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Weekly Updates during COVID-19

Steps Monte Vista is Taking...

UPDATE FROM 5/21/2020

Good evening Monte Vista,

Are you content?   Got four minutes?

Check out this newest video from The Wilbur Chronicles called Totally Content.  Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7z6_0sYSt0

If you know someone who is struggling to experience peace, consider sending them this short video with an invitation to talk.  God may use you to bring peace to your friend/family member/neighbor.

Here are the links to the Live Feed for this Sunday, May 24th.

8:30am https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoTmGUYZZQI

10:30am https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11bcKXymvMg

I hope you have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.    My prayer is that this week you’ll experience the secret of being content.  

Take care and God bless,

Tom

p.s. After watching the video, if you have not already subscribed to the Monte Vista Youtube Channel, please do.   With that subscription you’ll get updates on our Sunday morning worship and you can easily watch previous sermons and worship service.


UPDATE FROM 5/15/2020

Good morning Monte Vista Family,

Are you content?  Check out these powerful words for living with contentment when everything has been stripped away:

“for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:12-13

The apostle Paul wrote this confined to the horrid conditions of a first century prison cell. In those conditions, he expresses the “secret” of living life with peace.  What’s the “secret?”

The inner reality that God gives him strength in all circumstances. The power of Holy Spirit frees him to embrace the day whether he is in jail or walking the streets of Rome. He saw his life being shut down as an opportunity to share God’s love with prisoners and jailers – I bet he was thinking, “wow, this is amazing, God wanted these folks in jail to hear about Christ, I guess that is why I’m here.” 

Do you want more peace in your life?   Reflect on these words from scripture.  As we do, we’ll discover God’s purpose for our lives in the midst of all the circumstances we face.

I am so looking forward to our Live Stream worship this Sunday. I hope you’ll invite your family and friends to join us (I know many of you already have). While the whole community cannot be together in worship right now, we can share our worship with folks around the county, country and world (we have folks who join us from Brazil and other faraway places).

Here are the links:

8:30am worship: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWjvd0q43PI

10:30am worship: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbr9sfk0FNM

Be sure to subscribe to our Youtube Channel.  In fact, you can do that right now simply by going to the link and using your gmail account to subscribe.  

Know that the Session, the Deacons and the Staff continue to pray for you and our community as we move forward.    If you have questions, comments or ideas, please write me at tom.stephen@montevistanp.church.

Take care and God bless,

Tom


UPDATE FROM 5/9/2020

Good morning Monte Vista,

Happy Mother's Day - a day early!  

I look forward to celebrating Mother's day with you tomorrow in worship via Live Stream.     We've created a special Children's Moment for that purpose.    In our study of James, we'll explore how to deepen our faith in super practical ways. 

I am grateful that things are beginning to re-open in our community and look forward to Phase Three of our state's reopening when the restrictions are lifted from large group gatherings and we can be back together in worship.    The leadership is already making plans to have our worship safe for all who come.      And yes, we'll be keeping the Live Stream so folks from all over can continue to join us.

Here are the links for this week (which you can find on our website and youtube channel):

8:30 worship:    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1sjkVD18ag 

10:30 worship: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMRnbzfTFr0

I hope you have an outstanding Saturday.

I'm off to finish up the sermon...

Take care and God bless,

Tom


UPDATE FROM 5/7/2020

Good morning Monte Vista Family,

It’s Thursday, May 7th.    As the shutdown continues, I am finding it hard to keep track of the days.  How about you?

Did you know that today is the National Day of Prayer? Christian communities from around the Conejo Valley will gather tonight at 7pm via Live Stream. 

I hope you’ll join us at 7pm. I’ve been asked to give a final blessing after our time in prayer. Pray that I would hear God’s voice even as God uses my voice to speak to our community. Thanks.

Here’s the link: https://control.livingasone.com/webplayer/video.html?id=55cf0f82-e54d-4f16-9566-943bc8703f8a

I’ll write more tomorrow about this weekend at Monte Vista. Hope you have an outstanding Thursday.

Tom


UPDATE FROM 5/1/20

Good morning Monte Vista Family,

Did you go for a walk this morning?  Are you walking with God right now? 

I am very excited to share this newest episode of The Wilbur Chronicles called, “Walking with God.”  You’ll see Wilbur as puppy and his action packed acting at the end of the video – plus great news from James 1.

Check out this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oczm9Rc8kiA

How was that last scene?  Pretty cool, right? 

