updates from ministers
March 30, 2020
A FEW UPDATES
Good afternoon Montgomery Church!
Thank you for joining us for our livestream gathering Sunday! It was a great time together. One of our tech providers was having issues, so you may have had some trouble loading it. If you missed it, you can view it here: https://vimeo.com/399690562. Join us again next Sunday at 10:30am.
FEED NM KIDS
We have committed as a church to provide WEEKLY snack packs for 50 kids in APS that are experiencing food instability. We are collecting items at the church office every Tuesday and Thursday 2pm - 4pm and delivering those items on Friday. Please be on the lookout for these items when you are out shopping.
ROADRUNNER FOOD BANK
We are looking for volunteers to help distribute boxes of food at the zoo TOMORROW MORNING at 7am. If you are interested, please contact Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org
Can you believer tomorrow is the one year anniversary of our ground breaking?! I'm going to do a live update tomorrow at noon walking you through the building and all that is happening. You can watch at https://montgomery.online.church/ or on our facebook page.
Be on the lookout for more ways to connect this week as we continue to be the church dispersed throughout our neighborhoods.
March 25, 2020
HOW CAN YOU JOIN WHAT GOD IS DOING?
I hope you and your family are well. With the recent expansion of the stay at home order, we are continuing to adjust how we operate as a church. The church office will be closed until April 10. We will have limited times scheduled for drop off of items and other functions. Staff will be in and out, but mostly working from home. Additionally, we will continue our live stream Sunday gatherings at least through April 10.
This morning I read an article by Ruth Haley Barton that had some great thoughts around our response to the current COVID-19 crisis. In particular, as Christians, we ask the questions:
"God, what are you doing in all of this and how can I join you in it? What are you saying and how can I hear you better? What are the works of God waiting to be revealed in me and in each of us through this COVID-19 global crisis that affects each of us so intimately and personally?"
These are some powerful questions that we need to be asking ourselves each day.
We have a few ways that you can respond today (with more to come I'm sure):
SNACK PACKS FOR KIDS
Many children in our community are dealing with food insecurity. In partnership with many other churches, we are collecting food items that can be put into gallon sized bags and distributed to children each week. We are asking for donations of THESE INDIVIDUALLY PACKAGED ITEMS. For sanitation purposes, it is best to have complete, unopened boxes of items. Donations can be dropped off at the church office on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2pm - 4pm. One great way to do this is order online from Sams Club for pick up, which doesn't require going into the store. Be on the lookout for these items each time you are at the store. Some items are more difficult to find.
Some of you are familiar with nextdoor.com as a way to connect to people in your own neighborhood. The church has an account for our immediate neighborhood and have posted notices offering help to neighbors who may need it. One way you can serve your neighbors is to sign up for an account in your own neighborhood. You can see the posts of neighbors and can post your own offer of help. We are also looking for volunteers who can help meet the needs the come up in the church neighborhood.
Find ways to stay connected with other church members, family and friends through social media, texts, calls, etc. Physical isolation does not mean we have to be isolated from one another. Make sure you like our FACEBOOK PAGE to stay connect with the church. Also make sure you are getting our weekly e-news. We are going to beef up the content in that email. If you don't get an email every Thursday at 5pm, subscribe here.
The lack of a physical gathering has had a significant impact on our weekly giving. Please continue your contributions by giving online here, using your bank's online bill pay, or mailing a check to the office.
WORSHIP WITH US SUNDAY
We will be live streaming our Sunday Gathering on Sunday at 10:30am at https://montgomery.online.church/. We will also post a recording following the live stream for those who missed it or were unable to connect.
Please stay in touch. If you need anything, please let me know. I look forward to being with you online on Sunday!
Praying that God will move in mighty ways through us and in us.
March 23, 2020
EMPTY CHAIR CAMPAIGN
I'm sure the burning question on everyone's mind has been:
"How is the Empty Chair Campaign going?"
Oh, you forgot about it? You are in good company. These have been incredibly distracting times. I totally understand that the current COVID-19 crisis is drastically impacting the financial situation of families. Some are not in a position to make a commitment, but many others are.
Right now we have pledges from 30 families how have committed to 58 chairs for their family and 57 chairs for others for a total of 115 chairs. Our goal is 325 chairs. We need to get pledges in by the end of March so that we can place our order in April to receive the chairs in June. We need to collect the money by the end of April.
You can complete the pledge form here:
There is an option to pay by credit card now, or select payment type to "pay later" to send a check or make multiple payments.
Thank you for your participation and help in getting our new building furnished!
March 17, 2020
UPDATE ON SUNDAY GATHERINGS
Hope everyone is well and adjusting to our new normal. We continue to live lives as "the church" even if we are scattered, and not gathered.
As we monitor the situation, the call for social isolation and limitations on gatherings continue. Based on the current information, we have decided to cancel our corporate in-person gatherings for March 22 and 29. Instead, we will gather virtually through a live stream worship gathering. We are hard at work to improve our streaming technology to be able to include music, prayer, and communion. We will be broadcasting live from the living room of the office at 10:30am on Sunday. Please make plans to log in on your phone or computer. We will send out more detailed instructions on how to log into the live stream in the next few days.
We have prepared family sized communion packets for you to use during the live stream. We have bags of crackers and small bottles of grape juice, as well as a guide for doing communion as a family. You can pick up these packets from the office Wednesday or Thursday, 9:00am - 4:30pm. If you are unable to get out to pick one up, please let me know and we will get one to you.
The weekly bulletin continues to be published every Thursday. You can download copies here.
Since we won't be physically passing collection trays each week, I want to encourage you to utilize our online giving here. You may also mail checks to the office at 7201 Montgomery Blvd NE 87109.
Finally, if you know of someone in our church family that is experiencing a significant need, please let me know so we can try to connect them with available resources.
