COVID-19 Updates

MAY 30, 2020

Hello TLW Family and Friends!

This email contains several important updates about our corporate worship at The Living Well! To view my video update, click HERE.

As you all know, we have been navigating strange waters for these past 12 weeks or so! Every aspect of life has been touched by the Coronavirus pandemic, including our worship and faith community at TLW.  As leaders, we have been diligently monitoring the situation, while continuing to encourage new and creative ways to “be the church” where we live.

But it has sure been challenging, hasn’t it? I am glad to say the “season” is changing!

Tomorrow (May 31) we will once again worship online. TLW is offering a 30-minute home worship experience on our website (find the Sunday Toolkit tab), following which you are invited to join our brothers and sisters at Hope Reformed for their live-stream service at 10:00 (you will find a link on our website). OR, if you have been reading along with us in the 50-Day New Testament Adventure, you might want to view the two stunning Bible Project videos deciphering the book of Revelation.

Then, on Sunday June 7, we will finally begin meeting together once again! Remaining mindful of the continued health risks from COVID-19, however, this will be an outdoor only experience. You are invited to bring lawn chairs and sit in appropriately socially distanced family units. OR, you can stay in your vehicle and listen to the service on your car radio.

There will be NO RESTROOM FACILITIES and NO CHILDREN’S MINISTRY program as we get back together initially–although we will be providing children’s activities for our kiddos–so please make your plans accordingly.  If for some reason you feel uncomfortable returning at this time, or if you are not feeling healthy yourself, you will still be able to celebrate with us by joining our live stream on Facebook.

Are we going to do everything perfectly? Are we going to get everything just right? Probably not! But we will do everything we can to return to corporate worship safely, graciously, and sensitively. Please help us by observing personal hygiene guidelines, appropriate social distancing, and wearing a mask when engaging with other worshipers. We have been using the CDC guidelines for opening churches, and you can find those guideline HERE.

I am excited to see all of you again! Let’s contiinue to pray that God will guide us and protect us as we seek to honor him by worshiping Him in spirit and truth. If you have any questions or concerns, I would be happy to address them as much as I am able. Please contact me at philip@thelivingwellkzoo.org. I hope to see you again June 7. God bless you all!

Pastor Philip

MAY 1, 2020

Dear TLW family and friends,

MAY DAY! MAY DAY! MAY DAY!

Yes, it’s May Day, which is an ancient celebration of Spring on May 1st. But of course, “May Day” is also a cry for help in times of distress, so it seems both meanings fit our current situation! Here at TLW, we continue to face the challenge to “be the church” and “share the life” in the midst of the pandemic, but we are confident that our God is still on His throne and still in control. So, with the Apostle Paul we are able to declare, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Cor. 4:8-9)

In cooperation with the Governor’s mandate to “stay home, stay safe, save lives,” we are continuing to suspend all live services and activities at 5475 Ravine until further notice. But that doesn’t mean we are at a standstill.

We continue to offer weekly live-stream worship, discipleship resources and service opportunities on our website. And we invite you to join us in our 50-Day New Testament Adventure, reading through the New Testament together and sharing our insights and questions between now and May 31. For more information and our 50-Day reading plan, just click the link. We encourage you to use this time to press into God’s word and stay connected. Please feel free to contact us with any questions, concerns or needs you may have. And may God richly and unexpectedly bless you during this time.

Pastor Philip

APRIL 12, 2020

Dear TLW family and friends,

HAPPY EASTER!

The coronavirus pandemic has not dampened our enthusiasm for celebrating Jesus’ resurrection, nor has it diminished our hope for the future blessing that His resurrection promises to anyone who believes!

We hope you can remain connected to one another and connected to God during this difficult time. Here at TLW, we are as serious about our commitment to “Share the Life” as we ever have been.  Unfortunately, the pandemic has made physical connectedness impossible, and that will remain the case for some weeks to come. In response to our concerns for the life and well-being of our TLW family and friends, we are suspending all “in-person” meetings, activities and services through May 10. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation regularly and will keep you informed of any new information here.

Although we may be socially isolated for many more weeks to come, we must strive to remain spiritually connected in new and different ways. To that end, we invite you to join us in our 50-Day New Testament Adventure. We will be reading together and sharing our insights and questions between April 13 and May 31. For more information and a 50-Day reading plan, click the link below. May God richly and unexpectedly bless you and all of his children during this time.

Pastor Philip

APRIL 5, 2020

Dear TLW family and friends,

Welcome to the week known as “Holy Week” or “Passion Week.” If you were visiting this website expecting to get an update on the COVID-19 pandemic and what we as a faith community at The Living Well are doing in response to it, well…this is it!

What we are doing is moving closer to Christ in worship and prayer. You are invited to join us here, with a daily blog that will help us walk alongside Jesus as he journeys to the Temple, the Upper Room, the Garden, the Cross, and the Tomb. Along the way we will pause to reflect on our current path–a path we still share with Jesus today. And you are invited to join us for an Easter celebration that is as hopeful as any year before–even if it is delivered online.

What we are doing is continuing to care for each other and stay connected as a community. Checking in, reaching out, prayering FOR each other and finding creative ways to pray WITH each other.

