Check out the video explaining everything HERE
With the new instructions for the re-opening of Virginia, we are not able to use more than half of the capacity of our building. In light of this we want to get an idea of who is planning to attend services this week. If you don’t feel comfortable coming because of your health situation, or you just want to be careful, that is fine. We want to trust in God, while also being wise in this time.
Therefore, if you would please let us know if you plan to attend this Sunday service, please send an email with your name and how many people are in your family that will be attending By This Friday, May 15, 2020.
We are going to use these responses to know if we need to have sign ups for services or accommodate for overflow. The total number of people we can have in the sanctuary depends on how many people from each family will attend since family members may all sit in the same pew, but single people will need to sit six feet apart.
The Elders and deacons met last night to discuss our plans for reopening. Below are the steps we are taking to both cooperate with the guidelines given and also to care for everyone who may attend. Based on this Sunday’s experience, we may alter some of these plans.
Phase-1 Plan for Reopening:
- Service will be as normal as possible.
- No Children’s ministry, or nursery, or Sunday School.
- Kids sit with their own family.
- Use sanctuary door for entry and exit, propped open. All other doors locked. Please come in and stay in your pew.
- Prepackaged communion elements will be on a table outside the front door.
- Only the upstairs bathrooms available for use.
- One family per pew, two couples, or 3 singles.
- Every other pew in use. 11 total. We will block rows not in use.
- Practice physical distancing: Maintain 6’, No hugging, or shaking hands.
- Please wear face masks.
- Sanctuary windows will be open for airflow.
- We will be cleaning and sanitizing the building before and after the service. We will also have hand sanitizing stations in the entrance to the building and outside the restrooms.
- We encourage anyone who has been sick to stay home. Facebook live will still be as normal.
- Please exit the building immediately after the service and fellowship outdoors. Ushers will dismiss by rows.
If you would like to give, we now have an online option for giving. You can follow this link to do so.
The past several weeks have brought some significant changes to all of our lives for sure. While this time took us by surprise, we know it did not take God by surprise. He is sovereign over all disease and all trials. He will use this time for our good and for His glory, of that we are sure.
There are ways that I see God working in this time that I would not have thought of. In the time since the stay at home order, our family has had almost every supper together. That normally doesn’t happen during this season as we have multiple kids in sports, and I am often pulled away several nights a week for church meetings. Our kids who are often sleep deprived have been taking advantage of the opportunity to get some much needed rest. We have also been able to tackle a few projects around the house that have been put off for a while.
There are also significant challenges though. Many of our church members are in the “at risk” demographic for this virus and have been shut in since the order. We also have several members who are out of work, or have seen their income decrease in this time. This has been very difficult for sure.
What I wanted to write about today is the ways that I see the Lord stretching us as a church in this time. I have said this before, but I want to explain it a little more.
1. The first area of focus that I believe we need to be proactive about is connecting with one another if whatever ways we can right now. We may not be able to visit with one another on Sunday mornings, but that does not mean we cannot connect. In fact, we should be connecting in the other ways that we can. Through technology. This can be phone calls, emails, face time, as well as other ways that I want to tell you about. We live in an amazing time where our physical presence is not a requirement for connection. This in no way is a replacement for physical presence, but it can provide opportunities to connect. We can still share what is going on in our lives, pray for one another, care for one another, and encourage one another. I am so thankful for the ways that God has created for us to do this. Which leads to the second area of growth for us as a church.
2. The staff and leaders of ECC are on a steep learning curve of technology during this time. We are trying to still get content out to our members and kids that will hopefully help everyone to stay focussed on Christ and His work during this time. some of these things have been in place for a while, and some of them we are just getting started with.
As you most likely know, we have been streaming our services for over three years now. Fortunately right before everything hit with Covid-19, we had finished getting a new camera set up for the sanctuary. This has greatly improved our ability to record and live stream our services with much higher quality. This was a great gift to be able to move immediately to online service as soon as the stay at home order was given. If you want to stream our services, even if you don’t have a FaceBook account, you can follow this link to view our page. While I would never say that it is ok to stay at home on a regular basis and watch virtual church, when we have been ordered to not meet in groups of 10 or more, this does provide a way to bring worship and teaching to our congregation. Our online service is not the church, but it does provide a way for this local body to be fed by the same teaching from the Word. As an aside, it also give potential visitors a taste of what our services are like on Sunday mornings.
