Category: Uncategorized

Recent C.R. Mask Mandate & Cornerstone (9/4/2020)

Dear Church Family,

I think we all know the wearing of masks has become a controversial issue, and I pray we as a church individually and corporately walk with discernment, mercy, and love.  

As you may be aware, Mayor Hart of Cedar Rapids recently used emergency powers to place a mask mandate on the city of Cedar Rapids. Our church facility falls outside of Cedar Rapids, but the elders took some time to discuss the mandate in deference to our civil authorities. I also contacted other church pastors to give serious consideration to what this could mean for Cornerstone.

For starters, we are already in the spirit of compliance with Mayor Hart’s mandate. He says all people should wear a mask if 6 feet of social distance cannot be maintained. Our open foyer and spaced out seating already allow for this.

We do have a few spaces, classes, and groups that do not allow for social distancing. In such spaces, recent mandates and health agencies would recommend masks. So too, wearing a mask can be received as an act of love to your brothers and sisters in Christ (especially where seniors, new/expecting moms and babies, and those with other health concerns are present). 

And yet, for some of you, other health concerns, the loss of social engagement, and other values make mask wearing an undue burden. 

Thus, as a church, we will not police mask wearing, and still believe it’s ultimately an individual decision.  This may put some at a health risk so we recognize that some people will prefer to worship online until the pandemic lessens.

I pray we give people grace for our different views, and try to remain united in Christ, the gospel, and the Great Commission. 

Lord help us, Lord help our cities,

Pastor Matt


Pastor Post: 8/27/2020

Dearest Church Family,

Our Sovereign Lord reigns over hurricanes, derechos, riots and viruses. He pours grace down on the broken-hearted; he sustains the weak. The world needs to know our crucified and risen King; we need to know Him and find daily life through Him. To that end, our fall ministries are not incidental. Rather, these are God’s means of grace to hold us together as a church family and to hold us up as children of our heavenly Father. 

Human history (God’s history!) has never had a day where His people didn’t face plague, natural disasters, political unrest, and persecution. It is in these very times when God’s people of light stand in contrast to the darkness that envelopes the world. Now, as much as ever, we need to cling to Christ, to one another, and to our mission to make disciples. So, how will you serve? How will you invest? For whom will you pray, share, and minister?

Opportunities abound…

#1: Fall Sunday School Classes start this Sunday (8/30)! – Sunday School will run 10:50AM-11:50AM. A large adult class studying The New City Catechsim will meet in the sanctuary to allow for social distancing. Another adult class called B.L.E.S.S. that focuses on training you for personal ministry will meet in room 101. PreK-high school will have their own classes. Note that the ability to social distance in the younger classes will be unlikley. You can choose to exclude your child or have them wear PPE.

#2: Small Groups launching in September!  Click below for a full list of small groups and bible studies. Please check with the group leader(s) if you plan to join them. Groups are launching in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd weeks of September.

#3: Alpha begins Sunday night September 13th @5:30PM! Many of you met new neighbors in the aftermath of derecho; others of you have family and friends disconnected from God or a church home; and others have coworkers interested in spiritual things. Alpha is a perfect first step for people wanting to investigate the big questions of life, God, and Christianity. Would you invite them to join us Sunday nights in September? (Free meals, childcare, and open conversations will be available every week!) We’d love for people to sign up in advance to be prepared for food and childcare. So sign up here: https://forms.gle/Rss5i7Y3Rc7nzdySA More information on Alpha is available at https://cornerstone-marion.org/alpha-fall-2020/

Please stay in touch; know that I love you.
-Pastor Matt


Derecho Recovery Update – 8/20/20

Dear Cornerstone Church,

Derecho came roaring through our city and taught us a major lesson: Any thoughts we had of control were only an illusion. Our hope is in trusting the One who is in control – the Almighty God – who loves us and always has our best interests at heart for His glory.
 
I am grateful for all of you, the members and friends of Serve The City, who display our hope in a sovereign God. Thank you for being the church and serving our community in the aftermath of Derecho’s destruction. We will continue sharing information with you to assist you in getting help or for you to know how to serve our community.
 
