Sunday school delay
SUNDAY, JULY 25, 2021
Dear Church Family,
We hope that you are as excited as we are about returning to in-person services. Staff are working diligently to receive you. The orchestra is coordinating and practicing, audio and visual staff are dusting off equipment and ramping up software, and various other teams are preparing! We can’t wait to safely worship in-person with you!
Speaking of safety, we regret to inform you that the decision has been made to delay classes for children and youth until at least September 12, 2021. COVID numbers are up in most, if not all, of the 50 states and schools are struggling with how and when to open. Many have delayed re-opening. Our primary concern is children 11 years old and under who cannot be vaccinated. Our staff cannot ensure their safety. Children can attend our 12:00 pm worship service at their parent’s discretion and under parental supervision with whatever precautions their parents deem necessary. Sunday School classes for children and youth during this interim time will be held from 3:30 – 4:30 pm on Zoom beginning on Sunday, August 8, 2021. The Sunday School schedule for the remainder of the quarter as well as the information to join our Sunday School classes on Zoom can be found on our Kids Hub or our Youth Hub.
We will stay abreast of our local government’s direction and guidelines for schools and determine when to convene in-person classes for children and youth accordingly. We will keep you informed. During our Sunday Worship Service, the Pastoral Team will wear masks when not speaking. We will stand in solidarity with those of you who cannot be vaccinated and those who choose to be extra cautious. We understand. We will also have neon yellow wrist bands available in the lobby for everyone who does not want to be touched and wants to maintain space.
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to navigate these uncertain times.
The Pastoral Team
Chair Unloading Update
TUESDAY, JULY 13, 2021
Due to shipping delays, our chairs will not arrive this week. We are hopeful it will be next week and our chair company is endeavoring to get us the delivery time by the end of this week.
Rev. Lela G. Cooper
Executive Pastor, Newark United Pentecostal Church
PO Box 9938, Newark, DE 19714-5038
Volunteer Refresh Event
SUNDAY, JULY 11, 2021
Greetings Newark UPC Church Family,
While we were off our physical campus, The Pastoral Team took the opportunity to rethink all areas of what we do and how we do them. Our volunteer teams are integral to the operations of the church and to all making disciples of all. We need each of you to be involved. Disciples serve.
We have decided to provide a fresh start to those who have been serving in some volunteer capacity and to provide an opportunity for others to find their place to serve. We have a clearer vision for our volunteer program and will share that with you at a Volunteer Refresh event on Saturday, September 11, 2021, from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm followed by lunch. Those who currently volunteer and those desiring to volunteer should plan to attend. Click here to R.S.V.P.
A few weeks following the Volunteer Refresh event, we will hold a Service Fair where each person can choose a specific area(s) of service within the church. We will share more about that on September 11th!
Because of this “refresh,” many of you may not be activated to serve immediately when we return in August. Given our new structure, the Pastoral Team will use that time to reevaluate current teams and potentially develop new ones. Hang with us. There is a place for all!
This is a very important step in our positioning to reach new people and for your personal
The Pastoral Team
FRIDAY, JULY 9, 2021
Dear Newark UPC Church Family,
Our Kids and Youth teams are excited to minister to and interact with the children of our church and of our community in Sunday School! As our August 1st return date draws nearer, let's take a brief look at what we can expect from Sunday School at Newark UPC.
How and what will our children and youth learn in Sunday School during the remainder of the 2021 year?
- Our Kids and Youth teams are working to provide fun and engaging environments in which our children can grow as they worship, learn, serve, and play. To accomplish this goal, our teams have planned out Sunday School Lesson Days and Play Days.
- Lesson Days are focused on leading our children in learning the Word of God through age-specific lessons and activities that get students to create, discuss, enact, memorize, and play.
- Play Days are focused on strengthening safe, godly relationships amongst students and our Kids and Youth teams through high-energy games and activities.
- Our ages 4 - 11 group will continue learning from our All Aboard the Apostolic Express curriculum which explores the Book of Acts and encourages students to embrace and share the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Our ages 12 - 18 group will be learning primarily from a Youth Team generated series that examines love and relationships, discussing how our culture applies love to interpersonal relationships versus how love from a Biblical perspective should be applied, and how God views his relationship with us versus the different ways in which we may view our relationship with God.
