THURSDAY, JULY 30, 2020
Greetings Newark Family,
For the month of August we are going to do something different, something new! As we continue in this "shelter at home" mode without in-person services we need to stay connected and our church family needs some levity. Newark UPC, it is time to play.
Each week in August will have a different game and each meeting will have a "winner". After four weeks the winners from each meeting will then face off in a LIVE final tournament during our "Friday Night with Friends" slot at 7 pm on August 28th. The winner of the live tournament will win the coveted Newark UPC COVID-19 game trophy and bragging rights through at least the rest of the year.
Week 1: Bible Trivia
Week 2: It's Your Life!
Week 3: The Survey Says
Week 4: Name, Place, Animal, Thing
NOTE: we will continue to join Tuesday and Thursday
small super groups using the same Zoom meeting IDs as the last three months (this is a change from the last communication). The evening (7:30 pm) small super groups will stay at the same time, but the morning (10:00 am) groups will combine and meet on Tuesday only. We will not have breakout rooms, just one big happy family call during each time slot.
Newark UPC Connections Pastor
TUESDAY, JULY 28, 2020
Greetings Newark Family,
What an amazing time we are living in! This COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the pastoral team and our church family in ways that we could not have imagined. Yet during this season, we strongly believe that God is still at work, remains sovereign, and has good plans for us.
We are now over four months into this pandemic and the pastoral team wants to provide an update on our current discussions and plans. We miss all of you terribly and look forward to the time when we can reconvene in-person services. As a team, we have watched many of our ministerial friends and fellow churches experience outbreaks in their congregations after reopening and then moved back to online services. Our desire for in-person services must be tempered with wisdom and prayer about how best to proceed as we consider the health and safety of all.
Several of you have reached out to us inquiring about the results of the survey we took at the end of June. While those results did not determine our course of action, they were informative and helped us gauge how people are feeling. We gathered 108 anonymous surveys and of those results, the overwhelming majority are willing to check temperatures, wear masks, and physically distance if necessary, to resume in-person church. Singing and bathroom contamination are the most likely ways to spread COVID-19 and require extra caution, and are a challenge we do not yet have a solution for. The other highlight from the survey was how ready people are to resume in-person church services. 27% want to resume as soon as possible, 21% want to wait a little longer, and 52% want to wait until at least the beginning of fall or until most of the restrictions are lifted.
After a couple weeks of prayer and discussing at length the survey results, the logistics of planning a service that complies with the governor’s guidelines, and the current spread of the virus, the pastoral team has reached a unanimous decision. For the month of August, Newark UPC will not have any in-person services or small groups and will continue to utilize an online “digital campus” approach. This decision was not reached lightly, and we will reevaluate this position as we get closer to the month of September. Please continue to pray for the pastoral team that God will grant us wisdom and clear direction in the coming months.
We also ask that during this season all of you continue to be faithful to your church body in the avenues that are available to us for discipleship and connection. Every week, Tuesday–Sunday at 7 pm the pastoral team has a broadcast with biblical content designed to make you think and help you grow. On Wednesdays and Fridays these broadcasts are LIVE and include a 30-minute question and answer session. In this regard, you have more access to Bible content and opportunities to ask questions than ever before. Weekly discipleship and engagement with God’s word at Newark have never been stronger. Please pray for these broadcasts; we have many people viewing this content who are not a part of our church family.
For connection with your church family, we have weekly small group meetings on Tuesdays and Thursdays in both the morning (10 am) and evening (7:30 pm). It is extremely vital to the health of your Christian faith during COVID-19 that you connect with your church family through these small groups. You should not walk alone during this season; you cannot serve God in isolation. Discipleship is both individual learning and collective growth and accountability. It is through our small groups that we stay connected, check on each other, pray together, study together, play together, and grow together. If you are not attending a small group right now, you are disconnected from your local church body and your spiritual needs cannot be met. To join a small group visit the church website at www.newarkupc.info, click on the “Small Groups” option and then choose the “Small Group Signups” card.
