“Our church is not closed, just our building“A. Stanley
I am so grateful to Pastor Andy Stanley for that simple little phrase, because it reminds us that our HTC family is made up of people, not bricks, mortar and a steeple; and we are very much ‘open for business’.
I have been receiving many encouraging emails and a few pictures of you all watching our first Virtual Service last Sunday. If you would like to, please feel free to take a picture of where you are watching from and send them to [email protected]. We’d love to put a little montage together for next week!
We have just finished filming this coming Sunday’s service, and because its the 3rd Sunday of the month we will be taking communion together as a church family; so please find some crackers or bread and a little juice so we can celebrate together. Parents this might be an excellent opportunity to talk to your children about the ‘why’ behind this sacrament.
I was reading something my friend J.John wrote recently,
‘that this present situation feels as though we have been mysteriously pushed through the doors of some magical wardrobe and now, in a state of severe bewilderment, find ourselves gazing around a strange, unwelcoming landscape’.
It is definitely not C.S. Lewis’s Narnia; this hostile desert is much more alien and daunting. Yet the door is closed behind us and, to use the old words of the King James Bible, you and I find ourselves ‘strangers in a strange land’ (Exodus 2:22). What we face is threatening and even frightening. Nevertheless, I want to comfort you with the fact that many of the followers of Jesus have trod this path before.
Although we find the present COVID-19 pandemic unusual, it’s worth remembering that if you look back over history it was a rare generation that didn’t have to grapple with such things as the Black Death, plague, cholera, Spanish Flu or the like. Other men and women of faith have crossed this discouraging landscape before us. As men, women and children of faith, we should take great comfort from this.
Let’s learn the first few lines of what is the best known of all Welsh hymns,
‘Guide me, O thou great Redeemer, Pilgrim through this barren land; I am weak, but thou art mighty; Hold me with thy powerful hand.’
Here we have the greatest of encouragements. As we travel through this difficult time, we, who have put our faith in Christ, know that he travels alongside us. Jesus is Emmanuel, the one who is ‘God with us’ (Matthew 1:23). And in our harsh new world, that is the greatest comfort of all.
HTC Vision during this time:
Many have been asking what our response as a church is going to be. I have a computer screen filled with numerous helpful suggestions and great ideas. In praying this week I had a real sense that we should first and foremost be caring for our Jerusalem (our HTC Family, our own family, friends and immediate neighbors), then in the weeks ahead add ministry to our Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth.
What to do next:
1. Virtual Service: Our first response as a church will continue to be focussed on worship, prayer. and care. Please join us for our Virtual Service each Sunday at www.htc.us.
2. Small Groups: Stay connected to your Small Group or Bible Study Group, or reach out to [email protected]
3. Resources: At www.htc.us you will also find the latest resources our local community is offering.
4. Outreach: We want to connect those in our HTC community who can help, with people who need our help. Keep a look out on the website for opportunities to serve, or contact [email protected]
5. Prayer: Please let us know how we can be praying for you, our pastoral and prayer teams are here for you through a call or Skype, FaceTime or Zoom one on one’s. Just email us at [email protected] or call our Pastoral Care Line (703) 493-0091 to request a call.
6. Follow HTC on Facebook, Instagram or follow Pastor D’s Twitter feed: @RevDRusty
7. Provision: We still need your financial support so please donate through the website, or drop an envelope off in the secure black mail box at the front of church. We are also looking at ways we can help those who have need.
With great affection for all of you,