Dear ENCOUNTER Family,
I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately. I’m hoping you’re holding up well, even with the many challenges COVID-19 has brought about. On behalf of our Elder Board and Staff, we are praying for you, and constantly listening for wisdom from God for every step we take in the days ahead.
We’re all anxious to be back in the same space, worshipping together in person. Some churches are opening up their campuses and some are saying, “we’re not opening until there’s a vaccine in sight.” And you have probably heard every imaginable position in between those two extremes.
First off, I want to remind you of something crucial. While we haven’t been meeting on campus, our church has never been closed! Hundreds of individuals and families have been gathering together online for weekend services, many small groups are meeting on Zoom, Facebook, and other platforms, plus our kids and teen ministries are providing excellent online options for connection. There are countless ways the people of ENCOUNTER have been caring for each other and serving in our community. We are very much open and operating! Never forget, WE are the church. We take Christ with us everywhere we go!
As far as reopening our campus goes, we are paying attention to every source that is out there as well as expert health care professionals right here in our own community. As we consider timing, I believe we have a couple of primary responsibilities. First, we don’t want to do anything to endanger our faith family, especially those who are at a higher risk. Secondly, we have to think about our witness in the community. Both of those factors play a major role in our timing.
There are many considerations involved in re-gathering on campus; social distancing guidelines, the very limited number of people that can gather at one time, kids ministry and childcare limitation, the warning from all sources that singing together presents a unique risk, the amount of disinfecting required after each of our services … and so forth.
Our Elder Board and leadership team are in agreement that God is not leading us to open our campus just yet. When we do, we plan on using a very simple online tool that will allow you to sign-up in advance for the service you’d like to attend. That will enable us to maximize our facility without turning people away. Also, you can rest assured that when we do re-gather as an option, we’ll be following all the recommended protocols.
Even after our campus re-opens, we will make our weekend service available online as well for those who may not be ready to gather in person. We’ll keep you right up-to-date with any new developments as we move closer to reopening. We’re really excited for our Preschool to be able to hold a summer session beginning June 15! Little steps forward!
Thank you for faithfully giving to ENCOUNTER which has enabled us to weather this challenge! We are continuing to support all our global partners and local care ministries because of your giving. Thank you too for the service and encouragement you pour out for others. “God … will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them.” (Hebrews 6:10).
The Lord is our Light, and our Salvation. He is our Shepherd and our Rock. He is with us, and we will not be shaken. He will guide us all the way through this valley.
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
ALL GROUPS and EVENTS, on campus have been cancelled. Please check back here for an updates on our schedule for the summer. Small groups are encouraged to connect and meet virtually during this time.
All STUDENT YOUTH GROUPS have been postponed until quarantine criteria changes. Follow us on Instagram #whiteflagsocial to keep up with the group and watch videos.
PARKING LOT SALE, originally planned for this year will be rescheduled for sometime next year.
CHILD DEDICATIONS, planned for Mother’s Day weekend, will be scheduled for the Fall, we’ll keep you up-to-date as we continue planning.
IF:Ventura WOMEN”S EVENT, originally scheduled for March 28, will be rescheduled with a new date as soon as possible.
ENCOUNTER PRESCHOOL is looking forward to re-opening with a summer program on June 15. We will begin with a limited number of children who are currently enrolled in full-day. More info to come!