This Weekend's Virtual Service
July 3, 2020
"While knowledge may make us feel important,
it is LOVE that really builds up the church."
1 Corinthians 8:1
Dear Rocky Hill Church Family,
Since what I have to share with you is so important, I'd prefer you click here and watch this message on video so you can see my face and hear my voice. I'm providing this transcript for back up and I encourage you to share this with others.
There is no doubt that the pressure to reopen this country is rising. People are ready to get back to work, get back to socializing, and get back to living. No one wants to live in constant restriction. So, as your pastor, I have brought together a group of wise councilors from within the church to help guide the decision making of reopening our church doors in this chaotic time. We may have closed our doors, but the church has never closed. The church is a people. A people united to share the love of Jesus and that work, the work of the church, has never stopped. The purposes of God's church have never ceased.
So, over the last few months, myself and the council have met to prayerfully and systematically develop a plan to invite our church family back into the building in the safest way possible. After weeks of preparation, we opened our doors last weekend to welcome everyone in the safest way we could. We mandated the use of masks, the practicing of social distancing, and the proper hand sanitization. We designed one-way traffic, removed unnecessary touch points, and ushered seating. We reduced our seating capacity, equipped two overflow rooms, and postponed our children’s ministry to all help our church return safely. All of this has been in love for the church family.
But, with all the precautions taken, we have some unfortunate news to share. One of our staff members has notified the church staff that they are currently under self-quarantine as they await testing results of COVID-19. Although not confirmed, this means that everyone in attendance has been potentially exposed.
So, what does this mean? Before I answer that, let me say that everything our church stands for is out of love. Our motivation for every decision is always LOVE and FAITH, not fear. Knowing that God is in control, we are not afraid of the pandemic, not afraid of the government, not afraid of failure, or criticism, or anything else! We always act out of love - for God and for the people he created - and also out of faith in God's promises.
Four Scriptures have always guided us through one crisis after another:
2 Timothy 1:7, “God has NOT given us a spirit of fear; instead he has given us a spirit of power and love and self-control!”
We are calm, confident, and compassionate in our leadership.
1 Corinthians 16:14, "Do everything out of love!"
We ask, "What is best for the people we love and serve?"
Psalm 31:15, "You are my God and my times are in your hands!"
We trust God's timing is perfect and patiently wait on him.
Romans 8:28, "We know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love him and have been called according to his purpose."
We look for the good purpose that our good God has in everything.
The reason we closed the doors in the first place was NOT out of fear, but out of love. We quarantine not out of fear, but out of love. We wear masks not out of fear, but out of love. We serve the sick and protect the vulnerable not out of fear, but out of love. Love is what drives us. Love is what builds us.
So, in LOVE, in response to our potential exposure, the rise in active cases and hospitalizations within Tulare county, and the request to postpone singing in our worship services, the council and I have decided it is the most LOVING decision to return to virtual services effective this weekend.
Remember, this is only temporary. This whole thing is only temporary. This whole life is only temporary, so let’s make the most of our time. So, in leu of in-person service, we will be having our virtual service at 9:00am and immediately following we will be offering a drive through communion until noon. Come experience a personal and meaningful communion service this Sunday. I’d love to see you.
Zoom Hangout with Pastor Dave
May 21, 2020
Can you help me with something?
May 8, 2020
Dear RH Church Family,
It's been almost SEVEN weeks since the state of California issued the stay-at-home order that prompted our congregation to move our services online. Since then, businesses have been forced to make hard decisions, over 30 million unemployment claims have been processed, schools have closed their doors, and the future of our economy is confusing. But, thankfully, we are beginning to see signs of stability. Even our state and local authorities have begun lessening restrictions that have been in place for almost two months.
The church (global and local) has had no exception to the turmoil of coronavirus but the church stood up when others sat down to become the church they were called to be.
Now is time for our congregation to join the discussion of reopening our church! This Saturday a team from our congregation along with other community representatives will be meeting to begin the process of drafting a safe, secure, and strategic plan for the reopening of Rocky Hill Church.
This process is not to be done alone, so I am asking your for your help. Below is a link to a short survey that will help us understand what, if any, changes are expected before, during, and after we choose to begin meeting in person again.
Thank you all for your continued support for our ministry at RHCC, and I look forward to seeing you at church!
Lead Pastor, Rocky Hill Community Church
When are we going back to church?
April 29, 2020
Right now our world, our country, our state, and our community is experiencing a very difficult time right now; physically, emotionally, and even economically. While there is a label, conflicting information is making it difficult to discern what that label means, the truth about that label, and who’s definition of the label to trust, especially when the information seems to be changing by the minute. Even though all the confusion, there is still hope; hope that this will be over; hope that we will get to meet in person again; hope that God has, is, and will use this all for good.
Yesterday, Governor Newsom announced a revised reintegration plan and has caused a lot of discussions. But one thing is clear, there is a path to reopening our economy. Although concerns remain about just how quickly to get “back to normal,” it is best that we, as a church family, begin thinking about our plan of “reopening” our church building.