What can be expected from the weekly Sunday School schedule?
- Simply put, Sunday School meets each Sunday from 2:00 - 3:30 pm following the Worship Service. Our Sunday School Lesson Days take place on the weeks when Small Group lessons are taught. Our Sunday School Play Days take place on the weeks when we do not have a Small Group lesson but meet together to bond and fellowship with our Small Group members. If you would like to see the specific dates that correspond with Lesson Days and Play Days for the remainder of the quarter, please visit our Kids Hub and Youth Hub.
- Check-in begins at 2:00 pm even if the Worship Service has dismissed before 2:00 pm. If the Worship Service dismisses after 2:00 pm, our Sunday School classes will run on an abbreviated schedule, ending always at 3:30 pm.
- Check-out begins at 3:20 pm and ends at 3:30 pm. It is imperative that your children be picked up from Sunday School on time.
What can be expected when it comes to COVID-19 restrictions at our Sunday School classes?
- The Kids and Youth teams are following the leadership of our Pastoral Team's decision for our weekly Worship Service. This means that restrictions will not be enforced in our Sunday School classes. Of course, members of our Kids and Youth teams and the families they serve are welcome to take any precautions they would like for themselves.
How can I help the Kids and Youth teams prepare for our first in-person Sunday School classes?
- Please click HERE to let us know if you plan to have your children attend Sunday School upon our return.
- Please make yourself available during Sunday School check-in to review a previous or to complete a new Health Information & Consent form for your children. We want to make certain that the information we have on file is up to date.
- Agree with us in prayer that God would continue to guide our Kids and Youth teams in their various roles and that he would continue the work of transformation within our children.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions pertaining to our Sunday School classes. The Kids Team, Youth Team, and I are very much looking forward to seeing you and being in closer community with you all once again.
Newark UPC Children & Youth Director
SATURDAY, JULY 3, 2021
Newark Church Family,
As you know, we are preparing for the “Grand Re-opening” of our physical campus. Our sanctuary has been beautifully renovated, and the Fellowship Hall has been spruced-up as well. The new parking lot is stunning, but our flower beds are a mess!
Your help is needed on Saturday, July 17, 2021, at 8:00 am until. We will weed, trim, till, mulch, and plant flowers in the pots flanking the front entrance and around our sign. Also, we will clean-up debris from all areas of our external campus.
Please let us know if you are willing to help. You may email or call the church number and leave a voicemail with that information. Also, if you have tools (rakes, hand shovels, etc.) please bring them. Thank you in advance, for making this a priority.
Rev. Lela G. Cooper
Executive Pastor, Newark United Pentecostal Church
PO Box 9938, Newark, DE 19714-5038
Grand Re-Opening Open House
TUESDAY, JUNE 30, 2021
Dear Small Group Members,
The next quarter for small groups will begin on Tuesday, July 6, 2021. Groups will continue to meet online (Tuesdays and Thursdays) every other week, using the same Zoom meeting ID and passcode. Given our impending return to in person services, our online small groups will now meet at 7:00 pm and there will be no more online sG Connects.
We appreciate your faithfulness and look forward to continuing to learn and grow with you.
The Pastoral Team
Greeting Newark Church Family,
The moment we have been waiting for has finally arrived! We will return to in-person services on Sunday, August 1, 2021. What a day that will be! With a renewed focus on our mission, we are introducing a new structure designed to give maximum attention to those who don’t know Christ and position the church to be more effective. The Sunday schedule will be as follows:
Worship Service 12:00 pm
Sunday School 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Sunday afternoon and evenings will be reserved for targeted activities such as membership and discipleship classes, leadership development, volunteer training, administrative work, etc. Expect to hear further details as things unfold. Also, look for further communication from our Director of Children and Youth, Kieara Horn, regarding Sunday School.
Considering that COVID-19 vaccines are available to all, except for those 11 years old and under, we will not have any restrictions in place. If you have chosen not to take the vaccine, or you cannot, you may take whatever precautions you feel are appropriate to protect yourself.