For our children and youth, we are very blessed to have Keiara Horn and her staff working every week to generate creative content. Each Sunday from 1–2 pm is a live online KBN class for ages 4–11, and each Wednesday at 8 pm is a live online youth class. For more information about KBN visit www.newarkupc.info/kids-hub. For more information about the youth class please contact Keiara directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOW FOR SOME GOOD NEWS. The pastoral team understands that everyone is tired, many of us are struggling with loneliness, and we all miss each other. For the last four months our small groups have continued to pray together and study together. Now it is time to play together. In the month of August our small group focus is “play”, so think of your weekly sG meeting as a long overdue game night. We are both combining small groups and also planning weekly group games designed to help everyone laugh, share, and connect together in a light-hearted manner. Our Tuesday and Thursday morning groups are combining into one morning super group on Tuesdays at 10 am. Our Tuesday evening small groups are combining into one super group at 7:30 pm on Tuesdays, and our Thursday evening groups will do the same on at 7:30 pm on Thursdays. You will continue to join a Zoom call via computer, mobile device, or telephone. The meeting times are not changing (10 am and 7:30 pm), but the meeting ID #’s will change (more info on that coming soon).
Thank you for being such an outstanding church family. Thank you for your continued faithfulness during this incredible situation. Thank you for the continued prayers and support you have shown the pastoral team as we navigate these uncharted waters. Stay strong; we are going to make it through this together!
Galatians 6:9 (NLT)
So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.
The NUPC Pastoral Team
TUESDAY, APRIL 28,2020
Greetings Newark Family,
As we continue in this “Shelter At Home” season the pastoral team wants to assure everyone that we are still planning for our regular Small Group (sG) lessons in the second trimester of this year (May-July). However, the format and schedule will be different than what we have done before. After meeting together last week, the team also agrees that the Small Group Connect meetings are beneficial and will continue as well. Starting in May, sG Connect and sG Lessons will happen on alternating weeks.
What does this mean for you? For the remainder of this “Shelter At Home” period (however long that is) Newark UPC will have small group meetings every week. One week will be a sG Connect and the following will be a sG Lesson. The meeting times and WebEx locations are not changing. If you have been meeting on a Tuesday or Thursday morning at 10 AM or on a Tuesday or Thursday evening at 7:30 PM, you will continue to meet on the same day at the same time. Starting next week (May 5th) the sG Lessons will be posted on the church website (www.newarkupc.info) and as the lessons are taught, the teacher will also share the lesson on their screen.
If you have not already done so, please make a routine for you and your family so that the evening broadcasts and sG meetings are a regular, weekly part of your schedule. Since we are not meeting together in person on Sundays, the Word we are receiving six days a week at 7 pm and the fellowship with our small group family once a week is extremely vital. To put it another way – for this season, if you are not attending sG meetings then you are not attending church and connecting weekly with your family. We need each other. So please show up each week, and turn your camera on 🙂
Newark UPC Connections Pastor
TUESDAY, APRIL 7,2020
Greetings Newark Family,
In case you missed the announcement last Sunday, on April 12th (Easter Sunday) we will be taking communion online following the evening devotional at 7 pm. Please make plans now for this special time as we virtually come together and remember not only the sacrifice Jesus made at Calvary, but also as we look forward to the hope of his future return. If you do not have communion “supplies” and will not be going to a store this week, please feel free to substitute other items as you feel comfortable. The focus is our participation in the Lord’s Supper together, not the elements that we are using for communion.
Also, for many of us, Easter celebrations include specific family traditions and a special meal. As a way to help connect together, this Easter be sure to take pictures of your celebrations and family time. Please share these pictures on Newark UPC’s Facebook page and wish your fellow church family a blessed day. You can post well wishes, pictures of your family together, and perhaps even a short “hello” video.
I am also excited to announce a little competition as a way to incorporate some “play” into our community during this season of physical separation. If you have a special dish or dessert that you are preparing for Easter, please take a picture and write a sentence or two explaining how this dish/dessert is part of the way your family is celebrating Easter this year. Then head to the Newark UPC Facebook page and follow the instructions for uploading your post. The week following Easter we will repost all of these entries on our church website (www.newarkupc.info) and allow everyone a chance to vote on their favorite submission. (Hint: we can’t taste your food, so make it look as good as possible in your picture.) The entry with the most votes at the end of the week will receive a prize.