In the meantime we have also been getting up to speed with Zoom meetings and live stream prayer meetings. They have been going well. We hope to be hosting some zoom meetings that are open to the whole church soon, look for emails on that in the next week.
We also have an Emmaus Family Facebook group that you can request to join if you are on Facebook. If you are unsure how to join it, please give me a call.
Mr. Clayton has been doing some creative videos for the kids to watch as well. These have been very good, and are getting better each week. I created a YouTube channel for the church a few months ago as we were deciding which live streaming platform works best. I have been posting videos of sermons there, as well as some videos for the women’s ministry. Our goal is to continue to make these as a supplement to our face to face gatherings, when we are able to have them again. You can also see some of the videos we have been making on our YouTube account, HERE
Again, being the church is about gathering to worship, but it doesn’t stop there, it is also about scattering to proclaim the truth of Jesus to one another and to the lost. My prayer is that when this season is over, we will be strengthened in our love of the gathering, and in our ability to scatter to share the Good News of Jesus to all we interact with.
Over the past several years ECC has been going through a deep change in the polity (government) of our church. We have moved from a Board of Stewards model of leadership to the structure that is found in scripture. We have re-written the bylaws of our church to institute the offices of Elder and Deacon. These two offices are clearly established in the New Testament as the offices of church leadership.
The Elders of the church are men who serve the church as spiritual leaders. Instead of having one pastor, we now have four elders, who have the same responsibilities and commitment to the body of ECC. They are called to lead, feed, care for and protect the congregation of ECC. The men nominated and affirmed by vote on June 2, 2019 are Lew Combs, Jon Lowery, Scott Sheridan, and Bryan Holt. We were ordained by the congregation as elders on September 8, 2019. Within the new by-laws, I am still the paid pastor who is equal in calling and function to the other elders, but I have been tasked with responsibilities and roles that compensation frees me to accomplish. My primary role is the main preaching for the Sunday worship service, along with other duties that take time and preparation.
The deacons of the church are men and women called to care for the practical needs of the church. Their duties are varied, from caring for the building and grounds to overseeing benevolence. These leaders were ordained as deacons on September 8, 2019. The deacons of ECC are: Page Allen, Arlene Booker, Phil Sparks, Bart Haddix, George Holt, Jason Habel, and Tom Verbeke. Aside from any duties relating to the day to day functioning of the church, they have also been assigned several families each to reach out to on an ongoing basis to pray for and see if there are any practical needs that those families have.
This is an exciting time for our body as we are already beginning to benefit from the leadership and care of these leaders. However, the process to implement this new change is one that we are taking our time with. There are many aspects of the church that will be affected by this change, so we are taking our time and addressing things at a measured pace. We have been looking at ways to redistribute the leadership of various ministry teams in the church. We have tackled our education team and have already seen a number of people step up to help serve in the areas of children and women’s ministries.
There is much more on the horizon, and we are taking the long view as we approach changes and new ideas. Along this whole process, we have seen the hand of God drawing us towards this change as well as supplying qualified men and women to fill the roles of leadership in this body. Soli Deo Gloria!
Every year in the Fall, we take one Sunday and worship at Powhatan State Park. It is always a great time of worship, fellowship and food!
Join us at 10:30 at Shelter #1. Let the gate know you are with Emmaus and we will cover your parking fee. Lunch to follow the service.
4616 State Park Road
Powhatan Va 23139
VBS is almost HERE!!! Join us June 23-27 2019! We are going to Athens to learn about the Apostle Paul and how he was changed by the Gospel!!
The program starts at 6:30 every night!
Register Here: https://vbspro.events/p/events/emmaus2019
December 11, from 6-9PM Is our next Parent’s Night Out!!! Go out on a date, go Christmas shopping, or get together with some friends knowing your kids are being cared for in a fun and safe environment. Best of all, there is no charge!!
Please RSVP by Dec 9th.