The Practice of Lord’s Supper

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!

陳寶聲牧師在1月3日的崇拜中再度告訴我們,教會將會繼續等待,直到恢復實體敬拜時,才舉行主餐。他解釋說,教牧同工所作的決定是基於下列三個原因:(1)我們當以群體共同敬拜的方式共守主餐;(2)對於現今是教會一同哀傷的時刻的認知;(3)我們所處的時代是在基督降臨之間的時刻的提醒。讓我們每人持續默念靜思耶穌以及他為代贖我們的罪而死在十字架上。我們期待能再度一同紀念主恩的日子的到來。

MBCLA End of Year Update 洛杉磯國語浸信會歲末感言

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?

Heavenly Father,

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.

Amen.

各位親愛的弟兄姊妹們:

2020年已進入尾聲。屆此歲末年終時節,當我們紀念體恤我們在世為人面臨各種經歷際遇的主耶穌基督,我們的救主,讓我們一同充滿盼望地迎接新的一年的到來。

洛杉磯縣的疫情的嚴峻至今有增無減是不爭的事實。我們不斷地見證到確診,入院治療及死亡人數的屢創新高。目前的數據遠超過稍早的最高點。教會辦公室在作局部性開放之後,因此又再度回到僅僅執行必須性作業的狀態。此外教會先前所策劃的重啟時間表也受到影響,因為我們必須等到洛杉磯縣疫情從紫級進步到紅級才能開始重啟室內實體崇拜。既然如此,我們為什麼還有盼望可言?

  • 我們有盼望,因為我們仍可不斷地加強準備。雖然外在環境似乎不在我們掌控之下,我們仍然能從容不迫,滿有信心地回應。教會會眾人同此心,組織起來,一同準備,當時機成熟時,可以立即重啟教會實體崇拜。各語言組的牧師們都為多位弟兄姐妹們志願參與重啟實體敬拜時各項服事,如招待,報到,影音等所需而被激勵,滿心感謝。如果你也有參與服事的意願,請直接與你語言組的牧師聯繫。
  • 我們有盼望,因為假以時日,公共衛生情況必會好轉。雖然目前疫情仍然嚴重,然而一種,甚或多種新冠病毒疫苗的問世意味著在抗疫之路上又增添了一種抑制,或抵擋此大傳染的方式。隨著戴口罩被眾人接受為日常習慣,加上個人衛生的落實,公眾及私人聚集的限制,我們相信公共衛生情況必然會好轉。我們也特別紀念每天在第一線上努力工作的人們,祈禱他們的健康因著注射疫苗而立即獲得更多的保障。
  • 我們有盼望,因為許多美事將在2021年成就。我們知道所有恩惠都來自於眾光之父,我們相信神的屬性。首先,我們盼望利用新的影音及網路器材,在教會裏實地錄製多項崇拜環節,以增加實體崇拜的氛圍。接著,我們預計將會在教會裏錄製整個崇拜;再下一步,我們將作崇拜直播,直到我們可以重啟舉行實體崇拜的那日。教會的擴建預計將在2021年第一季正式完工。兒童事工的課室將從本堂地下室喬遷至嶄新的教育大樓內。我們也將舉行執事按立儀式。所有完成執事訓練並恆常殷勤事奉的實習執事,將被按立為正式執事。每一天都是主所賜的恩典,我們舉目望前,心裡充滿了盼望。
  • 我們有盼望,因為我們的弟兄姊妹活出耶穌的樣式。在疫情中我們目睹弟兄姊妹們藉著電話彼此問安,關顧日常所需,代禱和個人關懷所表現的捨己的愛。你們隨機應變,適時的愛心流露出依靠聖靈而活的生命。你們的順應情勢是靈裏老練的表現。你們對慕拉第聖誕獻金的慷慨奉獻,代表著你們對神普世宣教大使命的不二心意。雖然多月來,我們無法繼續一些既有的教會傳統跟崇拜常態,然而藉著眾人與神的個人關係及屬靈操練的進程,神與我們的同在都在在向我們顯明。
  • 我們有盼望,因為耶穌賜給我們盼望。因為我們的軟弱,我們無法將信心完全活現出來,但是在軟弱中,耶穌與我們同在。他提醒我們,是祂,而不是靠我們的努力,成就了救贖大工。耶穌容許我們感謝祂所賜給我們無限的恩惠,而不再紀念那因個人的過犯和罪愆所累積的羞辱。因著知道我們屬誰,是誰的子民,也因為信靠歷史的神將成就祂美好的旨意,我們因此得到安慰。

現在你願意加入我們為新來的一年同心禱告嗎?

親愛的天父,
我們雖然困頓,但在你沒有轉動的影兒。在患難中,你是我們的避難所。你是我們的高台。在年終歲末,當我們紀念耶穌時,求你帶領我們在耶穌裏看到新年的盼望。當我們為你而活的時候,求你讓我們看到,經歷到你的同在,並在靈裏常常享受你甜美的交通。

我們懇求你祝福並保守我們。求你的臉光照我們,賜恩給我們。求你向我們仰臉,賜給我們平安。我們禱告是奉耶穌基督的聖名。阿們。

LA County Health Update 洛杉磯縣(洛縣)健康狀態更新

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.