What we are doing is continuing to listen to the needs and concerns and fears of people around us who are struggling to embrace the coming joy of Easter morning, struggling to stay patient in a time of shelter in place, struggling to find hope and faith in dark and troubled times.

Although we may be socially isolated for many more weeks to come because of this crisis, we must strive to remain spiritually connected. I can’t help but think of the many, many times in the life of the church where, “stay safe, stay inside” was the only option for followers of Jesus. But during those times–of war, or persecution, or pestilence–the church of Jesus Christ has always strived to remain, “joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12). This is one of those times. May we find peace in following Jesus together this week and in the weeks to come.

Pastor Philip

 

MARCH 29, 2020

TLW Family and Friends,

We want to keep the website updated each week as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic together. So, here is where things stand as of March 29:

Although we deeply miss our times of community gathering and worship, The Living Well will continue to suspend all officially scheduled events and activities at least until April 13, in compliance with the Governor’s executive order. In the meantime, we encourage all of our TLW family and friends to stay safe and stay connected through emails, texts, phone calls and social media platforms. 

We will continue to provide weekly worship and discipleship experience and resources  through our new “Sunday Toolkit” tab on the webpage. This includes an interactive Home Worship Service with sermon, scripture, worship songs, family activities, giving and serving oppotunities and more. The toolkit will be available every Sunday morning by 9:00am.

For any other pastoral needs or concerns, please feel free to contact me at philip@thelivingwellkzoo.org

Please pray for our communities, nation and world during this time of uncertainty and fear. You are encouraged to join with other Christian congregations to observe an area-wide prayer time on Sunday morning at 11:00am. Those details are included in the Sunday Toolkit as well. We pray this time will bring us closer together in purpose and faith!  Even as we feel separated physically, our God is a Father who provides emotional and spiritual communion for his family. Stay close, stay safe, stay calm. He is in control!

Pastor Philip

March 20, 2020

TLW Family and Friends,

We want to keep the website updated each week as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic together. So, here is where things stand as of March 20:

TLW is continuing to suspend all officially scheduled events and activities through April 11.  This includes Worship gatherings, Share the Life groups, and Mom’s Share the Life; and all regularly scheduled meetings during that time. 

We will continue to provide worship and discipleship resources / experiences through our new “Sunday Toolkit” tab on the webpage. Sermon, family activities, announcements, giving and serving oppotunities and more will be available every Sunday morning before 9:00am.

We encourage ministry teams and groups to consider meeting via online platforms, and we urge all of our family to stay connected through phone calls, social media and whatever other safe and appropriate means are available.

For any other pastoral needs or concerns, please feel free to contact me at philip@thelivingwellkzoo.org

I pray this time will bring us closer together in purpose and faith!  Even as we feel separated physically, our God is a Father who provides emotional and spiritual communion for his family. Stay close, stay safe, stay calm. He is in control!

Pastor Philip

March 16, 2020

Good afternoon! You might think that’s a strange way to greet you in these strange days we are living through, but I am reminded today (just like every other “normal” day) that “This is the day that the Lord has made [so] let us rejoice and be glad in it!” (Psalm 118:24) I invite you to receive this day and every day as a gift from your Heavenly Father.

I wanted to update all of our TLW family and friends on what we are doing as a church in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. I am persuaded that a certain measure of continuity and predictability in “church life” might help counter the uncertainties we are facing everywhere else. So, here is where things stand:

TLW is cancelling all officially scheduled events and activities this week and next week (March 16-29). This includes Sunday Worship services, Share the Life groups, and Mom’s Share the Life; as well as scheduled meetings with the Finance Team, Leader Team and STL Group facilitators.

These measures seem severe, but they are in compliance and support of current community health and government recommendations we are receiving.

SO WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR TLW?

For the time being we need to STEP BACK from our typical rhythms and routines. This will allow us space to STEP OUT in care and concern for others. And through it all we will need to STEP UP in terms of our prayers, giving, and communication.

Worship / Discipleship – For the next two weeks the current sermon, song selections and family devotion resources will be available on the website by Sunday morning at 9:00am. I encourage you to gather as a family or with a (healthy) group of friends and “do and be” church together. Your Share the Life Group study guide will also help keep you on track with Jesus’ “Best Sermon Ever!”

Pastoral Care – If you are in need of pastoral care, or if you encounter unforeseen difficulties of any kind due to the COVID-19 situation (or anything else) please do not hesitate to contact me at philip@thelivingwellkzoo.org. I am happy to meet with you via phone call, or in person as long as I remain healthy. Our plan is to try to check in as much as possible as staff, STL Group facilitators and Team Leaders. This is a good time to communicate / check in with all of your friends and family at TLW.

Outreach / Service Opportunities – We are staying in contact with local aid agencies, like Christian Neighbors and the Alamo Foundation. Remember that organizations like these are currently strained for resources as they try to help people navigate the situation. We will try to keep you informed of any “official” opportunities to help. In the meantime, check on your neighbors, older acquaintances, friends and family.  Be willing to step out, step up, and help.

I pray this time will bring us closer together in purpose and faith.  Even as we feel separated physically, our God is a Father who provides emotional and spiritual communion for his family. Stay close, stay safe, stay calm. He is in control!

Pastor Philip

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