If you would like to enter the competition but do not have a way to post to Facebook, you can email a picture of your dish/dessert (along with a description) to email@example.com.
Who knows? If we have good participation with this Easter dish/dessert challenge, there might be another competition in the coming weeks…
As Easter approaches, I look forward to joining my church family for a time of communion, seeing Easter wishes posted to our church Facebook page, and looking at all of the yummy pictures of your food!
Newark UPC Connections Pastor
FRIDAY, MARCH 20, 2020
Latest Communication from the Pastoral Team
(The text of which can be found below)
If you have not heard, on Monday, March 16th, the governor of Delaware, John C. Carney, modified the state of emergency in several ways that will continue to impact our normal services. First, all meetings of 50 people or more are cancelled until May 15th -OR- until the public health threat of COVID-19 has been eliminated. Second, individuals at high risk for severe illness (including those age 60+ and/or with underlying health conditions) are “strongly encouraged” to avoid gatherings of 10 people or more. You can read the specifics of this modification HERE. In light of these changes, we will NOT have Sunday services, KBN, or small groups until after May 15th. This also means that April Big Group Learning is cancelled.
Now for some good news. This week several of our small groups met via a conference call for the sixth lesson in our Spiritual Gifts series. Even with some minor technical difficulties this worked surprisingly well. We want to give a special public thank you to our Newark 1 small group for being the first group to try this new method. This is especially impressive considering that this group is comprised of more mature members (Sis Jackie’s words) and if we stated their average age it would approach I-95 traveling speeds. Next week (March 22nd-28th) we will finish our final Spiritual Gifts lesson with the remaining small groups using the same format.
During this unusual time, we have an opportunity to try some new ideas. Right now, it is very important that we stay connected to each other, so starting in April we are implementing a weekly Small Group Connect. Using a conference call system, all small groups will meet every week, once a week, for one hour. We will check-in on each other, pray together, and spend time in “Family Talk” (think dinner table conversation at a large family get together). Details of how we will implement this will follow in another communication next week. NOTE: the Small Group Connect is in addition to the daily devotions posted at 7 pm.
Even in these unprecedented days, we remain committed to all making disciples of all. Disciples are made and continue to grow through WORSHIP, LEARN, SERVE, and PLAY.
Remember to WORSHIP the God who is above all and yet present with us through every trial. In everything, pray! Make your petitions known to the Father. Lift up your brothers and sisters. Ask for peace, comfort, wisdom, and courage. Give thanks for all that God has already done. Don’t worry—pray. Our God receives WORSHIP when we pray.
We also WORSHIP God in our giving. Even though we cannot gather together, we can still be filled with faith and place our loaves and fishes in the hands of our master to multiply. Please make contributions by mailing a check(s) to Newark UPC, PO Box 9938, Newark, DE 19714-5038. If you need to make cash contributions, call the church office at 302-738-7899 and request instructions. Regardless of how you contribute, please clearly communicate how much you are giving to which funds (tithes, offerings, missions). We know that some of you are being laid off and that will affect your giving. We have always asked you to give according to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Nothing has changed. Pray, be generous, be consistent. God is our provider and he has always been faithful. Through your giving you SERVE God, your brothers and sisters, and the continued mission of the church. On behalf of our community, our missionaries, and the staff who SERVE you, thank you. Newark UPC, you are the greatest givers, and we are confident in your generosity in these times of trial. Thank you!
We will continue to LEARN together each day at the Gathering Hub at newarkupc.info. Beginning the week of March 22, we will resume having Monday as a Sabbath for staff. Though we will not have the Gathering Hub on Mondays, we will continue to gather the other six days of the week. We will join together at 7 pm Tuesday through Sunday to LEARN from the Word. Endeavor to join us live.
We will SERVE one another and PLAY together through our Small Group Connect. Stay tuned for more details about how this will work. If you are not already a member of a small group, contact our Connections Pastor, Desi Lugo. This time of social distancing is hard, but it also affords us the time to focus on and PLAY with our immediate family and friends. We do not have to neglect the extended family and friends of the church, but we should redeem the time given us with our family.
