CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE

UPDATED: Dec 10, 2020

As the COVID-19 situation in Ripon becomes more serious, the elders are continuing to discern how we can best care for the spiritual needs of the people of Almond Valley. We desire to do everything in our power to continue offering in-person worship services at AVCRC. With this in mind, the elders decided that face masks will be required throughout the worship services starting this Sunday, December 13. The decision was also made to forego the celebration of Communion this month, with hopes to resume monthly celebration of the sacrament in January. Please remember to judiciously self-screen for any symptoms related to COVID-19 before attending worship, and take note of the physical distancing protocols that have been in place during the past few months (sitting in alternating rows, exiting out the front of the sanctuary after worship, and socializing outdoors).

In your prayer time, please lift the following items before the Lord:

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” 1 Peter 5:6-9

UPDATED: Nov 19, 2020

During this difficult season in our lives, God promises his grace, mercy, and peace to those whose minds are fixed on Him and His will. With all the setbacks and restrictions we currently face we are tempted to forget that the Lord has faithfully provided for Almond Valley through many years of ministry. God has blessed our church with every spiritual and physical blessing that we need to continue serving him well. Read the update on our services.

UPDATED: Oct 3, 2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The State of California recently moved San Joaquin County from Tier 1 (purple tier) to Tier 2 (red tier). With this move to tier 2, churches are now officially allowed to meet indoors with certain restrictions. The AVCRC council has decided to continue holding our worship services indoors. (In the previous weeks, we had moved inside due to poor air quality.)

As we gather indoors for worship, it is important that we continue show grace and hospitality to one another. One very important way we can show love to one another is by doing what we can to ensure that our worship environment is safe and comfortable for all. By doing this, we hope and pray that we will be able to continue our regular indoor worship services from now on.

In order to continue worshipping indoors we request that:

Everyone wears a mask while entering and exiting the building (including, but not limited to the sanctuary)
The congregation continues to practice social distancing between families seated in the pews
If you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, including but not limited to the following, please do not attend worship services in person. Instead, please utilize the livestream services we provide.

The council appreciates and covets your prayers as we continue to discern God’s will for our congregation. We look forward to seeing you on Sunday.

In Christ,
Council President

UPDATED: May 23, 2020

Grace and peace to you,

Over the past two months the members of Almond Valley have been anxiously awaiting the “go ahead” to meet together in person for worship on Sunday. President Trump’s announcement yesterday (May 22) that houses of worship should be considered essential businesses is a great step in that direction. This is a development that we thank the Lord for producing.

At this time our state, county, and city authorities maintain that large gatherings are not permitted. For example, the elders checked with Ripon city police after the President’s announcement yesterday and learned that they would still cite a church for holding a worship service due to the risk that it causes to public safety.

The next step for Almond Valley is to listen to Governor Newsom’s scheduled announcement on this matter on Monday. After this, our “Re-Gathering Committee” will meet and create procedures and plans for how we should meet. The elders anticipate that this plan will be approved and distributed to the church this coming week, with a possibility that our members can attend worship in person on Sunday, May 31.

It truly has been a long and difficult two months. We desire to rejoice with those who are rejoicing, such as our high school graduates, and we want to weep with those who weep, including those who are sick and in need of prayer. Hopefully our time of separation is coming to an end soon, but until then the Lord calls us to “be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (Eph. 4:2-3)”

In Christ,

The Elders of AVCRC

UPDATED: March 17, 2020

Dear members and friends of Almond Valley,

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord, Jesus Christ.

While reading through Paul’s letters, he often writes that he would prefer to minister to his friends in person but there is some hindrance that prevents him from seeing them. His desire was to see his brothers and sisters in Christ, to preach directly to them, to enjoy fellowship with them, and to celebrate Communion with them.

Sadly, Paul’s experiences are going to become more relatable to us at Almond Valley in the coming weeks because the elders have decided, in response to the directives of state and national health officials and to show love to our neighbors who are susceptible to being severely impacted by the coronavirus, to invite all our members to worship via live stream on Sunday mornings. We will still worship together, but the only people physically present in our sanctuary will be Pastor Mark, a small praise team, and the necessary volunteers for running sound and the live stream.

The elders will keep a close eye on updates from state and national authorities to determine when we can gather again on Sundays. At this time we anticipate at least a 4 week hiatus, but we will be reevaluating the situation each week in the hopes that we can resume regular ministry activity as soon as possible.

During this hiatus, the council encourages financial giving to continue. Here are some options for giving in order of preference

Our scheduled offerings for the coming weeks are:

Keep in mind that you can always designate what you would like your offering to be put towards, whether online or in the memo line of your check.

The council, staff, and pastors of Almond Valley will continue serving the congregation in the weeks ahead. If anyone has a spiritual need (a need for prayer, spiritual direction, or a visit) please call Almond Valley at (209) 599-4331. We will try our best to care for you over the phone or in person in case of an emergency. If you have a physical need (food, daily necessities, help getting prescription medications) the deacons are ready to assist you. 

Finally, Pastor Mark and Pastor Zac will be working this week to produce content that will provide spiritual nourishment for our congregation via social media. Look for updates on the church’s Facebook page and the Youth Group’s Instagram account. While this will be a challenge, it’s also an opportunity to get creative in how spiritual care and teaching will be delivered to the members of Almond Valley. 

Please join us in praying that this lockdown will be lifted soon, so that we might once again enjoy the blessing of worshiping together in person and so that there might be peace in our nation and world. 

Romans 16:25-27, “Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him—to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.” 

The Elders of Almond Valley CRC