It has been a long and challenging year and a half, but we have made the most of it! We are looking forward to seeing and worshiping with you all. May the Lord continue to bless and keep you.
The Pastoral Team
New NJ/De District superintendenT Announcement
SUNDAY, MAY 9, 2021
Greetings Church Family!
This past Friday, May 7, 2021 the New Jersey-Delaware District of the United Pentecostal Church International held its annual conference. As you may know, it is at this conference that district officials are elected. Since there was no conference last year due to COVID-19, all positions were up for election this year, including District Superintendent.
We are pleased to announce that one of our very own, Pastor Roy Moss, was elected District Superintendent for the New Jersey-Delaware District! We look forward to his leadership and contribution to our district and wholeheartedly support him in this new role. He will also continue to serve this local congregation as a member of the Newark UPC Pastoral Team.
Please join us in congratulating Pastor Roy and pray for God’s leading in this new role.
The Pastoral Team
When Will We Return?
SUNDAY, APRIL 11, 2021
WHEN WILL WE RETURN?
(The text of which can be found below)
Through much prayer, study of examples from scripture, and frankly the still small voice of the Spirit, I have determined that not only are we to embrace this season to allow God to teach us but that also our actions should be taken in order to achieve the maximum possible protection of our church community from even contracting COVID-19. I do not have the authority to control each individual person and family and their choices. Some of these choices are unavoidable and others are avoidable. While I have my own personal opinions, they are just that—opinions. Each of you also have personal opinions and they are just that—opinions. Some have contracted the virus, many have not. We do not judge you, nor do we condemn you. But your personal opinions and choices cannot be determinative for our local church community.
And allow me to address bad theology (understanding of God) regarding death and free will. Many across our nation and the world have stated something similar to the following: I believe in God and God will not allow me to die until it is my time. This statement is false. Yes, I said this statement is false. It is false because it does not acknowledge the role of free will. Let me share two examples with you.
The first is the life of King Hezekiah. He was a good king, served the Lord, and was true to the God of Israel. At a certain point, God informed him that he was going to die. Hezekiah did not want to die and pleaded with the Lord to give him more time. He exercised his free will and God responded by extending his life. It is a perfect example of the sovereign will of God interacting with human free will. You can study out the story further, but during that extended period of time Hezekiah made many mistakes that tarnished his walk with God and his leadership as king. It was not God’s will for him to live longer but free will impacted what happened.
The second example is not from the Bible but from our Newark UPC story. Some of you may remember it. It is the story of Nelson Walstrum. Nelson was Elkton’s town drunk and he was known by the name Bunky. Through the faithfulness of a godly wife, Bunky ultimately was born again but only after he had destroyed his liver through drinking and his lungs through smoking. Bunky struggled with smoking until a very few months before his death. In fact, once my Dad visited him in the hospital and told him to tell the friends who were sneaking cigarettes into the hospital for him to smoke while on oxygen that Dad would break their legs if they kept it up. Bunky died not just when God willed it. Bunky died earlier than he had to in the hands of a loving God because Bunky’s choices to drink and smoke affected when he died. I loved Bunky, I loved his singing, his spunk, his personality. But I would have loved to had Bunky with us longer.
My point is that we cannot relieve ourselves of the responsibility of our choices exercised through free will by simply saying that God is in total control. He is in total control but he has shared that control with us through free will. Our choices matter.
My decisions are and will be to protect the church community and its members from an outbreak that spreads throughout the entire church. It is also to present a witness to our larger community about how we the church are caring for them by our actions. These decisions are not simply my opinions because they are my responsibility as stipulated within our local church government by-laws. I am doing my best to act in a manner consistent with the needs of the whole. The test of leadership is not how you act when everyone agrees. The test of leadership is how you act when there is disagreement. This season has been a season of massive miscommunication and a break down in national leadership. Newark UPC has experienced through this season clear communication and a consistent demonstration of leadership. We have not wavered and we will not waver. As I have stated before, you will have the opportunity to decide whether my actions were appropriate during the pandemic, but the expression of those opinions will only be possible (and appropriate) after the pandemic has ended.
