Dear Faith Community Church Family,
On Sunday, I compared these last several months to being on a boat in unsettled waters, where each month (even each day) can feel like another huge, wearying wave coming at us. During this time, each one of us, to one degree or another, has battled the waves of hardship, loneliness, anxiety, and loss. We naturally ask, “When will it end?!”
We want the pandemic to be over (and understandably so!). We want to re-enter “normal” life. Though we wish it was a sprint, navigating COVID-19 is more akin to a marathon–for ourselves, our congregation, and our culture. As long as we are facing the ongoing threat of spreading serious illness, we have to take each day as it comes.
So what do we do when the last wave is not yet within site?
The only place we can turn, the only ship that will hold, is the powerful and preserving love of God. God’s love manifested itself through the sending of Jesus, the Father’s only Son, to redeem wayward sinners and to make them members of his family: “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are” (1 John 3:1). Ultimately, the strength and duration of the storm doesn’t matter, when the ship–call it the H.M.S. Love of God–is unsinkable.
When we know we are safe, then we are free to serve. How does God call Faith Community Church to respond when the bulk of the world is reacting out of fear, anger, and anxiety? We are called to respond by loving others. In our meeting this week, the elders reflected on Jesus’ words from Matthew 23:37-40: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Jesus says that this is what the Old Testament law was all about: loving our God and loving others. And, as we have seen in our study of 1 John, this is still what God is all about. We respond to his love for us with love for him and love for our neighbor. We do this by putting others’ needs and desires above our own in such a way that they are guided further along the path of becoming more like Christ. “Let each of you look not only to his own interests,” the Apostle Paul says, “but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4). Though we might have varying thoughts and opinions, for example, on how best to address the issues and questions related to the Coronavirus, or how and when we should gather as God’s people, our first calling is to put the needs and concerns of others at the top of our list.
As we move toward the fall months, there are three priorities that will be guiding the elders as we seek to be faithful in shepherding and leading our church during the continuing reality of the pandemic:
- FCC Vision and Goals: The session will continue to prayerfully plan and prepare for what the Lord has in store for our church for 2021 and beyond. As we move closer to this time, the elders will be keeping you updated and informed regarding this process related to our church’s vision and aims following Refocus 2020.
- Core Areas of Ministry: We remain committed to our calling to serve the Lord in the core ministry areas of worship, fellowship, discipleship, evangelism and outreach, and mercy. We ask that you would pray for the session as we seek to make decisions that will allow us to continue to be faithful in our calling as a church, but to do so safely during this time.
- Congregational Care: The elders desire to be especially purposeful in caring for our congregation and ensuring that our people are shepherded and cared for during COVID-19.
As we make decisions regarding meeting together and best practices during COVID-19, we will continue to use IDPH–in particular the IDPH “Guidance for Places of Worship” —and CDC guidelines as our standard for decision-making.
Please keep in mind the following announcements this week:
Memorial Service in Honor of Debby Juzwiak
Date and time: Saturday, August 1 at 11:00 am
Location: Faith Community Church and streaming online
In order to ensure the safety of those attending the service, seating will be limited to fifty in the Worship Center; additional seating for fifty will be available in the Mission Center with a live stream of the service provided. The memorial service will also be available via live stream online. We do ask that those attending the service would wear face masks and follow proper social distancing guidelines.
To watch the service live stream: Click Here
Following the service, the family invites you to attend an outdoor lunch on the west side of the church building. Boxed lunches will be served with shaded seating available.
RSVP: If you will be attending the service, we ask that you call our office administrator, Rosa Matos, at (630) 231-8230 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Outdoor Worship Service: Sunday, August 30 at 6:00 pm
On Sunday, August 30, we will hold an outdoor service of praise and worship, in addition to our regular Sunday morning services. This will be a time for us to come together and worship our Lord with music led by our worship director, Dave Wright. We will provide additional information for this service in the coming weeks.
This Sunday, July 26: Outdoor Fellowship Time (9:50-10:15 am).
We are thankful to resume a modified fellowship time between our two Sunday morning services (9:50am-10:15am) under the carport on the east side of the building. Once again, we ask that you continue to follow social distancing guidelines and to wear masks during the fellowship time. Prepackaged refreshments will be provided by the church.
Jerry Juzwiak and Don, Shannon, and Hannah Thompson: Continue to pray for Debby’s family as they grieve the loss of their beloved wife, mother, and grandmother.
Carissa Wetherington: Carissa will be moving to Black Hawk College in Galva, IL after church on Sunday. Please pray for protection in her commute and that she would find a solid church community in Galva.
I encourage you to prepare your hearts for communion this Sunday, when we gather as a unified people to partake in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. On Sunday, our text will be 1 John 3:4-10. I continue to be encouraged and grateful to our Lord for the perseverance that I see among you during these difficult times. Knowing that we are secure in God’s love, let’s press on in our calling to love and serve others.