On Sunday, after the sermon we’ll walk together with communion.   Attached, you’ll find everything you need to know to prepare for communion at home.  Even though we cannot be together in the sanctuary, we can share this sacrament together in our different homes.

Here are the links for our Live Stream Worship.   In addition to communion, get ready for another live Children’s Moment with myself and Matt – more surprises in store.

Link for 8:30am:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHW57H8Jj84 

Link for 10:30am: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vwmzj0Imsa8

I would love to hear how things are going for you.   Write me at tom.stephen@montevistanp.church.  

Take care and God bless,

Tom


UPDATE FROM 4/24/20

Good morning Monte Vista Family,

To help you survive the heat and find encouragement in your walk with God, check out the newest Wilbur Chronicles  You’ll see what salami and prayer have in common.   Here’s  the link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rz5iNw2Fsuw&t=24s

I miss you.   More specifically, our entire staff misses you and continues hold you in prayers.   We look forward when we can all gather together in worship together but until that day, know that we continue to work and create on your behalf.

We have created a new Monte Vista PCH Youtube channel!  After you watch the Wilbur Chronicle, it would be super helpful if you would subscribe to this channel. That way you’ll get update on worship services and other videos.    All you need is a gmail account and hit subscribe.  

This week in worship you’ll be inspired.   Here are the links for our live stream:

8:30am worship;  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMlxTIvaXEI&feature=youtu.be 

10:30am worship:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VW04W3Vxiw&feature=youtu.be 

Finally, the pastoral staff would love to hold you specifically in prayer.  If you have prayer requests please write me at tom.stephen@montevistanp.church    Even though we cannot gather for worship on Sunday (which is become harder and harder the longer the shut down continues – we really miss you), we can still hold each other in prayer and send nice emails :>).

Take care and God bless,

Tom 


UPDATE FROM 4/17/20

Good afternoon Monte Vista Family,

The sun is out.   Spring is on the way.  And we are still at home.    I have been dwelling on this verse today:

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows”

 James 1:17

God’s gifts come to us in a myriad of ways.

This morning,  I talked with a friend whose mother passed away last night at home after a long health battle (not related to the pandemic).  While she misses her mom terribly, she had the gift of being able to care for her mom at home as she died.  Her mom felt love in her death as she entered into the love of eternity. 

Others have found the gift of faith while being shut-in at home.  No longer being required to travel for sports on weekends,  they are able to experience worship with their family at home on Sunday mornings.  Because life has slowed down, the slower pace has brought the family closer together.  

Some have even found the gift of learning to trust God with economic uncertainty.   A woman talked with me today how she is learning to trust God for daily provision. God feels like a Father who gives her what she needs in the moment she needs it.  The future remains unclear but she is growing in her certainty of God’s provision.  

Where have you experienced God’s gifts?   I  would love to hear from you – write me at tom.stephen@montevistanp.church.

Join us for worship via our Live Stream.  You can connect by clicking on the links below;

8:30am worship:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91Abena1n_E

10:30ama worship: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4mknd2veHY

We are beginning a new sermon series in the Book of James – this short New Testament book (only 108 verses) is packed with practical wisdom that will give you the direction you need to live faithfully in the midst of life right now.   I so look forward to sharing this with you.

Take care and God bless,

Tom


UPDATE FROM 4/10/20

Good morning Monte Vista,

Do you remember the Christmas Classic, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" ?    When all the Christmas trappings were stripped away, the folks in Whoville just sang - nothing changed - Christmas still happened. 

Do you remember what happened that first Easter when the disciples were locked in a room afraid because all their hopes and dreams were stripped away?  Jesus showed up in their home.  He gave them peace, he taught them and they worshiped.  

On Easter this year, as the Covid-19 Coronavirus has stripped away so much of what we love about the Easter,  in a very real sense, nothing has changed.   Like that first Easter morning, Jesus, by the Holy Spirit, will come to your home as we are physically separate but spiritually connected in worship.  

Join us, invite your friends to join us, as we all stay at home, stay healthy and worship together at our THREE Easter Worship Services - 

6:30  The Most Unexpected Easter Sunrise Service

This will be the most UNEXPECTED SUNRISE SERVICE you have every experienced.  Go to the website on Saturday night to get information on this service - four of us will be filming this on location away from the church but in an area that is both safe and follows all the restrictions we've been given by Ventura County Public Health.  Super excited about this. 