I don’t know of any church leader who is looking to reopen with a “business as usual” or “back to normal” mindset. Churches across the country are developing well prayed about and strategically thought out reintegration procedures. If we've moved our weekend services online, when will we be able to meet physically again? When that happens, what will the church look like? Will it be the same as before or will there be changes and modifications to how we interact and worship with one another? These are all great questions that take intentional review… and time. Decisions should not, and will not, be made in haste, so bear with me in this process. Perhaps we should apply 1 Corinthians 14:40-43 to our present situation: “Let everything be done decently and in order…since God is not a God of disorder…” While the verses refer to orderliness in the worship service, the principle of orderliness in God’s house can be applied to the church’s return to its facilities.
This is our moment to celebrate our return not just to the campus, but to one another. As we return to one another on campus and in our Bible study groups, orderliness and thoughtfulness will win the day. My job as your pastor is to be the shepherd of this church. Shepherds in biblical times had to be prepared to defend the flock against predators and thieves, shielding them from danger. In addition to guiding the spiritual development of Rocky Hill Church, a large part of my role is to protect, to anticipate, and to act on behalf of the sheep entrusted to me by God. Safety is one of my highest concerns.
So in the next coming weeks, we will be releasing some of the leadership’s recommendations about returning to our campus in a safe, secure, and systemic way to best protect the flock from any preventable and unnecessary risk or danger. We are not afraid, we are proactive in taking responsible steps to ensure the health and welfare of our families, our church, and our communities.
Until then, we will be keeping our campus (Auditorium building, Kids ministry wing, and the Church administrative offices) closed until we have a plan in place. This will not last long. We are already looking into ways that we can hold multiple small services of 10-25 people in the next coming weeks.
As your pastor, I am already amazed at the work God has done in each of you through this. I have seen members become ministers and ministers become missionaries. I have seen consumers become contributors. I have seen our assembly become a church.
Who (and what) are helping this season?
April 22, 2020
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me,"Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” ― Mr. Fred Rogers
We’re all adjusting to new versions of our “normal” lives: being thrust into homeschooling (if you weren’t already), having to deal with wide-scale unemployment, and now going to church exclusively online. But like the wise Mr. Rogers, we can find comfort by looking for the helpers. And there are plenty right in our church community.
I'm sure you might know this but it takes work behind the scenes to make sure we’re prepared to worship together online on Sundays. The message, the praise set, the announcements, the elements, the social media posts, the website, the filming, the editing, the posting, the audio,... i think you get the picture. But that is just the weekend service.
Sharron Fletcher and her sister Shirley have been making masks (super cool ones at that) for friends, family, and her bible study. The entire children's ministry team (Carolyn, Christy, Raquel, and Laurel) have been following up with our children's families just to check in with the little in the house. An entire group of women have written hundreds of notes offering encouragement, a personal contact, and emotional, physical, and spiritual support to our at-risk community here in Exeter.
And you’re helping, too. Your faithful generosity in this time has helped make it possible for us to continue to worship together on Sunday and serve people in our community who are in need right now.
To see how to give online and continue supporting this ministry, click here.
If you have a need right now, we have helpers. Click here to let us know.
Corona Virus Update
April 17, 2020
Dear RH Church Family,
If you haven’t heard, Governor Newsom, in coordination with President Trump, has released the state roadmap to removing some of our stay-at-home restrictions. Click Here to see the slideshow presentation. TL; DR this is all going to last for a while.
But please hear this, too: Rocky Hill Church is not canceled. It just looks a little different.
Honestly, this isn’t the 2020 we had in mind. Navigating what church looks like during a pandemic has been a challenge, but we find hope in seeking our faithful God and knowing that nothing can cancel the Church.
Our community, our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, our fellowship is not canceled. We’ll just worship differently from where we are until we can be back together again. And we WILL be back together again. I know many of you are facing disappointment, grief, uncertainty, job loss, financial hardship, relational hardship, and other difficulties in this season too, BUT we’re all in this together and we’re here for you.
- If you have emotional, physical, or financial needs right now, please click here to let us know.
- We haven’t stopped praying for you. Please click here to update us on any prayer requests you may have.
- We’ll keep updating our website and Facebook page with the latest news about how our church is “meeting” and serving during this time.
What we won’t do:
- Meet in-person. All of our in-person events, groups, and other gatherings are on pause as we practice loving our neighbor through staying at home as much as possible.
- Panic. God is still on the throne and in control. As hard as it is to rest right now, we can choose to remember this and rest in Him.
- Waste this season. All of us have a huge opportunity to connect with people online and serve our community right now. Let’s leverage this.
What we will do:
- Stay connected. Isolation isn’t good for anyone and we’re making sure that having to be physically distanced doesn’t mean we’re completely disconnected. Check out our online service details and virtual small group information.
- Love our neighbors. There are needs inside and outside of our church that we can work together to help meet. Even if you’re not in a position to donate financially, a kind word through the phone, volunteering in local relief efforts, or spreading a hope-filled message on social media can really help.
- Remember our Hope. Our shared faith in Jesus Christ is what brought us together and will help us stick together. We should lean on and remind each other of God’s promises when we’re feeling weary.
Our church leadership is praying continuously and trusting God. We encourage you to do the same. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or concerns.