June 24, 2020
Dear Encounter Family,
A few weeks ago, Pastor Daniel gave you an update on our campus reopening issues and plans. We continue to monitor conditions and listen to advisors. And we have made some progress. Our preschool is back to its normal summer schedule! We’re working with small group leaders to open the campus for groups to meet, both inside and out. And we’re glad to see things continue to improve in the community, with beaches, parks, restaurants and stores reopening.
Right now, big gatherings with many people in close contact remain challenging. We want to be in full fellowship just like you, and we are putting together plans to do just that. Today, with the restrictions needed to do so safely – distancing, masks, no singing, limits on children’s programs and a maximum of 100 people gathering at once – we don’t think such an in-person experience would be an improvement. We have benchmarked similar churches, and the vast majority are following a similar path. We pray you will make best use of the weekend streaming and your virtual or in-person small groups until our large gatherings become more feasible. The Elders review latest developments each time we meet and will let you know of further changes. One we’re exploring now is having the band do worship in the auditorium, distanced of course, so when you stream it feels more like you are in church!
The Elders also want to update you on the pastor search. As you can imagine, like most else, the restrictions caused by Covid-19 have slowed that process. But we have now progressed to the point where the position has been advertised! Thanks to the small group leaders and others that completed the surveys that helped us craft the announcement. We are working with Agora, a consultant group with decades of experience in hundreds of pastor searches, who will be helping us as we seek the Lord’s leading. We will keep you advised of our progress.
You have also heard that Covid has led to the cancellation of Breathe, the Catalyst conference Daniel normally runs for missionary families in June. We are saddened that this important work must wait for another time. At the same time, we are blessed that it allows Daniel to continue to teach while the pastor search moves forward. Thanks to all of you that have joined Resilient small groups this summer. I’m excited to be studying Philippians with you!
We know these are challenging times, with so much change, disruption, and concern at so many levels. One verse from Paul’s great letter stands out to me, especially now:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. — Philippians 4:6-7
For the Elders,
STREAM OUR WEEKEND SERVICES
ENCOUNTER KIDS ONLINE
— Provide an ENCOUNTER Kids experience from your home at our new online space! Find age appropriate video resources as well as print materials to help lead your kids in a lesson of hope, love, and faith in Jesus.
— Join a movement of ENCOUNTER followers lifting up our church, community and world in a digital, interactive prayer time in our ENCOUNTER Prayer Facebook group from 7 – 8 pm.
— We created a digital space to Share and Respond to Needs associated with the coronavirus (COVID-19).
— Watch Lindsey’s video on ways you can give or receive help during this time.
— To partner with ENCOUNTER as we respond to coronavirus related needs, please donate through the Care Fund, located on the dropdown on our PUSHPAY link.
— Check out Pastor Jack’s video on how to partner with us in caring for COVID-19 related needs.
— Join our digital space for ENCOUNTER Prayer
— Campus is open for some small groups. All other groups are encouraged to connect and meet virtually during this time. Continue to check back here for updates as the situation evolves.
— All STUDENT YOUTH GROUPS meets each Wednesday night on ZOOM for games, a devotional, prayer and relational connection. Follow us on Instagram #whiteflagsocial to keep up with the group.
— CELEBRATE RECOVERY small groups have started meeting on campus again. Contact us for more information: for men, email Buddy at firstname.lastname@example.org; for women, email Daniella at email@example.com
— PARKING LOT SALE, originally planned for this year, will be rescheduled for sometime next year.
— ENCOUNTER PRESCHOOL will be open with in-person instruction in the fall. Contact us today to reserve your spot and hear how we are keeping students and teachers safe during this time.