In this challenging time, establish new routines and live lives of Christian discipline. WORSHIP, LEARN, SERVE, and PLAY by praying, gathering, connecting, giving, and focusing. Be intentional with your time, your money, your attention, and your activities. Jesus promised us that he would not leave us. He has not left us. He is with us. Let us pray persistently, gather in new ways, connect creatively, give generously, and be intentional in everything.
If God be for us, who (or what) can be against us?
The Newark UPC Pastoral Team
SUNDAY, MARCH 15, 2020
We will have small groups this week, but in a different format via a conference call. Tuesday and Thursday small groups will still meet on their regular days, but morning groups will meet at 10:00 am and ALL evening groups will meet at 7:30 pm (following the daily message).
Please call 253-993-3497 at the appropriate time and after an introductory prayer you will be directed to "rooms" for your specific small group.
To access 2020 Trimester 1 Small Group Lesson #6 (Tongues & Interpretation) click HERE
Tuesday March 17, 2020
Thursday March 19, 2020
SATURDAY, March 14, 2020
Dear Newark Family,
What a wild ride this last week has been: the Wednesday announcement of COVID-19 (coronavirus) showing up in Delaware, the Thursday declaration of a state of emergency, and the Friday closing of public schools. Whew! The governors of both New Jersey and Delaware have issued state of emergency instructions. In New Jersey, public gatherings of over 250 people are banned. In Delaware, “non-essential” gatherings over 100 people are strongly discouraged. When public gatherings in Delaware do occur, the requested health guidelines include conditions that we do not feel we can adequately meet at this time.
In order to respect and cooperate with the government authorities placed over us as Paul and Peter instructed (Romans 13:1–5; 1 Peter 2:13–17), and to be conscious of the concerns of the larger community and our at-risk members, we are making temporary arrangements to continue to meet in creative ways, not in one place, but in one mind and in one Spirit. We do not act out of a spirit of fear, for the LORD is our refuge.
Until further notice, our worship services will be in a different time and format. We are asking everyone to join us Sunday on Facebook Live or our YouTube channel at 7:00 P.M. In addition, every day at 7:00 P.M. we will post an ongoing series of messages from the pastoral team. They will be 15-20 minutes in length with opportunity to pray and worship. These messages will also be archived and accessible at newarkupc.info under the “Gathering Hub” card. We will also be substituting online instruction in place of Kids’ Bible Night, which will be suspended for the remainder of March. This information will also be found on the “Gathering Hub” card.
Our current small group series on the Spiritual Gifts has one remaining lesson. In lieu of meeting in person, the remaining small group sessions will be available by conference call. While we will not be sharing our usual meal, we will still have the opportunity to pray and learn together. You will receive more information about this process shortly.
We also want to continue to worship in our giving. We are requesting that if possible, you mail your contributions via check, money order, or bank draft (please do not send cash) to the church at: PO Box 9938, Newark, DE 19714. We understand that this may not be your normal method of giving, but your cooperation will greatly assist our finance team. If this is not an option, you may also set aside your gift to God until we meet again for corporate worship. If you wish to discuss other options, please call the church at 302-738-7899.
As we adjust and adapt to this evolving situation, the pastoral team wants to encourage our church family that God is still in control. We realize that some of you will be relieved by this course of action, while others in the family will likely feel that this is an overreaction. We understand and respect both positions. This decision was not reached lightly but was the consensus of the entire pastoral team. Rest assured that the team continues to be available for support, encouragement, and prayer. We urge the stronger and healthier members of our congregation to defer to our brothers and sisters who are “high risk” due to age or compromised immune systems.
The good news is that this is a great time to let our light shine in our surrounding community. Please continue to pray and stay focused and aware of opportunities to witness to those who may be experiencing fear or loneliness in these unsettling days. Lead them to the Light that can dispel their darkness, and the Rock that provides a firm foundation.
Also, please stay in communication with each other so that we maintain connection. This is an excellent opportunity to try different methods of community as we live out our Christian faith. If you have a need, please call on us. Also keep monitoring Facebook and newarkupc.info for the most current information.
We stand as a family – together.
The Newark UPC Pastoral Team