Pastoral Letter from Keith Paulus on April 22, 2020

Pastoral Letter from Keith Paulus on April 22, 2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am writing to update you on a few matters related to the church. One of the most important matters has to do with when and how we will be able to meet together again in person. The elders are in agreement that we will continue at this time to adhere to the local health guidelines, which for now means we will honor the decision to not congregate before May 15. The church staff and leadership are also working to make sure we have clear criteria and structures in place that will allow us to safely resume some or all of our public gatherings as soon as possible. 

Growing as Disciples

Despite this ongoing situation, the work of gospel ministry at CCNYC presses forward and the work of discipleship continues. As a reminder, here are the current structures for ministry that have been put in place. If you need information on how to get connected with any of these, please let me know.

  1. Weekly sermons, family worship bulletins, and Bible study questions are being put on the website. On Sunday mornings, I am currently leading us through a study of what the Bible says about the subject of hope. 
  2. Sunday morning Sunday School class for children beginning at 9:40 AM.
  3. Noontime online prayer meeting Monday through Saturday. 
  4. Evening prayer on your own or in small groups at 8:30 PM every night. 
  5. Weekly online community groups for prayer, study, and encouragement. 
  6. Some people in the church have also made time to do a book reading together or are just meeting together online as a small group for coffee.
  7. Short Bible devotionals emailed to you.

We will also be expanding our weekly Hymn Sings beginning this Sunday, April 26. In addition to meeting together online to sing hymns and hear the Bible read, I will also be providing a short Bible reflection every Sunday evening beginning this Sunday. I will be focusing on Psalms 90-100, which is a section of the Psalter that helps us to reflect more deeply on the sovereign and righteous reign of God over this world. I actually did a sermon on Psalm 90 a few weeks back, so we will begin this Sunday with Psalm 91. I hope you will join in and invite others to do the same… it’s a great opportunity to sing some Christian hymns while also seeing each other’s faces. The start time of 4:30 PM will remain the same, but we will now end closer to 5:15 PM. 

Mercy and Compassion

This is a difficult time for so many people – including many people within our church. Some of you, in fact, have recently experienced tremendous grief and hurt. The Bible exhorts us to weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15). And so we continue to pray for each other and weep with each other.

Additionally, I have had several people ask me about compassion/benevolence resources for those in financial need within the church. Thanks be to God, we do have some financial resources to assist those in need. Thus, if you are currently experiencing financial challenges, please do let me know. Also, further hardships are bound to happen, both among our people, and those we will be connected to who are not Christians but need a helping hand. Let’s be on the lookout for how we can love and serve others both inside and outside the church.

Along those lines, the church Council last week approved a contribution of $3,000 to Hope for New York and its affiliates that will go to emergency relief needs. Also, as a reminder, there are lots of ways to be serving through Hope for New York – you can find them here – For example, I know of at least a couple of families at CCNYC that have been making greeting cards for residents in the city’s nursing homes. 

Finally, attached are some photographs from the Martin family (Thomas, Bethany, and Owen) as they sought to spread good news and joy (even to Clara!) during the Easter season. Please continue to send in any photographs and encouraging ways you’ve seen God at work. 

Blessings in Christ,
Keith Paulus