Vineyard Notes from Pastor Jimmy--Regathering Indoor and Youth Pastor News--Feb. 10 21

February 10, 2020


Dear Vineyard Family and Friends,

I pray that you and your family are experiencing emotional, physical, and spiritual health.

I cannot believe that it has been close to 11 months since our “normal” was disrupted. At times it might feel like we all aged a decade in this one year. Everyone has been affected. We can see how young school-aged children, teenagers, young adults, parents, and older adults all have experienced this unnatural season together. Just this morning, our little 5-year-old Jada asked, “How long did the virus last when you were kids?”  She is trying to make sense of when it will all be over since she can’t wait to go to school and make friends.

In the midst of isolation, depression, and anxiety I want to share that you are not alone. We are in this together.  1 Peter 3:8 says, “...all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.”  We are one body. We are one family. We are called to flow in love and in unity in the midst of a world that is filled with division and animosity.

Together with the church staff we have sought the Lord for wisdom in balancing our safety, our witness, and our call to congregate as community. It has morphed and looked different over the past year and now we are preparing to make another change soon.

We are getting ready to resume Sunday morning indoor worship services on February 21st, at 11 AM.  

Last Saturday, public health specialist Dr. Danielle Walker and her husband Joey (who is the Compassion Pastor at the Anaheim Vineyard) walked through our facility.  They were both impressed with the thought and care for safety and the protocols we have in place.  Dr. Danielle gave us a thorough analysis of the survey we took as a congregation.  We will share that with you in the next few weeks with next action steps to continue blessing the valley.  Joey also talked about getting some pallets of food to us to help with our Pop-up Foody Pantry.  I am so grateful that both of them have given of their time and talents to bless us without seeking any compensation. They are a blessing because, honestly, it has been hard to trust a lot of information and they have the perfect blend of authority in public health and a love of the Church.

We will have the same guidelines we had in place when we gathered that one time last year (please read all of them carefully):
•Use of face coverings will be required while it continues to be a requirement in California and/or Los Angeles County.
•Physical distancing of 6 feet with no handshaking or hugging others.  For seating, we will take out every other row in the sanctuary and we will ask people to sit three empty chairs away from the next person (or family).
•We will have touchless hand sanitizer dispensers at entrances and other contact areas.
•We will have three tithe/offering boxes in the sanctuary to deposit your contribution before or after the service.
•We will have our main entrance by the parking lot available for entry only and then have an exit only area on the south side of the building (at the end of the hallways that run north and south).
•We will not have coffee or baked goods available.
•We will not have Sunday children’s or youth programs for the foreseeable future.  All family members will be asked to sit together in the service.
•We ask that everyone who is sick and/or vulnerable stay home.
•We will be thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting our meeting areas before and after every service.  We will ask people not to linger in the building so that we can get that done.
•We encourage people to check their temperature, wash their hands, and use the restroom at home before attending the service.
•Our service is limited to 25% of our sanctuary capacity.  Only people who have registered will be able to join our time of worship to make sure we are compliant with our maximum occupation limit.  To register for the service, visit: vvinfo.org/rsvp.  Unfortunately, for the foreseeable future we have to register every week.
•Plan on arriving by 10:45 AM.   We will begin the service at 11 AM sharp since we will be broadcasting live on YouTube, Facebook, and through our church app.

If you don’t feel comfortable meeting with others, it is okay.  We will continue our online live services.  We are starting our indoor services in a time when Covid cases and hospitalizations are in decline.  However, this will be a fluid situation. If people are infected in our community, we would have to cancel, and we are also keeping an eye on the numbers of the UK variant which has cases in California.

The other news we want to let you know is that Johnny Mendoza our youth pastor is being led by the Lord to move to Austin, Texas, in March.  He will continue through the end of February and then Damon Agapiou will step in as the interim youth pastor until we find our next youth pastor.  We are grateful that Damon is stepping up to fill the gap.  We are committed to providing a great experience for our youth since we value the next generations and our call to grow as an intercultural community.

During the service on Sunday, February 28th, we will pray over and bless Johnny as he begins this new adventure in his life.  We will truly miss his passion for God and to see the next generations empowered to make a difference.  We are grateful for all that he deposited into the youth group and the rest of the congregation.  You can watch the video he sent out to the youth here: Johnny's Video

Very seldomly do people enjoy change.  It is not always easy.  But we are all are products of change and the choices we’ve made in times of change.  This past year has shown us that God is present and unchangeable in the midst of a changing world.  

I leave you with a motto we have adopted in this season.

Stay calm, stay connected, stay the course,

Jimmy Reyes
Lead Pastor

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