have many different takes on this pandemic, how serious it is, how cautious we should be, etc. (And of course, I am pretty sure my take is the most accurate one, right?)! :) I am asking that we don't make that the focus of our conversations as we gather. I am asking that we don't bring our agendas whatever they may be or go around trying to hug people, for example, just to prove a point. Let's take Paul's words in Romans 15 to heart where he urges the early church (and us) to make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification, to try not to cause others to stumble, and to keep some of our convictions to ourselves, trusting that God knows our hearts! The only spirit we want to dominate our gatherings is the Holy Spirit! That's a big ask, but I believe we can see it happen!
Even as I am wrapping this up, I am preparing to tune in for at least a little while to the live-stream memorial service for Dr. Ravi Zacharias. His passing seems too soon and at just the wrong time in many ways, but oh how richly God used this dear man to point people to Jesus. Maybe you are questioning God's timing today in your life. I get it. But don't let the honest questions keep you from faithfully being the light of Christ where you can. God knows what he is doing; eternity will reveal some pretty incredible things we missed!