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