UPDATE: Sunday services are available only online through the end of March. Click here to watch LIVE on Sunday at 10:30am.

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COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus

A response regarding Covid-19 (the novel coronavirus)

 

 

We are over a week into the statewide “Shelter at Home” directive! We hope you all are weathering the challenges well in this season! 
 
During this time our campus at Taft Avenue Community Church remains closed, and all our small group ministries are on hold
 
I want to invite you all to join our church service online on our website on Sundays at 10:30.  Taftavenue.org/livestreamSo many of you in our Taft Ave family have streamed our service, and we are thrilled that you are conquering the technology and worshipping with us. 
 
The good news is that Our church service is being seen by many.  We had over 60 households that clicked in (120 people is a good estimate), and our service is being seen well beyond our immediate communities. We have some friends in the central valley that told us, “We love coming to Taft Ave on Sundays!” They are 200 miles away, but are loving being a part of our community.
 
Keep pointing people to our Livestream. It is part of our purpose to help people connect, and reconnect, with God during this season. 
 
We have added on the livestream page a place where visitors can fill out a Connect Card online
 
Also, we have added to our website a place where anyone can submit prayer requests.
Our Elders and Staff and Prayer team are privileged to lift you up in prayer. If you have a pressing need, this is a good place to go to request that sort of help as well.
 
Here are a few things we continue to encourage you to do:
 
Walk and Pray – walk your neighborhood, pray for the people in the various houses.  I have been praying for “The Peace of God” (Phil 4:7; 4:4-9) or the “Peace of Christ” (Col 3:15; 3:12-17) over the houses that I pass.  I am trying to commit these two passages to memory, so I will recite them as I walk and pray.  Maybe you have a different passage that is encouraging you through this time. . . use that!  But take an hour daily or weekly to Walk and Pray! We always anticipate that God will move!
 
Stay Connected with Each Other – The practice of connecting with at least one person each day is a good rule.  Phone, FaceTime, Zoom, Google Hangouts are all good.  We have the technological means to stay connected in great ways. There is something about hearing the voice, and seeing the face of someone you know.  If you don’t feel like you are techy enough . . . give it a shot and try something new!  We are a congregation of Growing people!
 
Overall, we want you to be a blessing to your neighborhood and community.  
It is completely appropriate that we continue to offer our Faith in Jesus and Trust in God as the antidote for fear and anxiety so prevalent in this season.
 
If you are having any troubles with our livestream, contact any of the staff or elders and they will be happy to help or connect you with someone who can help.
 
Reach out if you have a need office@taftavenue.org or reach out to our elders elders@taftavenue.org
 
Or you can email me craig@taftavenue.org
 
Peace to you all!
 
Pastor Craig

Published March 26th, 2020

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In our world there is continued emphasis on the spread of COVID-19 and the measures our country is taking to mitigate its spread.  It is difficult to avoid all the talk and opining about the seriousness of this pandemic as well as the steps that are being taken.  I am certain that every person in our church has felt the effects of this flurry of activity and news.
 
Many of you last Sunday worshiped with us by means of a livestream on the internet.  As we tracked it, our service was streamed to over 25 households and we had many people “attending” our church for the first time last Sunday on the livestream!  This was a great success for our body in this time.  We appreciate that you all took the time and conquered the technology!  We will continue this livestream of our services.
 
While last week we were able to meet under the gathering guidelines of the Center for Disease Control (CDC), this week the CDC has issued a special 15 day plan that calls for even more stringent restrictions on gatherings.  And just yesterday the County of Orange put out an order that “all public or private gatherings of any number of people are prohibited.”  For this reason, our Church campus is currently closed (with the exception of Children’s House), and we are moving our weekly Sunday 10:30a service entirely online with our livestream until the end of the month.  A small essential team of worship, tech, and pastoral staff will be onsite producing the worship service, which will be available to participate in online.  
 
I realize that there is a wide range of thoughts about the drastic measures that are being used to combat this virus, as well as the various responses of our church.  Are we going overboard?  Are we risking being unfaithful to God or our mission by closing our sanctuary?
 
We are faced with the task of faithfulness to God in the midst of being part of stopping the spread and severity of this virus.  An online “gathering” for worship may not be ideal, but it allows us to be faithful to God in corporate worship, while also being above reproach as responsible citizens, and caring for the most at-risk among us.
 
I would like you all to know that these decisions have been prayerfully arrived at.  On Monday night our Elders (myself, Bill Runion, Rick Hicks, Terry Lichte, and Rainier Laxamana) met along with Cathy Keller, Marcia Lichte, and Jim Hill to pray and work out a plan for caring for our congregation during this time.  We prayed for many of you by name, and will continue to pray for each other, and offer help to those who need it.  Any of these people are good to contact if you have a need, or would like to be helpful during this time.
 
A few things we are encouraging: 
1.     Walk and Pray - We are encouraging everyone in our Taft Avenue Family to Walk & Pray Saturday 9-10a.  During that hour go for a walk and pray for your neighborhood. Say hello to your neighbors (if you see them, and practicing social distancing) and let them know that you are praying for them, and that our church is praying for our community.  Ask them if they have any needs at this time.
2.     Worship with us online – We will continue to livestream our Sunday 10:30 Service.  We have put the livestream on our website to make it easier to access.  Click here to go to taftavenue.org/livestream.  Click on the play button and the livestream will begin around 10a or 10:15a on Sunday.  If anyone needs help getting set up, please contact Marcia Lichte or any of the elders who would be happy to walk you through the process.
3.     Share our Livestream – People right now may be anxious and needing reassurance.  It is appropriate that we offer Faith in Jesus and trust in God as the antidote to fear and anxiety. Our worship service is one way we can direct people to God in this time.
4.     Stay in contact with each other and our leaders – Quarantine does not mean isolation.  We are able to connect with each other over phone, text, facetime, email.  I would urge you to connect with at least one person every day.  Be sure to pray together over the phone, and encourage one another to use this time well.
5.     Reflect on our Series from Genesis (In the Beginning) – We will be producing some discussion questions and materials for you and your household during this time at home.
 
We are praying that you are well, that this is a rich time of growth in the Lord, and that this unique season is strategic for the Kingdom of God to advance in the hearts of the people of our communities.
 
Pastor Craig

Published March 18th, 2020

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 News of the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is occupying center stage for our nation and much of the world these days. As a church we want to be appropriately informed of any developments and take any precautions necessary for a safe and healthy environment for our  worship services and gatherings.

Before offering some practical considerations, it would be appropriate for us to reflect on Scripture and our posture during times of crisis. For us as individuals, and as a community of faith, we are clearly called to embrace hope, love, and the warmth of the Holy Spirit towards each other and a lost world.  As Philippians 4:6-7 urges, we exchange our anxiety for prayer and thanksgiving, and we anticipate that God will be faithful to offer peace, even in crisis.  As I stated on Sunday, we continue to greet one another with love and warmth, and that certainly can involve the warmth of simple human touch and conversation.

At the same time we can also be smart in this season. We encourage everyone to take appropriate precautions. Here are some basic measures recommended by the CDC, which we encourage:

  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces regularly.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • Practice these precautionary measures at home and pass this information along to family and friends.

We want to be safe, but we also want to be people who are characterized by faith and trust in the Lord.  May God find us faithful to be in prayer for our community, state, nation, and world.

Peace to you all,

Pastor Craig

Published March 11th, 2020

 

Links for more information:

Center for Disease Control: