I greet each of you in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Let’s get right to the point in regards to subjects that concern us.
If God wills, we are preparing for two Worship Celebrations on the 1st Sunday of June (June 6th): The North Campus at 9:00 am and South Campus at 11:00 am. We envision each Worship Celebration being about 1 hour and 15 minutes, so we encourage everyone to arrive at least 10 minutes beforehand. Temperatures will be checked upon entering, social distancing will be applied where people shall sit and walk, wearing masks will be strongly encouraged, restroom use will be restricted to 2-4 people at a time (depending on the size of the restroom) and other safety protocols (such as no congregating after Services) will be applied that our county suggests. Be aware that Covid-19 is allegedly a virus that is mainly transferred from people to people. Studies indicate that the virus does not usually spread from objects or surfaces after 3 days which is why the various suggestions that people are making regarding professional sanitizing are not necessary or required by our county. For instance, if we were having two Worship Celebrations in the same sanctuary on the same day, then the sanctuary would need to be sanitized in between Services.
People who are covered by Jesus’ blood, vaccinated, and wearing a mask have nothing realistically and rationally to worry about. Each of us should make intelligent decisions and comments based on facts rather than what we suppose or heard someone else say. As I stated last Thursday, we do not know if we will ever live in a world as safe as it was before the pandemic, but we are living in a world where it is safer in California than it has been for the last 14 months which is why California is scheduled to reopen on June 15th.
On last Thursday, I shared a Scripture recorded in Hebrews 10:25 (ESV) which reads: “Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” The church in those days was experiencing persecution (people were often murdered for going to church) among other reasons not to assemble for worship, but the writer of Hebrews informed them that their reason for neglecting corporate worship was inexcusable. The persecution of death is worse than Covid-19. Since the excuse for not going to church in those days due to fear of being murdered was inexcusable, how will we justify before God neglecting corporate worship because of the Coronavirus when it is now safer to assemble together? How will we justify before God neglecting corporate worship because of the Coronavirus yet we are public in other places? Some people fear the Coronavirus more than they fear God. As believers, our faith is being put to test, and we either believe God’s word or we don’t. Here are some Scriptures to embrace:
Isaiah 54:17a: “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper….”
2 Timothy 1:7: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
1 John 4:4b: “Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”
Revelation 2:10b: “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”
THE LORD’S SUPPER
If God wills, we shall partake in The Lord’s Supper online on the 1st Sunday of June (June 6th) at 7 pm. I do not feel divinely led to officiate Communion in-person yet. I am happy about the next scheduled time because my preference has always been to serve the Lord’s Supper in the evening since this was when Jesus officiated it in the Upper Room with his 12 disciples. To participate, each believer will need some bread or a cracker, and each believer will need some grape juice (or something similar). For more information, you may visit our website (sjmbc.org).
If God wills, beginning Wednesday, June 9th, our Sunday School curriculum will be taught each Wednesday evening at 7 pm after Prayer (6:30-7:00 pm). This means that all classes that are currently meeting Sunday mornings will convene online Wednesday evenings. This also means that the last online Sunday School will be Sunday, May 30th.
I realize that this is not great news for some because many enjoy our online Sunday School having many options every Sunday. However, we must realize that we cannot continue to have online Sunday School on Sunday mornings and in-person worship simultaneously. How can people meet online for a Sunday School class while their Sunday School teacher is at the North Campus and/or South Campus worshiping God?
Because I do not feel divinely led at this point for us to have in-person Sunday School as we did prior to the pandemic, the next best option is to study online these lessons (as we have been doing on Sunday mornings) Wednesdays at 7 pm. Meeting on Wednesdays instead of Sundays means that we will probably change the name (which makes sense) from Sunday School to Church School. We must recognize that the pandemic has caused churches to make some adjustments, so we need to avoid complaining and being negative about certain changes. Interestingly, some of the same people who complained about having online Sunday School 14 months ago are now complaining about having to change the time from Sunday mornings to Wednesday evenings. Remember, Philippians 2:14 (ESV) says: “Do all things without grumbling or disputing.”
If God wills, Contra Costa County will again utilize our North Campus to administer the 2nd dosage of the Pfizer vaccine (9:00 am to 4:00 pm) on Saturday (May 29th), Tuesday (June 1st), and Wednesday (June 2nd). We need volunteers to serve (9:00 am to 12:30 pm or 12:30 pm to 4:00 pm) as greeters and parking attendants, so let’s sign up online if available and interested (sjmbc.org).
IT’S BLESSING TIME!
We thank so many of you who have been supporting St. John financially, especially in the last 14 months. With everything that we are doing and trying to do, your financial contributions are needed. We currently give by mailing or dropping off our Tithes and Offerings to our St. John South Campus (662 South 52nd Street—Richmond, CA 94804) or by giving online through our website (sjmbc.org). If you are a member of St. John who is financially able but not supporting our church financially, allow God to bless you with more by giving today your Tithes and Offerings.
May God bless and sustain each of us.
Your Servant In Christ,
Dr. Kevin B. Hall, Pastor