Hi Cedar Crest,
Let's get right to it!
I've mentioned the word "REOPENING" in previous emails and it really isn't a tease! The leadership of the church is actively working on a plan to reopen the building and resume in-person worship services. We don't have a date set yet, but YOU will be the first to know when we do. So keep checking your email!
I've also mentioned the word "PARTY" and this isn't a tease either. Our church family was looking forward to celebrating Tim Schaeffer's retirement in just a few weeks, however this party had to be postponed. But not without strings attached: we did not want Tim to miss out on leading the choir due to our current situation. So, he will remain a Cedar Crest employee until the Fall and then we will honor him with a retirement celebration.
In the meantime, thanks for your patience and flexibility. If you have any questions, or if there is anything we can do for you, please do not hesitate to reach out.
See you Sunday ... online!
on behalf of Elders & Pastors
Hi Cedar Crest,
How are you doing with your quarantine life? A new building for a local company is going up close to where I live and I think we all agree on the pleasure we take from construction noise! Two months ago this noise was a nuisance. A week ago when I heard it again for the first time in 2 months, it was a timely and welcomed reminder that some things are going back to "normal" and it didn't bother me. I actually liked it (for about 30 minutes).
While a lot of businesses remain closed, some are moving forward! And so are we!!!!
Here's what's happening June 2020:
As you know, our plan was to renovate the Worship Center this summer and we are excited to announce that we received the building permits needed to start the project! Renovations will begin in June, which means, Livestream is moving to the Activity Center -- this week! We will do our best to avoid any technical difficulties, but we do kindly ask for your patience as we repair any issues that might come up during the transition.
Now I know what you're thinking!! You're wondering why we're moving forward in light of everything going on? Well, I'm one step ahead of you and below are 10 REASONS why we, the leadership, believe this is a wise move:
- We have planned, prayed and prepared for this project for years
- We have already invested a quarter of the cost in NON-REFUNDABLE deposits ($300,000)
- Equipment has already been purchased
- We will not be able to physically meet in the building for a little while longer - therefore, less inconvenience
- We would like to complete the renovations prior to school starting in the fall, and return to the Worship Center
- This project provides jobs for people who might otherwise be unemployed
- If we delay replacing lighting, audio & video systems more than a few months, we will need to spend an estimated $50,000 to repair the old systems temporarily
- Prices will inevitably increase post-pandemic. If we proceed as planned, all our estimates will be honored. If we wait, they will expire
- We believe remaining hopeful and planning for the future is part of being a good steward of our minds and resources
- The Lord has not closed doors for this project - so we are purposeful and moving forward
I realize these 10 reasons may not be sufficient enough for all the questions floating in people's minds. However, my prayer is that they are helpful to some, and that you are choosing to trust the leadership of the church and the Lord as we move forward. Please be assured that no decision is ever made lightly or impulsively. A lot of thought, prayer and conversation goes on behind the scenes before a conclusion is drawn and you, as the church, are presented with an outcome.
Lastly, in order to make information as easily accessible to you as possible, starting this Sunday, we will be emailing a digital bulletin on Sunday mornings. In addition to sending it to you digitally, the bulletin will continue to be available on our website and app.
And as always, please continue to check cedarcrest.church for updates, resources and upcoming virtual events.
I am here for you and available to answer any questions you might have.
on behalf of Elders & Pastors
Hi Cedar Crest,
What's the first thing that comes to mind when you read the following words: devastated, paralyzed, hopeful, overwhelmed, angry, joyful, fearful, nothing at all... repeat. Some of you are thinking, "You need help!" Others are thinking, "Me too!! He gets me!" Men are thinking "should I be feeling all those things?" and moms out there are like: "EVERY DAY... Coronavirus or not!"
The truth is we've all experienced an emotional roller coaster lately, as nothing feels normal. But let me encourage you to choose JOY! Not in an ignorant kind of way, but in a 'God is bigger than this' kind of way.
And to complete your joy, I will keep this week's email short and sweet:
- Let's talk REOPENING! The date remains uncertain, but we are looking for some clarity from you! You are important to us and we want to hear you out. We have put together a survey for the purpose of gathering a clearer understanding of what you would like to see take place before/while we open. To take the survey, please click on Reopening Survey.
- Ask a Pastor: To the list of words above, you may want to add, 'confused' and 'no answers.' Neighbors, family members or even your own kids are asking you questions, and you don't know what to say! Sometimes the best answer is, "I don't know, but I will look into it." If you can relate, let me remind you that we, as your pastors, are here for you! That does not mean we have all the answers! -- but we would gladly dig a little deeper and find an answer for you to help you navigate the difficult questions coming your way right now. You can send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Zoom After Party - Did somebody say PARTY??? That's right! Check out the video to see WHO is invited (hint: it starts with A and ends with LL) and when the party begins (hint: After the Livestream on Sundays) - visit cedarcrest.church for the Zoom link.
