Pastor Alycia sent this email out to the congregation on Friday, March 13.
A big huge virtual hug to each of you today (emphasis on VIRTUAL)! ? First of all, like we do before Community Prayer each week, I invite you to take a deep breath in, and then out. Breathe in…and then out.
It has been quite a week with all the news about the COVID-19 pandemic. We are facing a public health emergency, the likes of which most of us haven’t experienced in our lifetimes. (The exception would be anyone old enough to have lived through the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic).
COVID-19, the coronavirus, is a new virus and so no one has an immunity to it. There is no vaccine for it yet. We are all susceptible to it. Public Health officials estimate that over half of all Americans will be infected by the virus at some point. The goal at this moment in time is to slow the spread of the virus to help our healthcare system from being overloaded. Public health officials recommend several things to slow the spread of the virus. You can see all the recommendation from the CDC online here.
To support these efforts, we are moving to online-only worship services and gatherings. The church office will be closed through March 31. We will live-stream our worship services on our Facebook page as usual. I will lead worship with a few others, along with a few band members and volunteers to help with tech needs. The church will NOT be open to anyone NOT leading the service. See the section below on how to find us on Facebook. You do have to have a Facebook account to be able to view the videos. You can watch the video live, or you can watch it at any time in the future. All our previous worship services are located on our Facebook page in the video section.
What Can I Do?
- PRAY. Pray for healthcare workers on the front line of this pandemic, pray for public health officials, pray for those affected by the virus, pray for those who are feeling triggered by this pandemic and being reminded of the AIDS crisis, pray for calm and peace and healing and innovation in the midst of this situation.
- Reach out to each other. Social isolation and depression is going to be an issue for many of us. We have technology that can connect us. Text people you know, or better yet, call them. You can even use a video option in Facebook Messenger, or Skype, or WhatsApp, or FaceTime to make the connection more personal.
- Ask for help. If you need support, please let us know. You can request help from the Congregational Care team through this form on our website. (You can find the link under the “Resources” menu). When you fill it out, it goes to Congregational Care Team leader and Pastor Alycia.
- Offer your help. If you are willing to help reach out to others through text or calls, please let me know. If you are willing to help someone else set up Facebook or Zoom on their device, also please let me know. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Watch our Facebook page, Twitter feed, and Instagram feed for ways to connect and online gatherings.
- And stay tuned. We will be sharing any ways we learn about that we can help the most vulnerable in our community.
This is an opportunity for us to be Christ’s hands and feet in a literal way for each other. We can support each other and our neighbors during this time of COVID-19. We are a community in person AND we have many tools to help us sustain that community online.
Take care of yourself.
Ask for help as you need it.
Reach out to each other.
We are here for you today and in the days ahead.
Join the Lenten Study: Entering the Passion
I will continue to offer the Lenten study on Monday evenings at 7 pm on Zoom. Anyone and everyone is welcome to join us for that, even if you have not previously been able to participate. You can also just join in even if you don’t have the book. We are reading the book Entering the Passion: a Beginner’s Guide to Holy Week by AJ Levine. The group also includes videos of AJ Levine discussing each week’s topic, as well as personal reflection and group discussion.
You can purchase the e-book version of our study online. If you purchase it through the Amazon Smile portal with Pikes Peak MCC as your designated charity, a portion of the purchase goes to our church – bonus!!
Tips For Watching Worship On Facebook
- Find Pikes Peak MCC on Facebook
- Find all our videos on our Facebook page here. You can also find the link to all our videos on the menu found on the left side of the page.
- Join the Pikes Peak MCC private group here.
- A private group means that only people in the group can see your posts and no one else.
Tips for Setting Up and Using Zoom
We use Zoom for meetings and classes, like the Monday evening Lenten study we are doing right now. We might have pop-up sessions for prayer or meditation or just to check-in. We also might use Zoom as an alternate option for streaming worship services. We will let you know about those sessions through the church’s email, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts.
Here’s how to get set-up to use Zoom:
- Download the app on your smartphone or tablet. Zoom sets it all up for you with only one click. On iPhones, you can find it in the App Store. On Android phones, you can find it in the Google Play store.
- To join the a meeting once you’ve downloaded and set Zoom up, simply click on the link to the meeting.
- Then enable your video, and decide whether to use your device audio (better if you have a decent internet connection), or whether you want to call in to the meeting for the audio portion. Select the option you want, and Zoom will either connect automatically through your computer or device audio, or will call in for you through your phone.
- You can test if you have it set up by clicking on this link to test your video and audio.
- Use headphones, if at all possible. The microphone on a headphone or earbuds (like one that comes with most smartphones these days) is much better than trying to speak on the regular microphone.
- Plan to enter the virtual Zoom room a few minutes before the meeting start time to be have time to troubleshoot any connection issues.
- If you are not speaking at a particular moment, please mute your microphone to prevent echoing.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.
The season of Lent is the forty days before Easter (not including Sundays). It is a season of the church year which developed into a season of fasting and penitence by the sixth century. It is a season of reflecting on Jesus’ path to the cross on Good Friday. This series is based on a book by Amy Jill Levine called “Entering the Passion: A Beginner’s Guide to Holy Week.” We will explore Jesus’ experiences from Palm Sunday through Holy Saturday each Sunday during worship. We will enter into the Passion of Jesus through “freeze-framing” particular moments in his last days. We will frame his story with art from various artists throughout history, and consider how his story intersects with our own. Ultimately Jesus gives up his life on the cross, and it leads us to consider what our lives are worth. What is worth dying for? What is worth living for? What are we willing to risk as we follow Jesus and his teachings?
Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent on Wednesday, February 26, 2020. In our worship together, we will prepare ourselves for this Lenten journey by preparing the canvas of our lives, applying a base coat on which to create new works of art and new ways of seeing both Jesus’ story and our own.
Since 2017, Pikes Peak MCC has participated in “Glitter+Ash Wednesday,” a movement created by Parity, a nonprofit organization that celebrates the spirituality and religious expression of LGBTQIA people of faith. Glitter+Ash Wednesday promotes the visibility of progressive, queer positive Christians and the loving God we worship. Pastor Alycia will be offering Glitter+Ashes to anyone stopping by Pikes Peak MCC tomorrow between 1-5 pm and during the Ash Wednesday service at 7 pm.
What is Glitter+Ash Wednesday?
- Ash Wednesday is a day when Christians receive the mark of the cross on their foreheads to begin the 40 days of reflection and repentance in preparation for Easter.
- Glitter Ashes lets the world know that we are LGBTQI-affirming Christians. We are in the pews, in the pulpits and giving glitter ashes in the street to those who either may not have time to go to a church—or may have been rejected by a church.
Why are you doing this?
- The public face of Christianity is often a face of intolerance — especially toward LGBTQI people.
- There are millions of Christians who believe that the Gospel commands us to love, not hate. Glitter ashes are a witness to an inclusive Christian message.
- It is commonly believed that the God of Christianity condemns LGBTQI people. This is Christian “fake news” not the Good News of Jesus.
- Christian condemnation is toxic, doing vast damage to queer people, especially to queer youth—and to their families who are told they should reject their children.
- By becoming visible, we show our faith in God who empowers us and wants us to repent of hurting each other. We want people to see how important our faith is to us.