8:30 am and 10:30 am The Easter Service You Will Never Forget

Join us for a powerful time of worship, an exciting Easter message and communion on our Live Stream service - bring everyone in your household together for a service you will never forget.   Be sure to have bread and grape juice (or some form of both) ready for communion after the sermon.     Go to these links: 

8:30 am:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6Y3LxcOl20&feature=youtu.be
10:30 am: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rr9H4IZtS68&feature=youtu.be

As we move forward.....

there will be a time when we will gather again in the sanctuary for worship - God has designed us to be with each other so there is no way this will last forever.  BUT FOR NOW, thank you for being so diligent to beat the virus as we together follow the Public Health Guidelines.  New "Stay At Home Orders" came out last night, be sure to check those out.    As we worship together this weekend from our homes, know that God has specifically given you this time to grow closer to Him and (If you live with others) with those in your home.

Yes, today is Good Friday when we feel the sting of darkness, but Easter's coming - and in fact the victory is already here. 

Tom


UPDATE FROM 4/8/20:

Hello Monte Vista Family,

It seems like forever since the last time I saw any of you, or worshipped with you in person.  I miss those Sunday morning moments of connection each week.  We pray for you regularly, for protection and comfort, and for the tangible experience of God’s presence with you.  We are not alone (thank you Lord!), and we are in this together. 

I’ve been enjoying our Live Stream worship services, most Sundays I stream both 8:30 and 10:30.  I like the live ‘Chat’ feature, to see who’s checking in each week.  If you haven’t tried it yet, I encourage you to do so.  Pastor Tom will be sending an email tomorrow with the YouTube links for our 3 Easter morning services. 

Tomorrow is Maundy Thursday, when we remember Jesus’ last Passover meal with his disciples, and the encroaching darkness before his crucifixion.  We will be worshipping with First Pres Oxnard via the Zoom online connection service. 

Here’s more information: 

Maundy Thursday Candlelight Worship

April 9 at 7 p.m.(Pacific Time)

remembering Jesus’ last days and His death

with Fern Fay, Steve Sallee, and Paul Moranda providing music

along with Pastor Janet Loughry, Pastor Mickey Fenn,
Pastor Carol Benson, and Pastor Ted Brandt

Online via Zoom (audio and video) at  bit.ly/Thursdayat7

(yes, that’s the meeting link above)

If you have never used Zoom, be not afraid!
Click here to get started with Zoom  It's free for you! 
OR you may just use your telephone!

Dial by Phone (follow these steps)
a. call this phone number: +1 669 900 6833
b. enter this meeting number: 630 136 0350
c. press #
d. when asked for participant number, press # again

Download the Maundy Thursday worship program, available on Thursday morning, at bit.ly/Drive-InChurch

You are invited to light a candle (wax or LED) for this service
and place it near you so that it may be seen on Zoom
if using a wax candle, please maintain a mini-social distance between you and the flame   

At the end of the service, a bell will toll thirty-three times, 
marking the number of years that it is believed Jesus lived.  

After the thirty-third ring, we will be invited to extinguish our candles 
and listen to some quiet music for reflection and prayer.

During these weeks of self-isolation and the disruption of so many aspects of our lives, it’s easy to overlook the events leading up to Easter.  My hope is that we can each spend time in prayer and thanksgiving for God’s great gift to us, for Jesus’ great love for us and for his sacrifice on our behalf.  Because He lives, I can face tomorrow . . . .

Easter Blessings,

Carol


UPDATE FROM 4/3/20:

Good evening Monte Vista Family

She did it again.

Who?  Priscilla Losey.

What? Created a video that is outstanding: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXMAyjCCSt8&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR0vgpGACOleZadTa4ER3BxrrsH74ZPNndOPayFZvkp1E85xiLY5bge83e4

This video invites you to sing with your kids/grandkids as you prepare for worship.  This Sunday we’ll sing together, “He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands” on our live streaming worship service.  

I have been thinking and praying for you today and so look forward to sharing with a message of strength and hope on Sunday.   Here’s the information for the Livestream:

Join us at 8;30am on this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0Xif5dJHFs

Join us at 10:30am on this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rr9H4IZtS68

While I miss you terribly on Sunday mornings, I am so proud of how our community has come together to stop the spread of the virus.  Also, how we come together to worship each week on Sunday morning in our homes.  Your house is now your sanctuary.