- MOMS - what would we do without you?? You are AMAZING and, from my family to yours, HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!
- As always, please visit cedarcrest.church for updates and ways to stay connected.
That's all for now! Stay joyful!
on behalf of the Elders and Pastors
Hi Cedar Crest,
As I write this, we are about to conclude day 46 of quarrantine due to COVID-19... introverts may have been created for this; extroverts may be in counseling?? and ambiverts (like me) - well, not much has changed - I can hide in my home office when I need 'alone' time, and come out to see the mail man, our neighbors and ... oh, my wife and kids when I need 'people' time.
But all joking aside, the harsh reality is that that last 45 days have changed all of us: fear has made itself at home in too many hearts; social distancing has been taken to a whole new level; quarreling has reached a new high, and uncertainty has become the status quo. Bob Goff once said, "The way we deal with uncertainty says a lot about whether Jesus is ahead of us leading, or just behind us carrying our stuff."
When you have a few minutes, grab a cup of coffee/tea and ponder on this thought: How has the quarrantine changed YOU? Really.
And is Jesus still ahead, LEADING? I hope so!
Leaving all uncertainty behind, below are some things I am certain of:
I'm sure you've heard by now that in Georgia, you can get your hair and nails done. In Texas, you will be able go out to eat this weekend! Pennsylvania's turn will come - just you wait! And when we can open our church, we will celebrate (we may not have party hats and streamers, but we will have masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and all!) I look forward to the day when I will send you my last email (don't grow tired of me just yet!) and my communication with you will be in person! Stay tuned!! In the meantime, please know you are missed!
Do you need to change? Then you need to PRAY! Prayer doesn't change God - it changes us! And what better day to unite in prayer than May 7th, the National Day of Prayer. We invite all of you to participate! Let's go to our 'prayer closets', or drop to our knees and lift our nation and our world in prayer. Another suggested way to participate is to host a Zoom prayer meeting as a Life Group either on May 7th, or anytime this week. Either way, attached is a prayer guide for your reference.
The Lord's Supper : 1 Cor.11:17, 18 say, "..when you come together...", "...when you come together as a church." The pastors and elders feel these verse refer to people being together/in person when taking communion. They also convey a sense of unity when together- which is difficult to accomplish when not together. Since the season of isolation is temporary, the leadership has decided to resume Communion when we can gather in person again.
I realize the last month and a half has provided plenty of time to think and wonder. And I'm sure you're wondering if we found a new teaching pastor yet, right? Well, the news is that we have no news! We have not been idle in the is process - we have reviewed 15 candidates, but at this time we have not yet found the right man for the job! The COVID-19 restrictions have also slowed the process down somewhat, so please continue to pray.
Lastly, please continue to check the church website (cedarcrest.church) for updates and upcoming online events.
If we were to talk face to face, over coffee, and you told me that you ARE afraid and overwhelmed with uncertainty, I would have to honestly say, "Me too, at times. I get it!" But I would also graciouly remind both of us of Romans 8:6, " ...to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace." If we want to maintain peace during this time, our eyes must remain on Jesus. "If you want to get warm, you must stand near the fire; if you want to get wet, you must get into the water. If you want joy, power, peace, eternal life, you must get close to, or even into, the thing that has them." C.S. Lewis I hope you take this time of uncertainty and use it to grab hold of what is certain: Jesus Christ.
To an uncertainty-FREE week,
On behalf of the Pastors and Elders
Hi Cedar Crest,
Back on March 15th (which feels like 295 days ago), when I stepped off the plane in Washington D.C. returning from Chad, my mind was already engaged in the early steps we, as a church, were going to take to protect and support our members and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. We didn't know how this crisis would unfold at that point, but we knew YOU and your safety were, and continue to be, important to us. In light of that, we continue to follow the guidelines of our Governor and, at this time, will keep our building closed, cancelling all onsite activities, until May 8, 2020.
Back on April 13th, my mind started thinking to the future. I am hopeful and I kindly ask that you would pray for myself and the leadership team as we think through a RE-OPENING plan. The day is coming - stay tuned and stay hopeful!
In the meantime, Discipleship Institute is going viral (no pun inteded)! The Spring Trimester starts Wednesday, April 29th, 7:00 - 8:00 PM via Zoom (you do NOT need an account to join the class. A link will be sent to you next week). NEW classes are being offered - to view the options and sign up, please visit cedarcrest.church.
