In worship services on January 3, Pastor Alan explained that the church will continue to wait for in-person worship services before restoring the practice of Communion. He offered three reasons from the staff: (1) to honor the observance of the Lord's Supper as a community, (2) to recognize this time of lament for the church, and (3) to remind us that we live in between Jesus' comings. May we continue to personally remember Jesus and His atoning death on the cross, looking forward to the time when we can celebrate and memorialize it together!
Dear Church Family,
We have entered the twilight of 2020. As we end the year with a celebration of Jesus, our Savior who sympathizes with the human experience, let us look toward the New Year with optimism and hope.
As you know, the current health condition of Los Angeles remains critical. We continue to see high numbers of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. The current peak has far exceeded the previous. As a result, our church office, which had opened for limited tasks, has returned to essential operations only. Also, our re-opening timeline has been set back, since we will not resume indoor, in-person worship service until LA County is firmly in the Red Tier. Why, then, do we have hope?
- We hope because we can still make progress. Although external situations are out of our control, we can conduct ourselves with grace and faith in response. We can form teams, prepare ourselves, and come together as a church to be ready when we are able to worship together in-person. Language pastors have been encouraged by church members who have volunteered to help with ushering, check-in, audio, video, and other roles. If you are interested, please let them know!
- We hope because health conditions will improve. Although cases are increasing, progress toward the general availability of a vaccine – possibly multiple vaccines – holds the promise of an additional means to suppress and combat the pandemic. Alongside the cultural acceptance of masks, the practice of personal hygiene, and restrictions on businesses and gatherings, we expect that health conditions will improve. And we pray for the frontline workers and others who will immediately benefit from the additional protection.
- We hope because good things are ahead in 2021. Every good gift comes from the Father of Lights and we trust in His character. We look forward to recording an increasing number of elements of the worship service from the church sanctuary to provide familiarity and utilize our new equipment. In the future, we look forward to recording full services at church, and later, streaming them live as we take steps toward an in-person worship service. We expect the new building will be completed in the first quarter of the year. Our children’s ministry will be able to relocate from the basement to the new classrooms. We look forward to a deacon ordination, by which we can affirm those who have completed their training and demonstrated faithfulness. Every day is a grace of God and we have much to look forward to.
- We hope because we see Jesus in our members. We have observed sacrificial love toward one another – calls, deliveries, prayer, and personal involvement. Your flexibility evidences a dependence on the Spirit. Your resilience reflects the call to persevere. Your giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering Offering shows a heart for God’s work around the world. And the presence of God in your lives, through relationship with Him and the development of spiritual practices, has been clear in the absence of old habits and former routines.
- We hope because Jesus gives us hope. We do not live out our faith to its fullest extent but Jesus is there in our weakness. He reminds us that salvation is based on His work and not our works. He allows us to celebrate grace as we encounter it rather than accumulate the shame of mistakes and transgressions. We have comfort by belonging, knowing whose people we are, and trusting that the God of history is bringing about His good purposes and plan.
Would you join us in praying for this New Year?
We are weary but you remain able. You are our refuge in times of trouble. You are our strong tower. As we end the year by celebrating Jesus, would you help us to look to Jesus for hope in the New Year? Would you help us to see, experience, and engage Your presence as we live for You?
We pray that you would bless us and keep us. Would you make Your face to shine upon us and be gracious to us? Might You lift up Your countenance on us and give us peace? We pray this in Jesus’ name.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Significant changes to county health orders have recently been made. We do not intend the church to be a primary outlet for such information, but we would like to bring attention to this health order to promote awareness.
LA County has provided a health order that corresponds with California’s Limited Stay At Home Order. The LA County Temporary Targeted Safer At Home Order is in effect until 11:59pm on December 20. This order is the reason that local restaurants have suspended outdoor dining. It further states:
All persons within the County Public Health Jurisdiction must stay home, except to travel to and from Essential Businesses, to work at or provide service to a Healthcare Operation or Essential Infrastructure, to work at, perform or obtain services from an Essential Governmental Function, to engage in Essential Activities, or to participate in permitted individual or household activities while practicing social distancing.
A summary of the LA County order can be found here.
In the past four days we have seen a large number of cases: 5014, 5150, 7593 and 5987. Hospitalizations have similarly surged. Although our participation on its own may not have a large impact, we pray for a community effort to reverse the trend.
Los Angeles County recently confirmed 5,031 new cases of COVID-19. This is the highest number of daily new cases L.A. County has experienced throughout the pandemic. The county has warned that if the five-day average of cases exceeds 4,500, a Safer at Home Order will be mandated for three weeks. The county and the state are prepared to take additional actions to prevent the infection from spiking further.
We communicate this information in order to amplify the need for caution. The rise in cases is alarming. Hospitals are filling up. The progress we had made in lowering the curve is being threatened. Please pray, practice social distancing, wear a mask, observe the curfew, limit personal gatherings, and consider additional precautions for your health and the health of others. Thank you.