各位親愛的弟兄姐妹們,雖然教會並非地方公共衛生更新傳播的主要管道,但由於近日新冠疫情的再度嚴峻,促使洛縣衛生局發布新的相關指令,教會願意藉此篇幅,提醒大家不僅對之有所認知,且同心協力一同遵守,一同防疫。

洛縣所頒布的局部居家令與加州政府日前已實施的居家令吻合,目前此局部居家令暫定將實行至12月20日的午夜11:59為止。由於此居家令的實施,洛縣餐館戶外餐飲因此暫停營業。此外,局部居家令要求所有洛縣居民除了以下情形之外,需居家不得外出:

  • 進行”必要工作”
  • 在醫療衛生機或必要基礎設施工作或提供服務
  • 在/從政府機構提供/獲取必要功能
  • 參與必要活動
  • 在恪守社交距離情況下參與政府認可之個人或家庭活動

請點擊查看洛縣局部居家令英文概要在過去四天內,洛縣確診病例高達5014,5159,7593 和5987。入院治療人數也相對地正在增加中。雖然我們教會會友共同的防疫努力,也許從總體來說可能微乎其微,然而我們仍然鼓勵弟兄姊妹們每人都盡一己之力,維護社會的共同安全。

LA County Health Update 洛杉磯郡公共衛生更新

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.

洛杉磯郡近日發布洛杉磯新冠肺炎單日確診人數高達5031人,這是洛郡疫情以來最高單日確診紀錄。洛杉磯郡發出警告,若五日平均每日確診人數超過4500人,則必須下令實施為其三週的居家令。為了預防確診人數持續飆高,加州和洛杉磯郡都已作好實施額外遏阻措施的準備。

教會將上述訊息特為登錄於教會網頁,是為了提醒弟兄姊妹們務必小心防範。確診人數的不斷上升,實在令人擔憂,而我們先前共同努力緩和疫情的成效,目前也遭到威脅。醫院早已人滿為患。請切切代禱,並力行落實社交距離,隨時戴口罩,遵守宵禁,避免與人聚集的場合,以及為了個人及他人的健康,多多考慮其他防範方法。謝謝您!

Church Re-Opening Update #18 教會重啟更新

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.

各位親愛的弟兄姊妹們,平安。

教會雖預定在2021年初重新開始舉行面對面實體崇拜,然而,洛杉磯郡這兩個月每日確診人數停滯,並無減少,目前仍處於疫情紫色階段(教會實體崇拜屬於此階段禁止活動之一)。讓我們同心為疫情傳播減緩向神祈求禱告。在此同時,我們也致力於為疫情好轉,重啟時的一切所需做好完善準備。

當洛杉磯郡衛生局解除實體崇拜禁令時,教會盼望能即時應對,因此我們現在正在計畫義工訓練項目,並其他準備工作。訓練的義工對象將包括所有參與實體崇拜事奉,提供崇拜時技術性協助,如影音,現場直播等,以及網上實體崇拜預約,崇拜報到及測試等工作的弟兄姊妹們。

自本(十一)月起,我們將重啟準備工作的重心轉移到組織義工的需要上。我們首先會聯絡各相關事工的既有成員,徵詢他們重返教會實體崇拜繼續事奉的意願;同時,我們也會擴大範圍,邀請其他會友參與各項實體事奉。如果你是崇拜相關事工的既有成員,請你對是否願意重返先作審慎考量。在這教會重啟前夕,每一位會友的參與都至關重要。如果你有願意參與事奉的心志,教會十分歡迎也需要你的加入,請與你的語言組牧師聯絡。

教會殷切期盼弟兄姊妹們能為本郡疫情改善及重啟實體崇拜(包括,國語,粵語,英語,東南亞,及格蘭朵拉分堂)所有預備工作忠心代禱。謝謝你們。

Greetings and Church Ministry Update

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.

各位親愛的弟兄姊妹們,陳寶聲牧師在上週分別以國語,英語及粵語錄製了一段對教會大家庭的信息。請觀看上面陳牧師帶給我們牧者的關懷與指引的錄影。當我們耐心等待健康大環境恢復常態的同時,讓我們再次注意落實個人保健習慣,強化個人禱告生活,並以創新的方式彼此互相關懷照顧。

Church Re-Opening Update #17 教會重啟更新

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.

Thank you.

