Dear FPCSA Family & Friends,
“Re-Open Churches!” We hear the battle cry from many here in our state. But when people say this to me, I say, “The Church never closed.” Yeah sure, the buildings are closed. But the Church is so much more than a building made of brick and mortar, wood and stone. The true Church is the body of believers who both gather together to worship and fellowship as well as go forth to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ and serve in our community. The Church was never meant to be confined to cathedrals; the Church is meant to spill out into the streets.
Because I have heard this call to arms, “Re-Open the Church!” so many times, I feel compelled to address this concern in a summer sermon series titled, “Beyond These Walls.” Follow the link below to see a short promotional clip for that series (you’ll also see the church building from a different perspective). Forward the link to friends who might be interested. The link leads to our FPCSantaAna facebook page where our Sunday services are live-streamed every Sunday at 10A.
The series will seek to answer the question, “What does it mean to be the Church ‘Beyond These Walls’?” Sunday’s message is titled, “I Will Build My Church.” This topic is even more pertinent in this time of COVID-19.
And speaking of COVID-19, some of you are asking the question, “When will FPCSA re-open?” We’ve been going by the CDC’s recommendation that when numbers decline 3 weeks in a row, then we will look to re-open. As I’ve mentioned in the past, we are not concerned with the number of cases, as the number of tests rise, so do the number of cases. We’re watching the hospitalizations. That is the most accurate number to discern if the infection rate is on the rise or on the decline. I’ve been monitoring the number of hospitalizations in Orange County every day for the past two months. About a month ago, I was saying we were about to cross the 200 hospitalizations threshold. That was a month ago. We are currently hovering around 350. Even though many businesses are reopening, the number of serious infections continues to rise.
Because our church family includes a higher number of vulnerable people (those over 60 and Latinos), we are cautious. No life is worth the risk of re-opening too soon. Your session has approved a survey put together by our COVID-19 Task Force. We are in the process of translating that to Spanish and then it will be sent via a special email. The purpose of the survey is to see where our members and friends are in regard to comfort level returning to our campus. In the meantime, we encourage you to connect via the Sunday Livestream on our Facebook page and in one of the many ways to connect via zoom. Heck, pick up the phone and call each other. Some have told me they’ve gotten to know people, with whom they’ve been acquainted for years, on a whole new level. Give a call!
In all of these circumstances, be reminded by the word of God: Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:39) Be safe. Remain in the arms of God. Be at peace.
In Christ’s Love & Service,
Rev. Dr. Lance E. Allen, D. Min
First Presbyterian Church Santa Ana
An Intentional Intercultural Intergenerational Church Family