Thank you for continuing to be prayerful and flexible during this time. Remember, we know how the story ends and who wins.
March 13, 2020
MORE ABOUT CANCELED SUNDAY GATHERING
These are certainly strange times. In 20 years of ministry, I have never had to have the kinds of conversations we are having about worship gatherings. Aside from the occasional snow storm, the building has always been open on Sunday. I wanted to take a moment and talk a bit more about the decision yesterday to cancel our corporate gathering this Sunday.
We have been in a series COMMUNITY where we are looking at what it means to be the church. We are not a building, but a people. Not a place, but a movement. Not an event, but a lifestyle. We are not an institution, but a family on a great adventure together. So we are not defined by a couple of hours on Sunday morning. We are not canceling "church". We are not meeting on a particular Sunday at a particular place. But we are still the people of God on mission to be a blessing to the world.
The decision for this Sunday was not made out of fear. It was not made because we don't trust God. It was not made because of a certain political agenda.
We are disciples of Jesus Christ who love God and love others. So what is the greatest expression of that love for God and love for others as it relates to this situation?
We have been dwelling in 1 Peter 2:4-12. Verse 12 says that we are to "live such good lives that . . . they may see your good deeds and glorify God..." The very next verse says to "submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human authority." The NM State authorities have banned gatherings larger than 100 people. While churches are exempt, we have decided that submission to authorities is the most loving thing we can do in this situation.
Second, love for God and others calls us to protect and care for the most vulnerable of our society. It is our understanding that COVID-19 can be spread more easily than initially thought. It can be carried by people without symptoms or mild symptoms, but spread to more vulnerable people such as the aged or those with underlying health issues. We understand that the vast majority of people who get it will be mildly affected. It is the more vulnerable that we are connected to that we are taking into consideration. Even if the vulnerable do not attend service, we still interact with them and put them at risk.
Third, there is a increasing concern in the healthcare community (which we have members heavily involved in) that a rapid spread of COVID-19 would overburden our healthcare system. The call for social isolation by experts in healthcare and crisis management is not an effort to stop the spread, but to slow it to a pace that can be properly managed. A single hospital could only handle a handful of extreme cases at a time before ICU's are maxed out. Out of concern for our healthcare community, we are choosing to follow their recommendations.
Finally, we will be spending the next few days prayerfully brainstorming ways that we can best serve our community during this time. Crisis opens up opportunity to bear witness to Christ. We are anticipating needs arising in our community in coming weeks, as well as among our members at Montgomery. There will be economic impacts for households as adjustments are made to work and school. Be on the lookout for ways you can be a missionary in your context. If you know of a specific need within our church family, please contact me or Jamie Smith.
This Sunday, Thomas (who was scheduled to preach) will be doing a Facebook Live event at 10:30am. I hope you will join us online for this time together. We will send out another email next week as we make decisions about each Sunday based on the latest information.
Continue to pray for all those that are working diligently to manage this crisis. I pray that we live lives of love for God and others, not lives of fear and anxiety.
March 13, 2020
URGENT UPDATE REGARDING THIS SUNDAY
The COVID-19 situation continues to develop hour by hour. We are doing our best to seek first the kingdom of God, while also being smart and responsible. The NM Department of Health has banned large gatherings of more than 100 people (although exempting places of worship). NM Schools have closed for the next three weeks. The CDC has recommended that senior citizens, people with serious chronic medical conditions, and those with weakened immune systems stay home. Additionally, the NM Department of Health recommends self-isolation if you have traveled to high-risk COVID-19 areas in the last 14 days (China, Europe, Japan, Iran, South Korea, Seattle, Portland, New York City, or San Francisco).
Given the current situation, we have made the difficult decision that we WILL NOT meet in person this Sunday. We are going to cooperate with state and medical officials to make our best efforts to slow down the spread of COVID-19. We will follow their recommendations on gatherings.
This is not a decision made lightly. We have been following the situation closely. Troy Greer has been in direct contact with the Secretary of Health and is in the middle of state preparations for response to the virus. While he doesn't have any new information that should cause alarm, his interpretation of the need for slowing the virus through social isolation has been helpful. Please continue to pray for our health care workers and state officials as they manage this situation.
We are working on posting some "Facebook Live" events Sunday morning to tune in to if you are on facebook so that we can gather virtually. We will reevaluate next week for following Sundays. Please help spread this word to other members who may not have email. See http://cv.nmhealth.org for the latest NM updates on COVID-19. Pray for God's protection and peace for us all.
March 12, 2020
PREPARATIONS FOR COVID-19
With the recent announcement of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Mexico, we are making preparations for how the virus may impact our Sunday gatherings. First of all, we do not need to live in fear and panic, but we do need to be smart and prepared. We are continuing to monitor the CDC and NM Department of Health for updates on the severity of the NM spread of the virus and will make adjustments accordingly. It is always our priority to create a safe and secure place for you and your family.
We will be taking the following extra precautions during this time to help keep you and your family healthy:
A team will wipe down high touch points (door handles, knobs, etc) with disinfectant before people arrive.
We will provide bottles of hand sanitizer at the entrance of each room, especially children's rooms.
We will eliminate our hospitality area (no coffee or donuts).
We will adjust communion preparation to have the bread broken into individual communion cups. As usual, all used cups are disposed of into a trash bag, reducing the spread of germs.
How you can help:
If you are sick, stay home.
Wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitizer.
Cough or sneeze into your elbow, turning away from those around you.
Avoid skin contact. Use an elbow bump or a friendly wave. Don't be offended if someone avoids a hug or handshake.
We are looking forward to a great worship gathering this Sunday. We appreciate your patience and caution as we make adjustments to our gatherings. Blessings,
March 11, 2020