COVID Update: Letter from Pastor Rochelle December 9, 2020
Dear Paradise Valley Church family.
Yesterday, most of us received an emergency alert warning us that the long-feared COVID surge has now hit our area. Last night, our church board met to discuss our strategy for church services for this next month. After significant and prayerful consideration, and in recognition of the enormous strain on our health care system and professionals, our board voted to move to online-only services for this upcoming month.
We know this is an incredibly difficult time. I know I personally so appreciated the ability we had to gather for outdoor church since August. For so many of us, these past few months of in-person connection have been such a blessing.
From the beginning of this pandemic, however, we have had a firm commitment to loving our neighbors well, and doing what we could to help and not harm. Last night, after listening to some of the health care professionals on our team share the seriousness of our current situation, and how difficult it currently is for so many medical professionals, we felt this would be the best way we could support the work of all those on the frontlines of this crisis.
I have been so moved by the courage, strength, compassion, faith and resilience of this church family. We have faced unprecedented challenges this past year. Yet I have witnessed such acts of love and faithfulness. You have reached out to each other in prayer. You have prepared food for thousands of people that have come through our food pantry over the past few months. Your creativity in findings ways to connect and support each other have been truly inspiring.
Although we won’t be able to meet in person for the next few weeks, our commitment to supporting and caring for each other remains as firm as ever. Our leadership team and elders have created “care groups”, and will be calling to check in with you as a church family. We have also set up a new phone system at our church office, with a dedicated line for prayer requests. If you have a prayer request you would like us to pray for, just call our office at (619) 267 8990, press 4, and leave a message. For the latest updates and events, you can also call the office at (619) 267 8990 and press 3. And, as always, feel free to connect with any one of us as pastors directly by phone or email as well.
This Christmas, so much will have changed. But, as we’ve said before, there are things that remain the same. God’s love for us has not changed. God’s power, providence, and promises have not shifted. I think of the promise of Isaiah 9:
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
This Christmas, let us remember the great light that has been given. I pray that as we hunker down these next few weeks, we remember that no matter who we are, where we worship, what our background is, we are not alone. For this is the incredible news of Christmas – God is with us.
Blessings, Paradise Valley church family, and we will see you, online, this Sabbath.