Virtual Pajaro Valley CROP Hunger Walk // Caminata Virtual Contra el Hambre del Valle de Pajaro

Registration and Donations to Virtual Pajaro Valley CROP Hunger Walk is now open: https://www.crophungerwalk.org/watsonvilleca/ #CropWalk #endhungernow #VirtualCROPHungerWalk #fighthunger

La inscripción y las donaciones para la Caminata Virtual Contra el Hambre del Valle de Pajaro ya están abiertas: https://www.crophungerwalk.org/watsonvilleca/ #CropWalk #endhungernow #VirtualCROPHungerWalk #fighthunger

“Safe Havens” Event // Evento de “Refugios Seguros”

On Saturday, September 26, 2020, at 10:00 am, ECR District United Methodist Women are hosting a Zoom online meeting, “Safe Havens: Encouraging Healthy Relationships at Home.” It is focused on women and children experiencing violence in the home. Please register online here, https://elcaminorealumw.org/havens-2020/
 
El sábado 26 de septiembre de 2020, a las 10:00 am, Las Mujeres Metodistas Unidas del Distrito de ECR organizarán una reunión en línea de Zoom, “Refugios seguros: fomento de relaciones saludables en el hogar”. Se centra en mujeres y niños que sufren violencia en el hogar. Regístrese en línea aquí, https://elcaminorealumw.org/havens-2020/
 

COPA: Police & Safety House Meeting // Reunion Casera de COPA Sobre Seguridad y la Policia

Just a friendly reminder, tomorrow, September 23rd the Lutheran Community Church will host their house meeting on police and safety at 6:30 pm via Zoom. If you haven’t already, please register with the link below.
 
Lutheran Community Church – 9/23 at 6:30pm
Pre-Registration Required: http://bit.ly/Police-SafetyHM2
 
Solo un recordatorio amistoso, mañana, 23 de septiembre, la Iglesia de la Comunidad Luterana organizará su reunión casera de COPA sobre seguridad y la policía a las 6:30 pm a través de Zoom. Si aún no lo ha hecho, regístrese con el enlace adjunto.
 
Iglesia de la Comunidad Luterana – 9/23 a las 6:30 pm
Se requiere preinscripción: http://bit.ly/Police-SafetyHM2 

 
 

“This Is God’s Holy Ground”

“When the Egyptians treated us harshly and afflicted us, by imposing hard labor on us, we cried to the Lord, the God of our ancestors; the Lord heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression.  The Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with a terrifying display of power, and with signs and wonders; and [the Lord] brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.”   Deuteronomy 26:6-9

The Old Testament of the Bible includes a book of law called Deuteronomy, which gives the history of our Christian faith and how we should live.  It includes the history of Jesus’ ancestors, the Jewish people, and how they suffered terribly.  The people of Israel were deported, taken into slavery, ultimately exiled, and roamed, lost in the desert. 

Dealing with the fires in this time of pandemic is making our lives, and the lives of many others, extremely challenging.  Some of us feel lost, too! 

This of course is why we need each other now more than ever.   It’s why these days we worship God virtually through our weekly Online Gatherings, and witness to God’s saving grace in whatever creative ways we can come up with.  It’s why Jesus makes all the difference, especially now.  Our lives include hard times, and we need help—holy help that is!  These Bible stories of faith give us courage to face these disasters.  In God’s love, we can begin to leave our pain and messed-up selves behind. 

No wonder this Scripture from Deuteronomy speaks to us.  We could use a land flowing with milk and honey about now!  Not in excess, but at least enough to get by and share with our neighbors.  Which brings us to our survey. 

Reopen Church Survey Results In! What Happens Next?