各位親愛的弟兄姊妹們,不久前跟您分享了教會在2021年之後才會重新開始實體敬拜的決定。這項決定是本於對教會會友保健維護的責任,對教會社區鄰舍愛謢與關懷的表彰,並對教會目前事工的聚焦。在此多事之秋,我們禱告,向神求討智慧及聖靈的引領。

因著此項重大決定,我們也將對每週重啟更新作因應改變。為了提供您相關及有用的資訊,我們正在評估未來數月中發布更新的頻率及內容。不同於目前的每週更新,我們準備每當教會重啟關鍵程序完成某一重大進展,公共衛生環境或衛生局指南有任何重要改變,以及教會對重啟預期有所更新時,我們就會利用此空間向您作即時報導。

當我們在這不凡時刻,善用光陰,齊心竭誠為主作工之時,我們誠心邀您,為教會,為自己禱告。我們也歡迎您分享您的意見與想法。

謝謝您。

Church Re-Opening Update #16 教會重啟更新

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!

各位親愛的弟兄姊妹們,上週我們已經跟各位分享了教會教牧同工及教會重啟核心小組對於教會重啟時間表的決定。在未來的幾週,我們將會就會友們對此決定所提問題作答,並說明此決定對教會事工的任何影響。您或許記得,從六月二十七日開始我們就與弟兄姊妹們逐項分享有關重啟的七項關鍵程序。在本週的更新裏,我們願意與您報告教會重啟關鍵程序的最後一項。

此關鍵程序與實體敬拜參與者的初步測試有關。我們已釐定此程序之細節,準備工作業已完成。

初步測試關鍵程序的目標
為了達到參與實體敬拜者都不具新冠病毒症狀,也未曾在近期內與病毒感染者有過接觸的理想,教會必須有一份可靠的初步測試程序。我們的預約系統及其他準備工作促進實體崇拜者參與環境的公共衛生(如:維持在安全參與人數限度之內,保持身體安全距離等),同時,將那些患有,或可能罹患新冠病毒者分辨出來也同等重要。

教會到目前為止在這項關鍵程序的準備進度
教會業已完成迎賓及初步測試指南,教會進口處已放置相關資訊海報及標誌,購置洗手液及無接觸體溫計,並完成崇拜預約系統。
當我們能夠重返教會,參與實體崇拜時,將會有招待在教會進口處歡迎您。隨後教會義工需確認您的崇拜預約,並請您配戴口罩參加崇拜;如果您沒有口罩,義工會贈送一個給您。如果您需要用洗手液,教會進口處也會有預備。接下來,義工會量您的體溫,您需書面回答與新冠病毒病徵有關的初步測試問題(包括,熱度,呼吸困難,咳嗽,疑似流感的症狀,暫時失去味覺或嗅覺,噁心等等),以及可能接觸到新冠病毒的問題(例如,直接接觸,旅行所到之地,等等)。等您完成這些程序後,就可安心步入會堂參加崇拜。

Church Re-Opening Update #15 教會重啟更新

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

各位親愛的弟兄姊妹們,教會的教牧同工以及教會重啟核心小組近日共同決議,將教會重啟實體崇拜日期延至2021年。教會對弟兄姊妹們的耐心和諒解深表感謝。雖然我們一直期盼能在短期內重啟教會,然而洛杉磯郡的確診率持續居高不下,促使我們必須重新思考重啟的時間範圍。

這項決定是基於下列三項主要考量:

  1. 安全:我們相信一旦教會重啟,定有許多會友在第一時間回來教會參加實體崇拜。教會以十二萬分的小心謹慎,背負著維護弟兄姊妹們屬靈及身體健康的責任,因此我們深信必須將教會重啟實體敬拜的時間表延後來保護大家的安全。
  2. 愛鄰舍:我們同時也肩負著為教會所在社區求益處,促進當地居民的福利和健康安樂的責任。我們願意以行動來活出我們愛鄰舍的生活目標,讓他們看出我們只求他們的益處,我們也重視,維護他們的屬靈及身體的健康。我們相信為了教會在社區裏維持正面的形象以及有效的見證,我們別無選擇,必須延後重啟及舉行實體面對面的崇拜。
  3. 積極的策劃:教會如在近期即將重啟,固然可帶來接近恢復常態的希望。然而,事實上每天新增COVID-19確診人數,以及其他如流感等變素,都不在我們掌控之中。我們深信,當我們決定延後重啟的同時,我們可以將注意力集中於線上的各項事工,以及遠距離的肢體交通,關懷。如此一來,我們可以免於時時分心於是否下週將是教會重啟的時刻,而能在這段等待的時期,專心重新聚焦於教會的使命與異象,致力於發展目前的事工,能夠更有效率地牧養,關顧弟兄姊妹們的需要。

親愛的弟兄姐妹們,相信您們會了解,教會所作這個不容易的決定是為了藉著神所賜給我們管家的職份來榮耀神。我們了解這項決定會令我們中間有些會友失望,我們請求也祈願在您們仔細思考上列因素之後,會同意而使之這延後重啟的決定成為我們共同的決定。

對於面對面重啟的所有相關預備工作,我們將不鬆懈,會繼續努力。我們也將持續關切洛杉磯郡的公共衛生情況,期盼COVID-19確診人數日漸減低。我們祈願與弟兄姊妹們同心在此歷史時刻,把握契機,竭誠為主。