JOURNEY CHURCH Response to NOVEL COVID-19
SUMMARY: COUNTY HEALTH OFFICER HAS ISSUED AN ORDER EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY THROUGH 3-31-2020 RESTRICTING ANY PUBLIC OR PRIVATE GATHERING OF ANY SIZE. ALL SCHEDULED GATHERINGS AT JOURNEY ARE CANCELLED DURING THIS TIME FRAME. AN ON-LINE ONLY SERVICE WILL STILL BE PROVIDED ON SUNDAY AT 9:15 THROUGH FACEBOOK.
Journey Family and Friends,
Thank you for checking back for updates! Today Orange County Health Officer Dr. Nichole Quick issued an Order to protect the health and well-being of us all. This Order changes the recommendation to gather in groups no larger than 10 to an order to not gather at all, publicly or privately, beyond family/household units. So we are cancelling all gatherings scheduled in March. There are exclusions provided for “Essential Activities”, and we will still be able to provide an online service as we did last Sunday. However, this will not be open for attendance. The service will be accessible as it was last Sunday through a link here on the website.
Journey staff will be working remotely from their homes, with calls to the office being rerouted. Pastors can be reached through email and by phone. Staff emails are formatted as follows: (first name)@journeyoc.com. Example: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We want to thank all those who participated in the live-streamed service last Sunday. Our plan is to develop a new interactive format for the service this week, so that viewers can interact with each other as well as with Pastor Steve during the teaching time. Even though we are socially distanced, our goal is to remain relationally connected. Here’s how:
- Student Ministries will be providing online content for Jr. High and High School students, as well as connecting with students through electronic means.
- Children’s Ministry is providing online access to weekly teaching videos, with discussion guides emailed to parents and age-appropriate Activity Pages available for pickup at the church campus on Friday and Saturday (see below).
- Small Groups can still meet in virtual gatherings through Zoom, as well as staying connected to each other through phone calls, texts, and emails. We are working to equip Small Group Leaders with the technology to facilitate these online groups and hope to have it in place this week.
- Drive-by worship-at-home supply booth will be set up at the front doors of the church building this weekend. Check your email for more details.
- Reach out to those you know who are at high-risk for COVID-19. Journey staff has identified over 60 Journey attendees who are in this category and contacted them all by personal phone call today. However, we may have missed somebody. Let’s care for and protect the most vulnerable to this pandemic by checking in on them, offering to run errands, sending a card of encouragement, and helping them feel less isolated and alone. That’s what love does.
- Remember to support Journey Church financially. Many people are experiencing their hours at work being cut, or their investment income declining, or even the loss of their jobs. We understand how difficult that is and don’t want to put further pressure on anyone who has to reduce their financial support of Journey’s ministry. We are trusting God to provide through whatever means He chooses to keep this ministry funded. If you have the means and are so led, we are grateful for you helping close the gap. You can give online through the GIVE tab of this website, or text-to-give at 949-484-4570.
The instructions of the Apostle Paul to the Christ-followers at Philippi are so appropriate to the crisis we are facing. He wrote, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:4-8
We don’t face these devastating circumstances with blind optimism—these are hard realities requiring sober judgement and decisive action. At the same time, we must not abandon hope, for we know that God is bigger than COVID-19, this has not taken Him by surprise, and He will bring good from it in the long run. In the end, love wins.
Please keep checking back here for updates, and continue practicing good personal hygiene. TIP: Saying the Lord’s Prayer as you wash your hands not only serves as a great timer, it also deepens your connection to God.
SUMMARY: ONLY ONE SERVICE THIS SUNDAY AT THE BUILDING AT 9:15. NO CHILDREN’S PROGRAMMING OR STUDENT PROGRAMMING. LIVE-STREAM SERVICE AVAILABLE ON JOURNEY FACEBOOK PAGE.
Dear Journey Family and Friends,
With the ever-changing scenario we are doing our best to respond and find ways to care for and serve you. Due to the announcement today of the closure of all IUSD schools effective March 16, with an anticipated return date of April 4, we are canceling all children’s and student events for the next two weeks (at which point we will evaluate our next steps). THIS INCLUDES OUR CHILDREN’S PROGRAMMING AND STUDENT PROGRAMMING ON SUNDAY AS WELL.
Children’s Pastor Jenny Haseth will be providing resources for families to use from home. For the Children’s Ministry resources, please contact Jenny@journeyoc.com to get the login information to access each week’s video Bible lesson and Activity Sheet. Our hope is that you can use this time of social distancing to deepen the bonds of your family as you spend time together in God’s Word.
So if you are WELL, not in a high at-risk category, not living with someone in the high-risk category, and desire to be in a worship community this Sunday, you are welcome to come to our ONE SERVICE at 9:15.
Thanks to the quick response tech team led by Pastor Jeromy, we have established live-streaming capability. You can watch the service live on Sunday at 9:15 am. on our Facebook page, and it will be available until 1:00 pm. There will be a link on the Journey website’s homepage that will take your directly to the livestream. You will not have to have a Facebook account to view it. A video of the message-only will be posted as usual on the website “Watch” page.
And with the President’s declaration today designating this Sunday, March 15, as a National Day of Prayer, part of the service will be devoted to extended prayer. You can pray with us, whether in person or from your home. Various men and women will be leading in prayer as we together look to God as our source of love, wisdom, and strength in this time of challenge.