Thank you to the 50+ people who responded to our Reopen Church Survey about returning to in-person worship and programs.  Our leaders will be meeting to review the data, offer their feedback, and lay the groundwork for our next steps.  Here are a few highlights of our survey results:

  • We had survey respondents in every age category from Under 18 (11%) to 75+ (26%).
  • 100% of you who’ve worshiped with us online indicated that this experience has met or exceeded your expectations.
  • When we asked when you would feel comfortable coming back to in-person worship, 10% said “Immediately,” 6% said about now (August or September,) 52% ranged from later this year to April 2021, and 26% said longer than a year from now.
  • 64% who took the survey indicated they would not return to an in-person worship service until there was a vaccine or treatment for COVID-19 becomes widely available.

This week, Governor Newsom announced that California has a new “Four Tier” blueprint for reducing COVID-19 with revised criteria for loosening and tightening restrictions on activities, as directed by the California Department of Public Health.  Our Bishop Minerva Carcaño has also confirmed that our Cal-Nevada Conference protocols for reopening are still in place, and all local church plans must be approved before implementation. 

We will adhere to these guidelines. 

In the meantime?  This is God’s holy ground, and God’s holy church.  And whether you realize it or not, we are God’s holy people.  All of us.  A broken, lost people, in need of redemption, and God’s help. 

We have much to be thankful for, even in this time of fires, evacuations, the pandemic, and other disasters.  We have each other.  And what about the riches of our lives?  What are we to do with our bounty?  Share it with others, that’s what!  Starting with the first fruits.  They go to God. 

This is the promise and affirmation of salvation.  This is what we mean by a land flowing with milk and honey.  You my friend are standing on holy ground.  Thank God! 

Shalom,

Pastora Robin

 

COPA Police and Safety House Meeting // Reunión Casera de COPA Sobre

Don’t forget to register for tomorrow’s COPA Police & Safety House Meeting! Pre-Registration is Required: https://bit.ly/Police-SafetyHM1

¡No olvide registrarse para la Reunión Casera de COPA Sobre Seguridad y la Policía de mañana! Se requiere registración previa: https://bit.ly/Police-SafetyHM1

 

Evacuation! God is My Rock and My Salvation Online Gathering

In light of the fires raging in California, we’re inviting you to join us for Evacuation! God is My Rock and My Salvation, Sunday, August 23, 2020, premiering at 10:00 am, and available thereafter at our Facebook and YouTube pages, as I tell the story of how I have been evacuated from my home. As the Scripture says: “For God alone my soul waits in silence; from God comes my salvation. God alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall never be shaken.” (Psalm 62:1-2) The question is whether we really believe it.

River Fire, August 16, 2020

Do you want to help? Here are suggestions from the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County:

If you’re in the Santa Cruz County area, you can:
1. GIVE SUPPLIES
Due to COVID-19 considerations, the County requests that all donations be in new condition. Please bring all donations to the Santa Cruz County General Services Warehouse at 1082 Emeline, Santa Cruz.

SHELTER ITEMS: Large, family-sized tents, Sleeping bags, sleeping pads, Blankets, Pillows, & Tarps
WATER AND SNACK ITEMS: Bottled water, Granola/energy bars, *Other food donations may be brought to Second Harvest Food Bank
PERSONAL ITEMS: Hand sanitizer, Personal hygiene products, Toiletries, Large plastic storage bins, Coloring books, crayons, *Clothing and other personal item donations please bring to the nearest Goodwill
HYGIENE SUPPLIES: Surgical masks, Empty spray bottles (for county-supplied bulk disinfectant)

2. DONATE TO THE FIRE RESPONSE FUND
Any donation size will help. Make an online donation to the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County here. 100% of donors’ gifts will be used for grant making. All donations are tax-deductible.

And if you’re in the area:
3. VOLUNTEER
Volunteer at a Fire Shelter in Watsonville, Santa Cruz or Soquel. Learn about opportunities through the Volunteer Center. Help pack and distribute food with Second Harvest.

I want to add something else. We definitely need your prayers to cope with this disaster. Please keep ’em coming!

