If you prefer to print the newsletter, you may download it here: Printable May 2020 . Because all events and meetings are postponed until further notice, there is no calendar included this month. Please check online for updates.
“Are We There Yet?”
By Dave Hendrickson, Lead Pastor
As many of you know, this summer, my family and I took ten days to move across the U.S. as we transitioned from Pittsburgh to Longview. So, as you can imagine, it was not uncommon to hear the old familiar question all parents hear while traveling, “Are we there yet?” “There” typically referred to our next destination, the next rest stop, restaurant, hotel, place of interest, etc. Why did they constantly ask? They wanted to get out of the car, unbuckle from the restriction of their seatbelts. They wanted to stretch their legs, run around, breathe in the fresh air.
This past week I have found myself asking the same question, “Are we there yet?” Are we at a place where the COVID-19 “curve” has been flattened? Can we gather with our friends and family? Are we able to go out and sit down for dinner? When will we be able to grab coffee with a friend? Are we able to gather in the sanctuary for fellowship, worship, and prayer? I want to be set free from the restrictions! I want to be “unbuckled” from my house. I want to stretch my “social” legs, I want to hang out with people. I want to breathe the “fresh air” of community once again!
As I pondered the “Are we there yet” question, I was reminded of Paul’s letter to the Philippians when he said, “I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6). Unfortunately, many followers of Jesus think they have reached their destination when they accept Jesus for who he is and what he has done for them. It is like they jump in Jesus’ car, buckle their seatbelts and are ready to just enjoy the ride.
But that is not what Paul is inferring here. Paul describes us as “partners” for the gospel. As followers of Jesus, we are in partnership with him to share, spread, and proclaim the gospel. Not to just sit in the car all buckled up and cozy. Jesus’ proverbial car is not the destination!
Later in Philippians, Paul says, “For to me to live is Christ, and die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me…I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account” (Phil. 1:21-24). Paul knows life with Jesus does not mean just sitting idle and waiting for his return. As followers of Jesus, we are to live as Jesus did sharing the hope, love, promises, and grace of the gospel! We are partners with Christ!
So as we eagerly await the removal of the COVID-19 restrictions, it is my hope and prayer that as followers of Jesus we do not remain “buckled in” with Jesus, asking, “Are we there yet?” Let us be like the psalmist and say, “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. ” (Psalm 138:8a).
Elder Meeting Highlights
Because of postponements due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the March Elders business meeting was postponed until March 31 and was held via a Zoom meeting. Discussion was held regarding potential changes to summer worship, with further discussion slated for the next meeting.
Dave shared that LvCC is being considered as a “family reunification site” in the case of emergencies in Longview and Kelso school districts. The Elders agreed to form a new Personnel Committee consisting of the Vice Chairman of the Elders and at least two, but no more than three other elders. Treasurer Randy Sundberg shared that LvCC received a substantial anonymous donation of stock from an estate. The SWWA Symphony and Chorale Christmas concerts were approved for Dec. 12 and 13, 2020.
At the April business meeting, held via Zoom on April 21, the Elders continued the discussion about summer worship, recognizing that there may still be limitations in place regarding the number of people allowed to gather. Dave explained that we will likely continue utilizing Facebook Live to share the service, but the Elders are also considering other ways to meet in smaller groups as the restrictions are gradually lifted.
It was decided that the Annual Congregational meeting, usually held on the first Wednesday in May, would be postponed or possibly cancelled. There is no need this year for voting, as all of the Elders are serving at least until 2021, and the Deacons are now appointed by the Elders. There was a suggestion to have a “state of the church” presentation via Facebook Live instead of the Annual Meeting and Dave said he would discuss it further with the staff.
The next Elders meeting will be the “vision” meeting scheduled for May 5. ~ph
Holy Week at LvCC
We were not able to celebrate Lent and Easter this year in the “traditional” way, but we were still able to share several meaningful moments of preparation and worship during the week leading up to Easter Sunday. It began after the online worship service on Palm Sunday with a drive-through distribution of palm branches. People were encouraged to drive or walk through the stations in the church parking lots and take branches for their family to use, either at home as they talked about Palm Sunday together or possibly to carry as they walked and prayed through their neighborhood. On Thursday, Phil led a reflective, Taizé-style “Facebook Live” Maundy Thursday worship and prayer service from the Chapel. People were also encouraged to sign up to pray at home for an hour during the 24-hour Prayer Vigil that lasted from 8 p.m. Thursday to 8 p.m. Friday. Then at noon on Good Friday, Dave utilized Facebook Live to share the last words of Jesus on the cross. On Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, many people stopped by to decorate the floral cross as usual with many beautiful flowers. Finally, on Easter morning we “gathered” to view the online Easter worship service that featured the playing on the organ of the favorite Easter songs “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today” and “Because He Lives”, followed by a time of worship led by the worship team. Dave then shared the Word from Mark’s account of the resurrection, asking the question “How will you end the story?” The service, and Holy Week, concluded with the playing on the organ of “The Hallelujah Chorus”!