Below is a note from the HELPS committe:
“The Deacon’s Helps Ministry is readily available to assist persons with ESSENTIAL NEEDS during the quarantine. Essential services include transportation for time-sensitive medical and pharmacy needs and help with obtaining essential groceries and supplies. Right now, we are looking for volunteers between the ages of 20 and 60 years of age and are in good health. We are in specific need of volunteers to help with transportation and shopping assistance during the pandemic. Special guidelines will be given during this time of need. To volunteer, please click here or send your name, email address, and phone number and the services you would be willing to provide to Dave Baily at email@example.com or 484-788-5518.
If you have are in need of assistance from the Deacon’s Helps volunteers please click here or contact Paul Younger (firstname.lastname@example.org, (610) 659-9966), Dave Baily (email@example.com, 484-788-5518), or Dave Shuey (firstname.lastname@example.org, (610) 395-8571).”
Covering our Front Line in Prayer 24/7: April 27th - May 3rd. Saturday, May 2nd is suggested as a day of fasting and praying.
We are forever grateful to our "front line workers" -- essential men and women in various professions who have not skipped a beat during the fight against the coronavirus. If you are willing/able to take an hour or more out of your day to pray for these workers, please visit cedarcrest.church and click the link to sign up.
Please know there is a LOT of good happening around us - people are recovering from COVID-19, Food Banks are thriving because people are generous, hearts are softening to the Gospel and people once divided are coming together. Great things have been done during this crisis that have inspired others to do the same or pay it forward. Isolation has reminded us to appreciate each other and our freedom more.
Our church is no different. You have been kind, generous, faithful in prayer, patient and rich toward God and others. You ARE making a difference... maybe at times unnoticed on the earth, but in heaven now proclaimed!
Even from afar, we're all in this together.
Jonathan King, Lead Pastor
On behalf of the Senior Pastoral Leadership Team
Hi Cedar Crest!
We are just a few days past Easter 2020, and while the church building was closed, our church (body) was not! What a joy it was to join you on Livestream, Facebook, or YouTube and praise the one who paid our debt... Our Ressurected Savior! We believe the victory is Christ's and we know that we can face today or tomorrow "because He LIVES!"
I hope that, during this social distancing time, your homes are becoming houses of prayer...and houses of worship. I trust that as one church building is closed, many ' house churches' are springing up all over the Lehigh Valley because of a community of people committed to spread the Gospel.
Here are a few items we would like to remind you of or bring to your attention this week:
- The pandemic our world has experienced these last few months has affected so many people in so many different ways. We may have loved ones who tested positive or have lost someone due to the COVID19; we may know people who are living in fear; we may have neighbors or family members asking where is God in all of this? Maybe this virus hasn't hit too close to home, but for some, emotions are high as they are growing tired of being "stuck in the house;" or we may know people who worry about the economy.
But we know that God is Sovereign over the affairs of men. We know He is in control! And we certainly know He is GREATER than COVID-19! We would love to hear how God has worked in or through you during this time. If you would like to share your testimony, please email email@example.com, or you can make a 2-3 minute video of your testimony and post it on Facebook or Instagram - please #cedarcrestbfc. Your testimony could be a great encouragement to someone! Be sure to check out our social media pages and website for upcoming testimonies!
- Our church's Food Bank is an incredible opportunity to bless those in need, especially during this time. We have been blessed with abundant donations, however should you desire to continue to donate, here is a list of specific items needed: oatmeal, cold cereal, pasta, mac n cheese, rice, canned veggies, canned fruit, canned soup, canned beans, canned potatoes, canned meat (spam, chicken, tuna), tomatoe sauce, crackers/cookies/granola bars, peanut butter and jelly.
Donations can be dropped off at the church Monday - Thursday, between 9am - 12pm.
- Masks (bandanas) are still available for pick up by the Worship Center entrance tomorrow, Thursday, 9 am -1 pm.
- As always, please check the website (cedarcrest.church) frequetly for updates or to share needs and/or prayer requests. We are here for you and would love to hear how we can help you.
- Over the last few weeks, I have encouranged you as a body to continue to give to the ministries of our church. This week, I would like to simply say THANK YOU!!! Thank you for faithfully honoring the Lord with your firstfruits! It is because of your faithfulness that we can provide a "new normal" for now, and will be able to continue our ministries in person upon return. Your staff appreciates you. I personally appreciate you and extend a heartfelt THANKS!!
"See you Sunday at 10 AM on Livestream!" In the meantime, stay safe & let's stay connected.