Based upon prayer and my continued research and monitoring of our knowledge of the pandemic, it is my decision that we cannot safely return to in-person meetings until we have met one of the following conditions:
1. The pandemic ends for the United States through infection and death rates plummeting - called a medical end
2. Appropriate levels of vaccinations are met within our local context of New Castle County and the State of Delaware
3. Appropriate levels of vaccinations within our local church community members are met so as to provide safety for both those vaccinated and those who cannot or choose not to be vaccinated.*
*We are waiting on the determination of whether a vaccinated person can still carry and transmit the virus to an unvaccinated person
Vaccines will be discussed. You are not required to vaccinate. Your decision to vaccinate should not pressure others to vaccinate. Your decision to not vaccinate should not pressure others to not vaccinate. Again, vaccines will be discussed because they are our most viable option for returning to in-person meetings. And vaccines will provide the necessary safety for both those who are vaccinated and those who are not vaccinated.
Allow me to clear up two misunderstandings regarding HIPAA being applied to a church and also the idea that a church is subject to the same constraints as a public entity.
The HIPAA Privacy Rule applies to disclosures made by employees, volunteers, and other members of a covered entity’s or business associate’s workforce. Covered entities are health plans, health care clearinghouses, and those health care providers who conduct one or more covered health care transactions electronically, such as transmitting health care claims to a health plan. Business associates generally are persons or entities (other than members of the workforce of a covered entity) that perform functions or activities on behalf of, or provide certain services to, a covered entity that involve creating, receiving, maintaining, or transmitting protected health information. Business associates also include subcontractors that create, receive, maintain, or transmit protected health information on behalf of another business associate.
Given this definition, employer-to-employee communications will most likely not be covered by HIPAA, and as such are not controlled by the HIPAA Privacy Regulations but other federal and state regulations may apply. This means also that a volunteer organization such as a church is also not covered by HIPAA.
Our church insurance, Brotherhood Mutual, also states that case law supports the notion that churches are not required to allow anyone to enter or remain on their property simply because their ministries are open to the public. We are not owned by the government but rather are governed by our own local church government by-laws. We are very much interested in welcoming the public but we are a private institution that operates according to it own by-laws.
My point in these two clarifications is simple. We are allowed to self-govern and self-determine according to the structure of our local church government by-laws. This is why I am making these decisions because the by-laws have made them my responsibility as pastor. This is also why we will not require you to vaccinate in order to attend church. But we will also not be opening our physical campus until we can do so safely.
We will be informally asking in general who has been vaccinated. You are not required to volunteer that information—ever. But the idea that vaccinations do not matter is false. Until we meet one of the above stated conditions, we cannot safely return. Vaccination is the most probable means of us returning to in-person meetings. For now, if you are willing to share that you have taken the vaccine, please let us know. At a later point, we may even send out an anonymous survey to gauge what percentage of our church community has been vaccinated. It will be anonymous. We will not be able to identify individual persons. This information is about us making an informed decision about when we have reached appropriate levels of vaccination within our local church community members so as to provide safety for both those vaccinated and those who cannot or choose not to be vaccinated. It is not about vaccination, it is about us returning to in-person meetings safely.
I am happy to meet with anyone who has questions or concerns. Please call the office and speak with our Executive Assistant, Joyce Allen. She will be happy to schedule a Zoom meeting with me where I can hear your concerns and answer your questions. Anyone who takes to the public forums of social media instead of speaking directly with me will not be responded to. This is not a correction of past interactions. It is direction for going forward. This is also not targeting any one person. If this applied to only one person, I would be speaking with that one person. I have never targeted individuals from the pulpit—physical or digital. Tonight applies to multiple inquiries and interactions and is relevant to the whole church and therefore is addressed to the whole church. In this ending phase of this season, it is critical that we not allow our weariness to distract us from our commitment to the body of Christ. Questions and concerns are welcomed, as they have always been. But they must be expressed in the appropriate manner and space.
While I have appreciated and used the wisdom and council of the pastoral team during this season, decisions regarding the pandemic and our response to it are wholly mine. I am responsible. I alone can answer for these decisions. And I do so willingly and gladly as I obey the instruction of the Lord through Peter to feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint but willingly, not for filthy lucre but of a ready mind. Church, the amount of stress, peril, criticism, and no-win situations that this season presents us with is without precedent. It is literally life and death. You could not pay me enough money to do this job. I serve you because He has asked me to.