While none of us know when, or if, life will return to “normal”, we do know that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow and we will ALWAYS find a way to “gather” as a church family to celebrate and proclaim Him as Lord and Savior! Amen!
Youth: “Plugged In”
By Kyle Beasley, Interim Director of Youth
SPOTLIGHT on our intern, Matt Avalon (written by our other intern, Ella Millikan)
Hey everyone! Meet one of our summer interns, Matt!! Matt attended a college in Tennessee called Vanderbilt after graduating high school, and he is now planning on attending Portland Bible College in the fall to get his degree in Children’s Ministry. The 3 biggest reasons Matt is most excited for this internship position are because he wants to be able to minister to students in a church environment (compared to the more secular environment that he normally works in), he’s excited to learn from people wiser than him, and to spend more time engaging in conversations with people about the LORD! In case you wanted to know some super fun facts about Matt, don’t worry because we have you covered! Matt enjoys playing tennis, sleeping, and eating tacos. He also prefers dogs over cats, and can recite all the capitals and countries of the world. We are so excited to have Matt join the Longview Community Church family!
Youth Group—Wednesday, 7:00pm
We are using Zoom to connect each week, and getting creative about how to play games, worship, and study God’s Word online. One week we had “Bring Your Pet to Youth Group” Night. We have also been hosting movie nights using Netflix Party and playing games together with Jackbox.tv. It’s always great to see everyone!
Every day on our Plugged In Youth Instagram we are posting one minute videos of leaders and students reading through scripture and giving a thought for the day. This gives us a great opportunity to see each other even when we can’t be together. Right now we are reading through Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible. It’s going to take a while! Follow us (Plugged In Youth) on Instagram or friend us on Facebook. We are also using the Bible App to do a daily Bible Study together. If you would like to join, friend Longview Community Youth on the Bible App.
Verona and Kirus
You never know when the social distancing gnomes, Verona and Kirus, might show up in your yard! If you find them, take a picture with you and your family and post it to Facebook or Instagram and then tag Plugged In Youth and Longview Community Church. Once they’ve lived in your yard for 48 hours, place them (with their sign) in a friend’s yard. Who knows where they’ll end up?!
Camp Attitude—July 11-17
Now is the time to get registered. Camp Attitude is our summer missions experience. We provide a camp experience for kids with special needs and their families. All ages are needed to go and serve. You can register on the Camp Attitude page found on the church website or just click the following link.
As of now, all three of our summer camps are still happening. You can find all the information about camp on the LvCC website or in our weekly Plugged In! News email. Put these dates on your calendar, and remember our camps in prayer!
July 6-11, The Dunes—Middle School Camp
July 11-17, Camp Attitude—our mission camp
July 27-31, Tilikum—High School Camp
By Mary Gronseth, Interim Director of Children’s Ministry
Well, this has been an interesting and exciting month, but Spring is here and the beauty of our area has popped out. I just love the colors of Spring and the beauty they bring us!
How do we do ministry when we can’t physically have the kids around us? Lots of people–teachers, pastors and others–have been exploring that topic and figuring out how to make it work. The staff, Elders, small groups and ministry teams at LvCC have learned how to meet over Zoom. It’s a different way to meet, but it’s so great to have that face to face contact.
I have been looking at different ways to connect with kids. I have loved doing porch drop offs for many of our kids. It is so fun to see some familiar faces and get to wave to kids. Kids love to get mail! That is another way to let them know I am thinking about them.
Reading stories to kids on Facebook Live has been another way to make a connection. I did my first Zoom meeting with preschoolers! We had 6 preschoolers on. It was the best!!! We talked a little and I got to hear what they had been up to. I then read a story and did a finger play. I am going to try to do a Zoom each Saturday morning for awhile and rotate between preschool and K-5. If your kids want to be part of that, send me an email with the email address I would connect to and I will send you an invitation. They will love seeing their friends from church!
I have some news to share that will probably not be a surprise to you. Due to the social distancing restrictions, we are having to postpone (until next summer) our Rocky Railway VBS. This was not a decision we wanted to make, but know it’s necessary. I look forward to spending time with our kids when we are able. I appreciate the support of each of you. Your prayers and words of encouragement are such a blessing!
