Please gather your family and friends around to watch this prerecorded Christmas meditation…
Dear Church Family,
As the covid-19 boxing match enters its 9th round, we’re all feeling battered by its many blows. I’ve seen this divide our church in ways I never thought possible; my heart aches. My prayer for us as we move forward is to live out the truths in Romans 14-15 that discuss “disputable matters.” (A “disputable matter” is a moral or wisdom position that the Bible does not specifically address.)
Romans 14 and 15 teach us that wherever we land on “disputable matters” we’re to remember “we belong to the Lord” (Romans 14:8) and we must “make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification” (Romans 14:19). So too, we should prioritize pleasing our neighbors over ourselves (Romans 15:2-3). This means that regardless of where your conscience falls on whether masks are helpful and loving or unhelpful and unloving, this must not become an issue that divides the Christian body. Satan is all-too-happy to see us forsake Christ’s mission and the assembly of believers over this disputable matter.
Amid this journey, the elders have sought counsel in and outside our body to make our decisions without claiming any position has the “right” or “biblical” view on this disputable matter.
All that to say, we think it’s an ok time to slightly change our covid protocols this week…
With a continued drop in positive cases for covid-19, fewer hospitalizations, and the 14-day positivity rate across Linn county at 9.7% and trending down (well below the 15% 14-day rolling average deemed significant), effective Wednesday December 16th we’ll step back our church-wide protocols to as follows:
1) The overflow area in the foyer will be reserved as a “mask only worship space” for the 9:25AM worship service. The Facebook Live service will continue for those with health concerns related to corporate gatherings.
2) The sanctuary will go back to being mask-optional/encouraged. If possible, please wear a mask entering and exiting the foyer, particularly in the overflow area. *People with breathing problems, non-school age kids, and those who can’t remove the mask without assistance need not wear one.*
3) Small groups using the building throughout the week can make their own mask-wearing determinations based on group dynamics and concerns. As of last week, the youth group has transitioned to mask-optional/encouraged on Wednesday evenings.
I still love pastoring this church, and I love you. Admittedly, I’m a weary pastor at the end of 2020. Pray for me, pray for your elders, pray for one another. Thank you for your many efforts to carry one another burdens…
To God be the glory.
Yours in Christ,
Don’t let these next six words come off trite. God loves you. I love you. We have an amazing God, and I am so thankful to be a part of this church family.
Now onto Christmas…Though the Christmas season may look a bit different in 2020, our great teams and volunteers are working hard to make each week special. Let me highlight 5 ways you, your family, and hopefully some of your friends can join us to reflect on Jesus Christ this season!
#1: Mid-Week Pastor Encouragement Devos – Every Wednesday @12PM Jump on a short 15-25 minute Zoom call each Wednesday (FIRST ONE TOMORROW!) to hear Pastor Gary or me speak a word of encouragement from God’s Word. Join Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82543108027?pwd=em5ucU5xUWFFN0hnZjFpa0QxTm9UQT09 (Go and download Zoom to your device if you don’t already have it; you can attempt to call in, but sometimes sound issues develop: (312) 626-6799 – Meeting ID: 825 4310 8027 – Passcode: 617256
#2: Join us for our Sunday morning Advent worship services.
#3: A Christmas Carol Singing Night: For those up for a night of singing traditional Christmas carols, we will meet Sunday night December 20th from 4:30-5:30PM. Invite those who love the hymns of Christmas
#4: A Family Christmas Video: Our amazing worship planning team is putting together a simple 15-25 minute Christmas video that you can use with your immediate and extended family whenever your family meets to open presents, eat, and celebrate Christmas. The video will retell the story of Christmas and be a helpful resource for Christians and those not yet in the Christian faith. You may choose to pass it along to the friends and family you won’t be able to see this year. Look for this around December 22/23.
#5: Christmas Eve Service: We’re planning a “traditional” Christmas Eve service on December 24th at 6:30PM at the church building; we’ll also stream it live via our Facebook page and have overflow seating in the foyer.
I love you. God loves you.
Immanuel has come! Glory!
Dear Church Family,
In the bleak midwinter of sin, doubt, and shame,
Our Father sent His Son, to bring glory to His name.
A holy life lived as the sacrificial lamb,
Our propitiation before the great I AM.
Savior, He is, Savior, He was, Savior He will be,
A gracious gift of love for you and me.
We’ll have two gatherings this week…
#1: Join us at 10AM on Thanksgiving for a “Good Morning Church” Zoom Call: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86706249876?pwd=MXo1RDdjOC9pZ1lXVlZPNE1LUU9adz09
#2: We’ll meet Sunday at 9:25AM for our Church Gathering in-person, online, and in our overflow room (no change to our Covid-19 protocols).
I also dropped a new YouTube encouragement video:
I’m thankful for you!
Dear Cornerstone Family,
Blessings to you as we continue to walk through these very unusual days. We have been so encouraged to see how you are pursuing God and caring for one another in the midst of such great challenges. We trust you are in a good place; if there are some felt needs, let us know. We seek to be with you and help in any way we can.
We also wanted you to be aware of the recent proclamation by Nicolas AbouAssaly, Marion’s mayor, regarding face coverings (attached). The Mayor writes to “urge, strongly advise, and recommend” the use of face coverings in all public spaces (with a few listed exceptions). Our heart is to honor this request. Our practice will remain the same as before; we leave it up to you as to how you personally proceed. You will notice as you enter the building this Sunday a sign on the door calling attention to the Mayor’s recommendation.
Update (11/1/2020): Moving forward, we ask that our people wear a mask entering and exiting our foyer. *People with breathing problems, non-school age kids, and those who can’t remove the mask without assistance should not wear one.* We have a mask-only worship space set up in our foyer; our sanctuary worship space will remain mask-optional.
Please know that the Facebook live stream continues every Sunday and is available to you if you are unsure of attending in person.
May the world see Christ in us as we extend the same grace we have received to each other. We do this in the way we love one another as Jesus commanded us (John 13: 34-35).
Blessings to you all,
Pastor Gary for the Elders
Subscribe to Podcast
- April 18, 2021: 1 John 2:18-29 “End Times, Antichrists, Anointings, Oh My!”
- April 11, 2021: 1 John 2:15-17 “What’s So Wrong About This World?”
- April 4, 2021, Easter Sunday: John 19:19-23 “Elusive Peace”
- Pastor Post: April 1, 2021
- March 28, 2021: 1 John 2:7-14 “The Realm of Light and the Community of Love”
Connect on Social Media