Please stay connected by checking this website, checking your email, and checking in with your small group members as you care for each other and reach out together to serve the needs in your neighborhood and community that God brings your way. We’re better together!
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea…The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.”–Psalm 46:1-2, 7
March 12, 2020
Dear Journey Family and Friends,
You are loved by God immensely, so that you can love Him and love others as you have been loved.
That’s the ground zero of our life together on this planet, and I wanted to set it as the context for communicating to you Journey’s current response to the threat of NOVEL COVID-19 (aka the Coronavirus).
The health and safety of every person who walks on our campus continues to be a top priority for Journey. Our response is being guided by information from the CDC, WHO, CDPH, OCHCA, and medical professionals within our congregation. We are carefully monitoring the evolving situation and will continue to take a proactive approach to keep our community healthy and help slow the spread of the virus.
Epidemiologists say 80% of those who contract this virus will be mild cases, with children being the least likely to experience severe illness. Those 60 years of age and older, and anyone with an underlying medical condition, are at high risk of severe illness and hospitalization. We want to do everything possible to protect those within our congregation, as well as others we care for and interact with outside of Journey who are at high risk of contracting a severe case of the virus.
Our response is guided by three objectives:
- to proactively do everything possible to provide a sanitary, safe environment for worship and teaching;
- to face this threat as a faith community with reliance upon Jesus and each other, seeking to protect the most vulnerable and serve others around us;
- To offer hope and peace to those who are fearful, as well as assistance to those who are incapacitated by the illness.
The strategy we are currently adopting is “pre-emptive social distancing and enhanced hygiene”. The objective is to slow the transmission of the disease. Social distancing reduces the number of contacts each person makes. Hygiene measures reduce the risk of transmission if a contact occurs. So, here are the new measures we are encouraging and implementing:
Governor Newsom urged that gatherings in California of 250 people or more be postponed or cancelled. Our typical Sunday auditorium numbers are under that threshold. For groups our size, the CDPH (https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/CDPH%20Document%20Library/Gathering_Guidance_03.11.20.pdf) urges that social distancing of 6 feet per person be implemented, and that those who are at higher risk for severe risk from COVID-19 not participate.
So we are urging EVERYONE OVER THE AGE OF 65, as well as all those of any age with
underlying health conditions, to watch Sunday’s service from home rather than attend in person.
“So Why have a service at all?” In times of anxiety, fear, and even panic, there is comfort and healing in community. So we will be offering a more contemplative service this Sunday to provide time to pray together, participate in the Lord’s Supper together, and offer words of encouragement and hope for times such as these.
We don’t know what will happen next—we’ve never been here before. We do know this—Jesus is with us and will bring us through. The service will focus upon “Finding Peace in the Midst of a Storm”.
So if you are WELL, not in a high at-risk category, and desire to be in a worship community this Sunday, you are welcome to come to one of our services offered at 9:15 and 11:00 a.m. We have spaced the seating at 6-foot intervals, including the balcony. Children’s programming will be offered at both services, and our student ministries (Junior High and High School) will meet at the 11:00 hour as usual.
Here are the measures we are taking for Sunday:
In our facility we are cleansing and disinfecting high touch surface areas and doorknobs before each service, as well as posting hand washing signs in every bathroom. Air ventilation is recommended, so our circulation system (with new anti-germ filters) will be running in all areas of the building, with windows being open as weather permits. Sneeze and cough etiquette will also be posted.
In food services we are discontinuing the offering of coffee, tea, and snacks for the time being. Water will of course be available. Please feel free to bring your own hot beverages to the service.
In support of your personal health and hygiene we are asking everyone to please the hand sanitization station at the front doors as you enter the building. Personal tissue packs will also be available in the lobby. Also, please refrain from shaking hands, and instead just smile and greet one another verbally.
In the communion service we will discontinue the passing of the bread and cup. Instead, individual prefilled “communion kits” will be passed out by gloved ushers as you enter the sanctuary. Please hold onto these until we begin the communion time, when instruction for use will be given. Seating will also be spaced with wider gaps for social distancing. This may feel awkward at first, but will really help to protect everyone.
As we follow the directives of trusted health authorities, we ask that you join us in the following:
Pray. Prayer is powerful, and God is our perfect source of comfort and care. Join us in praying for the people and regions affected, and for the protection of our nation, community, and church.
Prioritize your personal health. Continue following the good health guidelines outlined by the CDC. If you are sick or in a high-risk group, stay home and catch the message online here on our website. We are working to provide livestreaming of the service from the website as well.
Prevent stigma. In stressful times, fear, anxiety, and misinformation can result in the harmful stigmatization of people thought to be infected. Coronavirus does not discriminate, and neither should we. Show compassion and support for those who are ill or fearful of becoming ill. We’re stronger as a community when we stand together against discrimination.
Thank you for your patience and cooperation as we adapt to the ever-changing circumstances. Of course, there is still a chance we may have to cancel the services on Sunday altogether. So please check back here for updates. Let’s walk together in the opportunity and challenge of this crisis as people loved by Jesus to love others.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
Loved by God to love God and others,
Steve Phillips, Lead Pastor (on behalf of the Elders and Staff of Journey)