Pastors read Christ's Passion story from the Gospel of Matthew 26:14-27:66. Originally read for Palm/ Passion Sunday, April 5th. Pastors reading in order: Rev. John Barton at Faith LC, Menifee. Rev. Julie Kelly at Hope LC, Riverside. Rev. Lara Martin at Good Shepherd LC, Claremont. Rev. Darryl Kozak at Peace LC, Corona. Rev. Kent Tuohino at Trinity LC, Riverside. Rev. Linda Vogelgesang at Trinity LC, Hemet.
Rev. Linda Brown at Eden LC, Riverside.
Click on the link below to download a copy of this week's online service:
Message from Pastor John Barton
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
Siblings in Christ, grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,
Sooo… there have been several changes here at Faith Lutheran Church. Brandi Sobek submitted her resignation as our Office Administrator, effective March 13th. As such, Joanne McGavran, other volunteers, and I will be covering the office duties including periodically checking and responding to the church phone’s voicemails and emails sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Furthermore, I write to you now in the midst of delicate times, times where the coronavirus has caused much concern and pause for reflection. I will get right down to it and let you know that regretfully, effective immediately, all activities held at the church premises will be postponed through May 31st as a part of precautionary social distancing. This includes Sunday services. We will wait until we can gather again, welcoming everyone back with Easter on a new date, in effect moving Easter to that new date. We will not let the virus or the fear it has caused stop us from celebrating our Lord’s Resurrection and God’s gift of New Life. Though it may seem strange to move Easter, it is in fact normal since Holy Week changes each year! We will simply celebrate Easter in our own unique way.
Through conversations from Sunday 3/15 and Monday 3/16, the decision to suspend activities and worship at the church was made by unanimous vote by the Church Council and myself for the purpose of protecting the health of individual congregation members, the congregation as a whole, and our community at large. The decision was made using the information and recommendations of two sources. 1) Our secular leadership from our state’s governor as well as the national leadership of the CDC (Center for Disease Control). 2) Our denominational leadership from our synod’s Bishop- Andy Taylor and from the ELCA churchwide guidance headed by Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton. All of these sources encourage precautionary measures, especially for vulnerable populations, including suspending in-person interaction through social distancing. The Church Council and I chose to follow these recommendations because many of our congregants fall within the vulnerable population category given age and preexisting conditions.
So now that we have the parts of “what’s going on” and “why” taken care of, let us turn to “what we will do now” with this time away from the church building:
For my part as Pastor, I will not be idle during this time either. I will be available by phone for “remote office hours” Sunday- Thursday from 9am-5pm at (949)258-3452 for pastoral care. Please text or call and if I don’t answer, please leave a message with your name, phone number, and pastoral care concern so I can get back to you as soon as possible. For correspondence unrelated to pastoral care, please call the church number at (951) 679-1518. And, in place of worship services, I will be creating a streamlined version of our worship service including prayers, scripture readings, and a sermon. This service will be posted on the church website faithmenifee.com. For those without access to a computer who would like to have these materials printed and mailed to you instead of accessing them online, please call the church and make that request.
I have some requests of you as a congregation. First and foremost, stay united and stay faithful in one another and in our God. There are several ways I would encourage you all to do these things. For staying united and connected together, work your way through the church directory and call a couple of people a day. Pray together, worship together, check-in with one another- whatever you both would like to do, but reach out. Then reach out to other people the next day, moving your way through the congregation and directory to weave a tapestry of relationship with intentional work to stay connected. And through all of these conversations, keep me informed of any pressing prayer concerns or other needs that should come to my attention. I want to continue to care for all of you, my congregation, even if it is from a distance. Furthermore, please please please reach out if you need help. In an emergency, of course, call the proper authorities, but if you need assistance or food or supplies and are able and willing to have someone come and help you, we can work to coordinate with volunteers.
To that end, let us not forget our outreach to the Menifee Community Cupboard with our food donations. If you are able, please bring donations you would normally take to the church to the Cupboard’s address at 26808 Cherry Hills Blvd, Menifee, CA 92586. Perhaps call ahead to make sure they will be open, how to safely and healthily donate, and if they are asking for anything specific. Their number is (951) 301-4414. Our generosity will be a big help to our neighbors who need it.
As for staying faithful to God, you already have a good start by staying connected and continuing to love God’s children. Beyond that, lean into Lenten practices or other spiritual practices, habits, and routines to stay connected to God too. Study your Bible, pray to God, listen to inspirational music. Do whatever you can to find where God is sending uplifting and encouraging words to fuel and sustain you through these troubling times. God is our safe place. God is who gives us the will to get through hard times and is always there to help us through those times. God is with us always and in all ways. This is most certainly true.
My final request is a financial one. When (not if) we reach the other side of this storm, we will have done so through God's guidance and your continued financial support and generosity. To say more on this here are a few words from Mike McGavran, our head of the Finance Committee:
The Church Council has decided that we as a congregation should continue to pay our staff. There will be work that can and needs to be done even when the Church is officially closed, and our bills will still need to be paid.
Please continue your faithful support by using your bank’s Bill Pay system (use your name as the “account number” or the memo line), or by mailing your offerings to the church.
Faith Lutheran Church
28200 Portsmouth Dr
Sun City, CA 92586
We’ll see that they are put to good use!
So until we see each other again in person: May the Lord bless you and keep you; may the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; may the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.
Yours in Christ,
Pastor John Barton
After May 31st:
We gather for worship each Sunday morning at 9:30 am for a traditional service of worship, that includes a Liturgy of Praise, Hymns, Choir and the sharing of the Sacrament of Holy Communion. From September to May we have Sunday School available for all children.
Following worship, we gather for a time of Fellowship, coffee and light breakfast foods.
Come and join in the Fellowship!
As always, please invite your neighbors, family members, and friends to join us. All are welcome!
Upcoming Events for Faith:
Prayer and worship at home
28200 Portsmouth Dr, Menifee, CA 92586, US
08:30 am – 01:00 pm