NEW: Linn Area Partners Active In Disaster (LAP-AID) PDF

Church Storm Resources PDF — Updated Aug 20, 2020
 
City of Cedar Rapids Storm Resources PDF
 
I am thankful Marcus Bratsch, associate pastor at River of Life Church, has volunteered to be our Derecho Storm Recovery Coordinator. Charles Daugherty, former STC Executive Director, will be assisting Marcus. Any inquires can be directed to Marcus via his phone: 320-905-0279.
 
On another note, our search for a new Executive Director continues on with applications being accepted until August 31.
 
https://www.servethecity.org/about/job-openings/
 
Please pray for our search committee and board to recognize the person God has raised up for this position. This a critical time for the Kingdom work God has for us to accomplish. More than ever, we need to pursue unity and health in Christ that leads to collaborative efforts of prayer, care, and share to win our city for Christ. 
 
Abiding in Christ,
 
Bob Westfall, Chairman
and your STC Board
UPDATED OPPORTUNITIES
Thursday, Aug 20, 2020
Chainsaw Training
Eight Days of Hope is doing chainsaw training. This is primarily to train folks to serve on their teams going out and cutting trees throughout the area. Beginner classes are on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:30pm at St. Mark’s. They need to call the hotline at 662.255.7565 to register.


Salvation Army
The Salvation Army needs volunteers. Major Halstrom needs people who specifically have these skills: Food service experienceCooking/culinary experienceEmotional and spiritual careIf churches or non-profits have these folks, have them contact the Salvation Army directly at 319.364.9131 or Alan.Hellstrom@usc.salvationarmy.org.

Southern Baptist Disaster Relief
Southern Baptist Disaster Relief has chainsaw teams in Cedar Rapids. Requests for Chainsaw Teams are being taken in the hallway between our buildings at Immanuel Baptist (1900 F Ave NW), or by email to modroperations@mobaptist.org or by phone at 319-360-4256. If requesting in person, please wear a mask and observe social distancing.

Linn Area Partners Active In Disaster (LAP-AID) – United Way
See the LAP-AID PDF for the latest information from the United Way of Eastern Iowa about volunteering, donations, shelters, and food resources.

Derecho Encouragement Video 8/19/20


Pastoral Reflections… (7/15/2020)

Church family,

Whether it’s love or foolishness, I try to stay abreast of  Covid-19 numbers. I try to listen to our denomination, civic leaders, and the people in our church family. Certainly what we’re facing is unprecedented, confusing, and often, sadly, polarizing. So how can we as Christ-followers at Cornerstone respond?

First, let’s be “slow to speak and quick to listen” and “rare to post and ready to learn.” If you take this stance, you’ll find differing scientific perspectives, political attitudes, and health situations. Just yesterday a friend of mine (who leans libertarian politically) had to cancel a planned visit with my family because his kids’ baseball seasons have been affected by Covid-19, and he didn’t want to ruin his kids’ seasons or their teams’ seasons by taking an unnecessary risk. I grieved the loss of seeing my friend, but I too didn’t want to be the accidental culprit that brought down baseball. :/

Second, let’s consider others’ needs greater than our own (Philippians 2:3-4). You may have few concerns or reasons to socially distance or wear a mask, but what if your neighbor (knowingly or not) has a health need or is caring for an ill or aging family member? What can you do to serve them, their needs, their concerns? And even if you aren’t convinced by some of the medical professionals weighing in on containment measures, how do you show concern for the mental and emotional concerns of those who think social distancing and masks are not optional? Likewise, if you know of a brother or sister who has grave concerns about government overreach or public panic, how can you show care and concern?

I’m struck by the Apostle Paul’s repeated admonitions to not let the church get pulled into arguments, to avoid provoking one another, but instead to serve one another in love (speaking of which, check out this week’s video encouragement: https://youtu.be/ABnmc1P2PW8). Christians unite around the good news of Jesus Christ. Christians engage in service to the poor and marginalized. Christians lay down their lives and livelihoods in service to King and Kingdom. To God be the glory, to God be the glory alone.

I love you friends; let’s serve one another in love, together.

In Christ,

Pastor Matt