Archive for Circuit Rider Newsletter

Building Faith Brick by Brick…New Lego Sunday School via Zoom

“Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. 

Then Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.” 

When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” 

He said further, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.” Exodus 3:1-6

In the fall of 2016, our former intern Sydney Ota (who is now a college student entering nursing school,) with my support successfully launched Lego Sunday School for the kids at church, many of whom had never been exposed to Scripture.  The curriculum is based on Building Faith Brick by Brick, by Emily Given, a dynamic and innovative approach to teaching Bible stories and Christian faith to children from kindergarten through fifth grade.  Sydney ordered our needed Lego bricks and other supplies for us, and recruited participants.

The concept is simple; hear a bible story, such as Moses with the burning bush, and then make it out of Lego bricks.  And they did!

Fast forward to 2021, and we’re still in the midst of this pandemic.  With the vaccines coming, we see the light at the end of the tunnel, but the tunnel is long.  How do we reach our youngsters and teach them our faith in this radically new context?  I can tell you!  We’re hoping to launch our own Zoom version of Lego Sunday School.  The weekly “events” will be short enough (we hope) for young attention spans, and we invite everyone with children this age to sign up.

How can you help?

To experience the full range of creativity, we will need large quantities of Lego pieces.  We are looking for hand-me-downs from families, online auction sites, etc.  Ask your kids and grandkids if they have a set to give, or donate the funds to purchase them.  Lots of extra body parts/people/figures are definitely needed, too.  Each child will be given a “baseplate” to build on, and a bowl of Lego bricks with which to build their creations, and once we settle on an agreed upon time, we’ll be ready to go.  We pray this effort will help foster an environment that invites a deepening relationship with Jesus by the children as well as the youth helpers we’ll supervise to teach it.

By God’s grace, it sounds like a win-win situation to me!

Shalom,

Pastora Robin

“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