Pastors’ Update 07-31-2020
Hi Everyone and Happy Sabbath!
The Sabbath rest we get each week gives us an opportunity to stop, reflect, and think about all the positives of God’s calling and His plan for all of mankind. As Paul wrote in Philippians 4:6-8, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses understanding, will guard your hearts, and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.”
The news in the world around us these days is not very encouraging. However, we have a choice about how we will respond and think about what is most important. Let’s never forget we are first of all Christians in an increasingly evil and faithless world. As Paul also wrote to the Galatians, “Grace and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever.” (Gal. 1:3-5)
Most of the states have now rolled back openings and ordered additional restrictions in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus. Please continue to pray for one another and that this virus will be contained soon!
Several governors have rolled back business and event openings, including state parks, bars, and inside dining at restaurants for the near future. Most states now require wearing face coverings in public. Additionally, The governor of California ordered that all “houses of worship” not meet for in-person services, in most of California’s 58 counties. This includes nearly 90% of the state’s population. Shasta County is one of those counties that are exempt from the order. So, we will continue to have in-person Sabbath services in Anderson. However, our congregations in LA and Bakersfield will no longer be permitted to hold in-person services.
We will also not have in-person Sabbath services in Sacramento or Stockton. The governor’s latest order regarding “houses of worship” not meeting in-person applies to all churches in most of the State’s 58 counties. Additionally, we are unable to use city-owned and managed rental halls in both Citrus Heights and Lodi. They are currently closed to the public.
We will continue to abide by the restrictions and guidelines of the State, Counties and Cities where we hold services. The Governors of California and Nevada issued an order requiring everyone to wear masks when in public or in an enclosed building with others. This order applies to those planning to attend Sabbath services. Please see the statement below concerning all COGWA congregations and the wearing of masks.
The CDC has also reported one of the ways the virus is spread more rapidly is by being in a group where there is loud speaking (like bars and restaurants), shouting (like protests and sporting events), and singing (like churches), especially without wearing a mask. The spreading of the virus is increased when attendees breath in the “aerosol” of others in the air over a longer period of time, especially in a confined space. Based on this research, and in an attempt to be very cautious to prevent the spread of the virus, we will not be singing hymns in Sabbath services. We will play an opening hymn to remind everyone to sit down and prepare for the service. But, we will not sing along with the hymn in our meeting hall during services. The Governor of California has issued an order that churches should suspend singing in worship services. Again, we will comply with this temporary order. (Romans 13:1-2)
If any of us are concerned about the restrictions, guidelines, or our personal/family health issues (including age and/or pre-existing conditions), we should not feel we have to physically attend. That is a personal choice. We will continue to make a webcast of Sabbath services available for anyone wishing to observe the Sabbath at home.
If you decide to attend the Redding or Reno congregation, we ask that you wear a mask/face covering, maintain social distancing, and wash your hands regularly (basic CDC guidelines). Please bring your own water bottle or beverage container since we will not be serving beverages or snacks.