COPA Police and Safety House Meeting // Reunión Casera de COPA Sobre Seguridad y la Policía

I Will Not Let You Go! w/Communion Online Gathering

It’s time for communion and another Watsonville First Online Gathering on YouTube and Facebook, linked at this website. This week we’re focusing on Jacob wrestling through the night in Genesis 32:22-31, with the theme: “I Will Not Let You Go!” We’ve also got new special guests and surprises in store. Be sure to get your bread and juice ready–or whatever food you have at hand, so you can join in.

As the words for communion so aptly put it: “Among the living you made and called humankind imprinting upon us your image, to be bearers of your glory in the world.  Though we failed to shine, and hid your image within us, you continued to call us into fellowship with you and to fulfill your mission for us through prophets, scriptures, priests, and a people you redeemed for yourself.”
  
What are you wrestling with this week?  God’s calling!  How will we answer?  Let’s worship God together in the name of Jesus Christ! 

Out of Many, We Are One: Love LGBTQ+ Online Gathering with Rev. Tino Cordova

I agree with one United Methodist preacher who said that the question is not whether most of us will be sexual at least some time in our lives, but whether we will be faithfully and joyfully so. Isn’t it funny that when we talk about sex, we get so nervous? Maybe it’s hard for us to admit that God created us as sexual creatures in the first place. Yet, we’re alive aren’t we? Someone somewhere had to make it happen, and that generally has something to do with, you know it, sex!

Here at our Online Gathering, maybe it’s time we got real about sexuality, and that means accepting people of all types, including specifically LGBTQ+ folks—the way God made ‘em. And whether we feel comfortable talking about it or not, the rest of the world does, so I guess we’d better learn more about it.

It’s like the mom who very nervously sat down with her fourth grade daughter, and said, “Hon, don’t you think it’s time we had a talk about sex?” The little girl said, “Sure, Mom, what do you want to know?”

A research project by the Barna Group discussed in the book, You Lost Me: Why Young Christians are Leaving Church and Rethinking Faith, by David Kinnaman, explores the reasons why regular church-going teenagers and young adults leave the church after age 15. And they do leave the church. The answers from the study are revealing. Reason #1, according to the kids, is that churches seem overprotective. Teenagers say Christianity feels stifling, fear-based and risk-averse. One-quarter of 18- to 29-year olds said, “Christians demonize everything outside of the church….”

And that includes them.

But that’s not all. Young Christians find church experiences related to sexuality simplistic and judgmental. As the researchers put it, “With unfettered access to digital pornography and immersed in a culture that values hyper-sexuality over wholeness, teen and twentysomething Christians are struggling with how to live meaningful lives in terms of sex and sexuality.” To become a genuinely welcoming congregation means we’ve got to do more than just sit on our laurels. It’s not just being open, but affirming. We need to share our faith and welcome folks in new, innovative and Christ-like ways. Plus, it’s not just them we’re talking about; it’s us too. Our church friends and members are more diverse and interesting than most of us even know.

Join us as we explore “Out of Many, We Are One: Love LGBTQ+” at our Online Gathering online at our YouTube and Facebook pages. This message is a discussion with my friend and colleague Rev. Floren“Tino” C. Cordova, Pastor, Iao United Church of Christ, Wailuku, Hawaii on the issue of love and LGBTQ+. I know you won’t want to miss it!

Peace with Justice Online Gathering with Chief David Honda

Dear Ones:

Chief Honda kneeling at protests in Watsonville, CA.

We are celebrating “Peace with Justice,” Sunday for our Online Gathering on both our Facebook and YouTube pages. It’s a timely subject. I say, let’s get real with our faith.

My message includes an exclusive interview with David Honda, Chief of the Watsonville Police Department.

We talk about the tragic death of George Floyd, police violence, peaceful protests vs. looting, defunding the police, taking a knee and more.

I hope you’ll join us.

Yours in Christ,
Pastora Robin