Jonathan King, Lead Pastor, on behalf the Senior Pastoral Leadership Team
Dear Church Family,
It is my prayer that in the midst of our circumstances, you are finding hope. As schools are closed indefinitely and our social distancing has been extended through April 30, I hope you are finding creative ways to stay connected to family and friends and are settling into the new norm for a while. I pray that your solid rock is Jesus and that your hope is built on His blood and His righteousness. I trust you are using this time to draw closer to Him and allow Him to work in you.
The church leadership desires to stay connected with you and keep you informed on any changes or things happening, even during this time when we can't physically be together. Please know that the ministry of our church and the work God is doing in our midst continues and every one of you are a critical part. Below are some items we would like to highlight for you:
1. Due to the social-distancing/shelter-in-place extension, all church activities will be cancelled until May 1, 2020.
2. Please be reminded that we changed our livestream service time to 10:00 am on Sundays (Livestream, Facebook, YouTube). If you are unable to livestream, please let us know by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling the church office. We would love to make the services available to you and will gladly mail you a CD.
3. We believe the Lord's Supper is an important ordinance and it is our custom to observe it on the first Sunday of each month. Since we are not able to meet physically during the month of April, the leadership has decided to forgo communion this month. We did not make this decision lightly and we will be reevaluating this for the month of May.
4. It is our desire to continue to be a praying church, especially during such a time as this. A Fresh Encounter service is scheduled for this Sunday evening, April 5 at 6:00 pm. We invite you and your family to gather in your living room and join us on our YouTube channel for a time of prayer and worship through music.
5. It is hard to believe EASTER is just around the corner. While this year's Easter service will be different than ever before (livestream), the message of Easter has not and will not change. Our Savior is RISEN! And we desire for the whole world to hear this message of hope.
Please use your social media platforms and email to share the attached image, inviting friends and family members to join us live as we celebrate the resurrection of our King!
6. Thank you for your continued giving to the work and ministry of Cedar Crest. This aspect of your worship is a key component in the church's ability to keep ministries going. We are trusting the Lord for His provision and are encouraging you to keep supporting His work. Our online giving is available here. You are also welcome to mail your check to the church.
7. If you are working as a medical professional, first responder, firefighter or police officer and would like prayer during this time, please join the CCBFC Front Lines Group. You will be invited to join a Zoom prayer meeting this Sunday, April 5, either at 9:00 am or 8:00 pm.
8. We miss seeing you! We thought it would be fun to put together a video of pictures of our church family adjusting to the "new normal" and share it before the Sunday morning livestream. Please send us pictures of you and your family working from home, volunteering, making masks, watching the livestream, working on school, etc.
Pictures should be emailed to email@example.com or uploaded to our Facebook page.
As you can see, we are staying busy!! I praise the Lord for technology and the ability to be the church, even virtually. Let's continue to love and serve one another.
Jonathan King, Lead Pastor, on behalf of the Senior Pastor Leadership Team
Dear Cedar Crest Family,
I am sure that, just like me, you have been bombarded by articles, news and rapidly changing statistics regarding the Coronavirus. And while the world around us is changing and shaking, there is ONE solid foundation that we can rest on, and that is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
I wanted to make you aware of a few changes in light of Governor Wolf's "shelter in place" mandate:
1. We will be extending the Church Office closure until April 9th, 2020. As our government leaders make changes in an effort to keep the virus from spreading, we will continue to follow their guidelines for the purpose of being responsible and keeping our staff, as well as our neighbors, safe. As previously mentioned, the staff is working remotely, meaning we are still here for you!!
We care deeply about every one of you and your needs, and desire to help you in any way we can. Please continue to let us know if there is anything tangible we can do for you at this time (Needs) or if you have any specific prayer requests (Prayer), and be assured of our continuous prayers for you.
2. It has been wonderful to "see" so many of you worship with us via livestream!!! While we look so forward to shaking your hand and extending a hug in person, it seems we will continue to worship virtually for a while longer. Please note the NEW TIME for our livestream service will be at 10:00 AM starting Sunday, March 29th. Please mark your calendars for this new time and join us live.
Also, we have been made aware of some difficulties while live streaming. In an effort to alleviate these issues, we added 2 new platforms for you to be able to 'join' the service. You can livestream via Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/cedarcrestbfc/) or YouTube(https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4wSISdUbMSpERkxg6YiGmg).
3. Lastly, please check out the new pastors' video on our website, providing you with various resources we are working on making available to you.
I am so encouraged to see our church body come together as ONE during this trying time. I am also encouraged to hear of your reaching out to each other, to family members and neighbors in need. You have truly demonstrated that you are ONEbelievable!!!