So when will we return? I am hopeful that the July-August window will be possible. Our building renovations will be completed. But vaccines are the only way we can meet the July-August window. So what is your responsibility? Prayerfully and carefully decide whether you are willing to be vaccinated. If you are, do so as soon as possible. If you are not, pray for your brothers and sisters who are willing and then be patient. Give one another the freedom to choose in Christian liberty. In the meantime, stay faithful to the daily evening broadcasts. Attend your online small groups. Keep yourself and your family safe.
We will not grow weary in well doing. We will not faint. We will reap the rewards of this season. We will be Christians. We will continue to be a diverse community of believers who stay united through mutual submission one to another. Anything less than this is unacceptable. And when we fall short, we will call one another to step up, repent and forgive, and renew our commitment to being the Jesus-followers who are characterized by their love for each other.
Newark United Pentecostal Church
New Sg Structure
TUESDAY, MARCH 23, 2021
This April marks the 4-year anniversary of small groups at Newark UPC. Who, except God, could have known how important they are in the life of this church (particularly in this season of COVID-19)!
Allow us to review our history. In April of 2017 we began with small groups meeting once a month in homes for a meal, prayer, teaching, and discussion. In April of 2018 we continued this format but increased it to twice a month. When the pandemic shut down our in-person meetings in March 2020, we took the small groups online through Webex and then Zoom.
This initial hurdle of online meetings was steep. The whole world was forced to upgrade technologically, and Newark UPC did it with grit and determination and success. Now it is time to seize the opportunity presented by this threat and adapt for the future.
Through every stage of our growth and adaptation of small groups, we have desired small groups to be the primary vehicle of learning and community at Newark UPC. We also wanted small groups to be a weekly activity in the life of our church. With the advent of COVID-19 and moving our small groups online, we realized something: the online format was effective and efficient for prayer, teaching, and discussion. We believe this realization will allow us to take yet another step forward in our small group structure. Allow us to describe the new structure below.
Each year is comprised of four quarters. These four quarters contain 13 weeks for a total of 52 weeks in the year. Beginning in April, we will have small groups throughout the entire year. There will be no more Big Group Learning. Instead, each quarter we will meet online every other week in our small groups for prayer, teaching, and discussion (just as we have during COVID-19). All small groups will meet in the evenings (Tuesday or Thursday) at the same time and in the same week. When we are able to resume in-person meetings, each small group will use the in-between weeks for sharing a meal in homes, service projects, and outings. The pastoral team will provide oversight but these specific events will be determined, organized, and implemented by each small group. They will happen on the day and time chosen by the group. Some may be during the evening, others during the day, and even others on the weekend. Again, the small group will determine, organize, and implement these activities. Finally, the 13th week of each quarter will be a church-wide potluck held on the physical campus following our Worship Service.
Put simply, we will WORSHIP together on Sunday. We will LEARN (teach and discuss) together through our online small groups. We will PLAY and SERVE the community through our in-person small groups.
This structure will allow our small groups to be a weekly part of our lives. It will facilitate growth in the small groups. It will provide our teaching staff with a sustainable schedule (removing the impediment of distance and commute time) and the ability to fully participate in their own small group.
Again, all groups will meet on either Tuesday or Thursday evening. And we will use the same Zoom meeting space for all small groups, no matter which evening you meet. You can click the direct link here or use the Meeting ID: 829 1181 1361 and the Passcode: 944226. Also, in order to balance the teaching load, we will follow the below schedule:
Tuesday Small Groups
Newark 2 (including Bear 2 & Glasgow)
Thursday Small Groups
In summary, this new structure will be implemented in two phases. Phase one will be moving all online small groups to either Tuesday or Thursday evening. This will begin the week of April 6. Phase two will be implementing small group organized play and serving meetings once in-person small groups are possible.
If you have any questions regarding this new structure, please contact any member of the pastoral team and we will answer any and all questions you have.
We are so excited about what God is doing in our midst and we thank you for being an integral part of Newark UPC.
The Pastoral Team