History: VBS Through the Years
By Shirley Edstedt for the History Committee
Given what is going on in the world around us at the moment, those of us on the History Committee thought that it might be a good idea if we were all reminded of what our church has meant to the community over the years. We have been sorting through and editing down the records of 60+ years of LvCC Vacation Bible School, so what better way to start than how the church has impacted the children we served.
Since at least 1954, when existing records begin, LvCC has provided the children of our community a fun, safe haven for 1-2 weeks every summer. The children came from our church, other churches or even from no church background whatsoever. In the beginning VBS lasted for 2 weeks and included 4th-6th grade students. From about 1954 through 1960 there were from 30 to 45 children and fewer than 10 volunteers. By 1960 kindergarten and primary grades were added to the school. As the years progressed, attendance increased from a handful to, at its peak, over 200 students and 100 volunteers!
The students learned about the love of Jesus, the Word of God and the importance of loving their neighbor as themselves. Every year there was a focus on missions with the children learning about the importance of giving of themselves and financially to others in need – in our community and around the world.
The first mission, in 1954, supported migrant workers. Over the course of two weeks children brought their pennies and nickels and collected over $5. In addition to the money collected, they made decorated wash cloths that were included in health kits for the workers.
In later years, missions ranged from helping to fund a Landcruiser for our missionary to Gabon, Africa, Grace Nelson, to supporting Longview FISH. Their contributions also helped to purchase Bibles and Christian Education materials for Kake, Alaska. My personal favorite is the year the children’s offerings went to the Heifer Project International. They collected enough funds to purchase 2 cows, 1 water buffalo, a goat, a pig, rabbits, honeybees, and 2 flocks of chickens!
Skits and elaborate decorations were always a large part of the curriculum, too. There are many pictures available to look through in the museum that show just how much fun the children and the volunteers had with their crafts.
Many of the children are adults, even seniors now. Looking back at pictures and records makes us wonder how many of those who attended have fond memories of LvCC VBS. Of songs and games, sharing the love of God and even meeting Jesus for the first time. How many of those children drive past now, whether to attend a service or just in passing, and remember how, for just a short time every summer, they lived a carefree life of joy?
Just this brief glimpse into its rich history serves to remind us how greatly LvCC has impacted our community over the years – and for years to come. In a time of upheaval in our world may we, just for a brief moment, reclaim that childlike joy. Stop by the museum after services resume and take a look at some of our pictures and be a child again – just for a little while.
This and That
The Annual Congregational Meeting, usually held the first Wednesday of May, has been postponed due to the COVID-19 restrictions. We will notify you if/when it is rescheduled.
Thank you for your continued financial support! Several of you have been utilizing our online giving option and we appreciate that. For your information, the church does pay fees to process these contributions as follows:
Credit/Debit cards: 2.9% + $.30/transaction
ACH Bank Transfer: 1% + $.25/transaction
Bill Pay set up through your bank incurs no fees to the church. Please take this into consideration when you set up your online giving options. Thank you!
A Trustees fund provides scholarships for people wanting to study for a career in Christian service. Applications are available from the Church Office and are being accepted through June 30. Contact Bob Gaston, Trustees chairman at 360-425-9417 or email@example.com with questions. The Trustees scholarship is separate from the Hoffman Scholarship, which is for graduating high school seniors who will be attending college. For information on the Hoffman program, contact Pastor Dave.
The large-print Daily Bread devotionals for April/May/June are available from the church office. If you were not able to pick up one before we stopped gathering at church, we would be glad to mail it to you. We also still have a few of the regular size for March/April/May. Please call the Church Office or email firstname.lastname@example.org and specify which version you would like.
If you, or someone you know, are in need of assistance during this time, please contact Pastor Phil at 360-703-4770. He and the Deacons are working to provide food, help run errands, give financial assistance, and provide spiritual and prayer support to those who request it.
The Prayer Chain is still active! If you have a prayer request or praise, please email it to: email@example.com or call the Church Office. Also, please let us know if you have updates on previous requests, as it is helpful and encouraging for us to know how to better pray or to praise God for answers!
Dear Church Family:
THANK YOU for the phone calls, cards, flowers, home visits, and most of all your prayers. You have made my days brighter during these treatments. PRAISE THE LORD! ~Love, Jean Turner
Thank you for the many emails, cards and continual prayers for Jim as he deals with cancer. It is such an encouragement to know the love and support from such a wonderful church family. Jim is already seeing good results from his treatments! ~Patty and Jim Howland
MAY MISSIONS FOCUS:
Child Evangelism Fellowship
YTD INCOME: $166,938
YTD EXPENSE: $170.858
Thank you SO MUCH for your faithful generosity to keep Mission and Ministry growing and healthy at LvCC! ~The Elders