Let's continue to live out our calling and live worthy of the Gospel.
Dear Church Family,
It is nice to be back in the United States, but it is unfortunate that we returned to the COVID-19 pandemic. God answered your prayers and allowed us to have a good and successful trip to Chad.
I wanted to personally inform you of how the church is planning to navigate the rapidly evolving impact of the coronavirus. Our priority during this time is the health and well-being of our church body and our community. In conjunction with Governor Wolf's closings of school and non-essential businesses and the Trump Administration's guidance to avoid gatherings of 10 or more people, we will be closing the church office/building effective Tuesday, March 17th through March 29th. Please note all activities and meetings are cancelled for this time period.
Please understand that during this difficult time, we are not suspending all activities and gatherings out of fear or a lack of faith. We are respecting our authorities and loving our neighbors and communities by being responsible.
While our building will be closed, our availability to you remains unchanged. This season is a great reminder that our church is so much more than a building. We are a community and a body of people. Let's continue to encourage, care for, and love on one another during this difficult time for our nation. If you are in a Life Group, continue to stay in touch with each other through email or phone calls in order to pray for and encourage one another.
Below are a few important items during this time:
1. For the next two Sunday mornings, March 22 and 29, we invite you and your family to join our dedicated worship team and pastors online for our 11:15 am service, continuing our series in Ruth.
2. Your giving plays a big role in fulfilling the work of our ministry, so we encourage you to continue to honor the Lord with your giving during this time. Our online giving is available here. You are also welcome to mail your check to the church.
3. If this unfortunate pandemic has created an financial hardship for you and your family, I wanted to graciously remind you that our deacons are committed to helping you and being available to you. Please do not hesitate to reach out to one of them, or use this link to share your need.
4. Our church staff will be working remotely. If you have any questions or needs, we are still available to you. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (484) 619-2210 (during office hours), and someone will connect with you as soon as possible.
5. We want to ensure that you remain connected and informed of any upcoming events during this "social distancing" time. Our website and social media platforms will be updated so please be sure to check-in and see what's happening.
Pastor Jonathan King on behalf of the church staff and elders.
Dear Cedar Crest Family,
We never know what the next day will bring, and with the COVID-19 virus, it seems to be changing rapidly. We want you to know that Cedar Crest Church leadership has also been having numerous conversations because the health and safety of our church body is important to us. As of 2:00 pm today, March 12, Governor Tom Wolf has declared an EMERGENCY DISASTER DECLARATION. Symptoms of the COVID-19 can include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying. Individuals most at risk for severe symptoms include the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions. He has encouraged all religious leaders to use discretion to prevent the spread.
As we continue to stay informed through the CDC and local health organizations, we want you to know how we are responding to this current threat. Currently, we are unaware of any individuals associated with Cedar Crest, who are infected with COVID-19.
To be proactive and wise, the Elders have made the following decisions.
- All Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (3/12 – 3/15) programs and events have been canceled or postponed.
- We will not be opening our doors on Sunday morning, 3/15, but will still be holding a worship service via live stream at 11:15 am. https://livestream.com/cedarcrest/ccbfc Please don't forget you are still able to tithe through our website. https://cedarcrest.church/give/Our exceptional custodial staff will once again do a deep clean as the building will be closed.
- We will not make a future decision at this point but will continue to monitor what is happening. We will communicate to the church body Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning concerning our next course of action. Additionally, it is important to remember how Cedar Crest communicates in the event of an emergency or closing. Should an event be canceled, an email will be sent through Crossroads at least two hours before an event starts. In conjunction with that email, a notice will be placed on our website and social media accounts. Please also check WFMZ. We will regularly review and evaluate this situation and keep you informed of any adjustments.
Lastly, we want to remind our people that God is in control. In times of crisis, it is easy to allow fear to overwhelm us, but we are called to something greater through Christ. "7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God" 2 Timothy 1:7-8.
We have an opportunity as a church body to show our friends and neighbors the love of Jesus Christ is more than being invited to a Sunday morning service, a program, or an event. We get to show them that the Church is about loving one another through Christ. Now is the time to reach out to them and see how they are doing. Offer to pray for them or even make them a meal. In China, some Christians instead of fleeing the areas of greatest virus infection, have gone into those areas to serve and help in the name of Jesus. This is walking in the footsteps of Jesus.
Please know, the Cedar Crest leadership loves and prays for you often. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.
For a guide on how to prevent or what to do, please see the attachment to this e-mail.
Gov. Wolf Emergency Disaster Declaration
The Pennsylvania Department of Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Pastor Adam on behalf of the staff and Elders of the Church.