Dear Church Family,
We are planning to resume in-person, indoor worship service in early 2021. Although Los Angeles County remains in the Purple Tier (i.e. no indoor worship services) with little change in daily cases over the last two months, we are praying that conditions will improve. We also want to be ready when they do.
In order to be ready when the county health order is relaxed, we are planning volunteer training and other preparations. These trainings are for those involved in the worship service, those who provide technical support such as audio/visual and live-streaming, and those helping with new processes like online reservation, check-in, and screening.
Beginning this month, we are shifting focus towards organizing volunteers. We will reach out to our existing teams to see who would be comfortable to return and broaden the invitation to find additional help. If you have been involved in these ministries in the past, please consider whether you would be available. In this significant, whole-church effort, every person matters. If you are interested to serve, we need and welcome your involvement. Please contact your lead language pastor to let us know.
We hope you will join us in prayer for the health condition of our county and for the provision of members essential for a return to in-person, indoor worship services (Mandarin, Cantonese, English, SEAM, and Glendora Mission). Thank you.
Pastor Alan provided a personal message to the church last week. Please check out the video above as he offers pastoral guidance to us. And let us renew our personal health practices, strengthen our prayer lives, and seek creative ways to care for one another while we wait for health conditions to improve.
We recently communicated that MBCLA will postpone in-person worship service until 2021. The purpose of this decision remains to promote health and safety, demonstrate love towards our neighbors, and focus on present ministry opportunities. We pray for wisdom and the leading of the Spirit in this season.
In light of this development, we also want to inform you about changes to our news updates. We are evaluating the frequency and content of our updates so that we can provide what is necessary and helpful. Rather than weekly updates, we expect to provide updates when we have significant information on progress towards our milestones, changes in the health landscape and guidance, and expectations for re-opening.
We invite your prayers and your feedback as we seek to make the most of this time.
Last week, we shared the announcement from the MBCLA Staff and Re-Opening Core team. In coming weeks, we will answer questions that you may have related to the announcement and clarify what it means for our ministries at the church. Before doing so, we will finish explaining the milestones for re-opening that we introduced on June 26 and have since worked to implement.
The final milestone regards screening procedures for those who attend in-person worship service. These procedures must be defined and prepared.
What is our objective with this milestone?
A dependable screening process is required in order to share an expectation that those worshiping together in-person do not have symptoms associated with COVID-19 and have not been recently exposed. While our reservation system and other preparations contribute to health and safety (e.g. staying within capacity, maintaining physical distancing, etc.), it is also important that we separate those who have or may have COVID-19.
What has the church done or planned in order to meet this milestone?
The church has developed guidelines for welcome and screening, placed informational posters and signs at the entrances, purchased hand sanitizers and contactless thermometers, and set up a reservation system.
When we are able to return to in-person worship, you can expect to be greeted at the entrance. A volunteer will next confirm your reservation and check for a face covering. He or she will offer you one if needed, as well as offer hand sanitizer. Your temperature will be taken and you will indicate your responses to the printed screening questions in order to enter. These questions relate to symptoms (e.g. fever, difficulty breathing, cough, flu-like symptoms, loss of taste or smell, nausea) and exposure (e.g. contact). Then you will be invited to join us inside for worship service!
Dear Church Family,
The MBCLA Staff and Re-Opening Core Team recently decided to postpone in-person worship service until 2021. We want to thank you for your patience and understanding. We were hopeful to return sooner but the persistently high number of cases in Los Angeles County prompted us to reassess our timeframe for return.
By way of explanation, here are three primary reasons for this decision:
- Safety – Were we to offer in-person worship service, we know that many members would return. Out of an abundance of caution, and the weight of responsibility for the spiritual and physical health of our members, we believe postponing in-person worship service is necessary to keep you safe.
- Love of Neighbors – We have a charge to seek our city’s good, the welfare of the place in which we are located. We want to demonstrate by our actions that we love our neighbors, that we only want their good, and that we will consider their spiritual and physical health as well. We believe postponing in-person worship service is necessary for our positive presence and effective witness in the community.
- Proactive Planning – The possibility of a near in-person return offered the alluring hope of normality. But the reality is that we have no control over the daily new cases of COVID-19 or other complicating factors (e.g. seasonal flu). We believe postponing in-person worship service is necessary to shift our focus to our online ministries and distanced interaction. Rather than wonder week-to-week if we will return, we can be proactive in our waiting to reorient ourselves toward our mission and more fully develop our present ministries to shepherd and support you.
Please understand that we have come to this difficult decision in an effort to glorify God through the stewardship of what He has provided. We understand that this will be a disappointment to some and we pray that you will thoughtfully consider the reasons for this decision, so that it may be our decision together as church.
Preparations for in-person return continue. We continue to monitor the health condition of the county with the hope that the spread of COVID-19 will abate. And we join together with you to make the most of our opportunities at this moment in history.