Take care and God bless,

Tom


UPDATE FROM 4/1/20:

Good afternoon Monte Vista Family,

I am thinking about you. 

I created a video that will help your through all the emotions that come with staying at home.   Here’s the linkhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4DZom4HpQc

We have so much loss right now in our community – loss of jobs, loss of schedules, friends who are sick, some of us know folks who have passed away.  Even the simple act of going to the store has become fraught with questions. When we understand the Five Stages of Grief and allow scripture to touch those emotions, we can live in hopeful and healthy ways.   

We are in this together - consider sending this video to 5-7 friends/family via email so they’ll be encouraged as they shelter in place. 

Thanks for doing all that you can to stop the spread of the virus and to better love those God has placed in your life.  See you on the Livestream this Sunday,

Tom

p.s. I would love to hear from you, please write me at Tom.stephen@montevistanp.church 


UPDATE FROM 3/27/20: 

Good morning Monte Vista Family,

At the end of this article, you'll find information on worship services for this weekend, plus a link to sign up to receive assistance and to sign up to help others in our community.   

Below are some thoughts I had this morning as I was thinking about to thrive and not simply survive during a community shutdown of activities. 

Knowing that nothing is new under the sun (although it feels new to us), my search for living well with the loss of many of our normal activities lead me back to the book, "Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor E. Frankl.  In this book he not only describes his imprisonment in a concentration camp during World War II, he reflects on how to find meaning when everything has been stripped away.Because our present loss of what feels normal does not compare even remotely to a concentration camp for a Jewish person in WWII, I thought he would be a good source to find ways to thrive during our current shutdown - basically, learning from the experts on living with a loss of what is normal.

This thought struck me this morning: 

"We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a person but one thing; the last of the human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way." (p.66).He goes on to say the person " who knows the 'why" for their existence will be able to bear almost any 'how.'" (p.80)

In other words, we have freedom to choose a positive purpose for all that is happening in our lives right now. We cannot control the larger events of the world, but we can choose the smaller events of our individual circumstances. What can we add to the lives of those in our families, our neighborhood, our churches, our "physically distant" co-workers, to our community through this shutdown that will not only have a positive impact on us but on those around you? You are unique - you have something to give to others that can and will make this time a positive experience for you and others.

Do you create art? Create more art and share it with others.

Do you love to cook? Seek out ways to safely share your food.

Do you find joy in sewing? Create clothes, masks, purses, dresses for others (maybe even send them to other places in the world that need them).

Do you love to work out? Create a video to share with your friends on who to work out easily in your home - if you impact one person, that person will be in better shape when the shutdown ends. And you did that.  The ways to serve are countless - serve in a way that brings you joy. That gives you a "why" for this time period.

And here's what is absolutely comforting, we can  seek God's wisdom in knowing how to best serve.   I find that I need God's strength to serve when I really just feel like watching Netflix and eating popcorn.

Here's a verse that helps me to keep going....comes from another person who knew the pain of loss of what was normal and was written to a group of Jewish people trapped for seventy years in captivity who needed to find a way to live well...check this out:

"but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,

they will walk and not be faint." -  Isaiah 40:31

We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength.   As individuals and as a congregation, let's do just that.

About worship this weekend:

To join our LiveFeed for worship this weekend go to the links below.   We are adding a Children's Moment this week, so be sure to have your kids or grandkids with you as we worship together from our homes.  This hour of worship will be inspiring, fun and meaningful.   Thanks for praying for those who gather on Sunday to create these services - it is our joy to lead and worship with you. 

8:30 - https://youtu.be/yGHNcb5DoB4 

10:30 - https://youtu.be/2ryc1gjrGC8  

You can also go to the Living Life Juicy Channel to see all the scheduled services between now and Easter. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyPcG5Ulgi_kzR406luWjNw 

About receiving assistance or if you want to help those who need help; If you need some assistance during the shutdown go to the following link on our website (or call the church office): https://www.signupgenius.com/go/5080d4eaaae2fa2fa7-helping
If you'd like to help others who request help, go to this website and sign-up and someone from the staff will contact you: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/5080d4eaaae2fa2fa7-helping
Write me if you have questions/thoughts or comments on how Monte Vista can do better in caring for you and our community at tom.stephen@montevistanp.church.
Take care and God bless,
Tom
p.s. One more thing, there are scoundrels out there who are hacking emails and Zoom meetings.  Please do not respond to anything that may be sent by me or the church that does not have our official email address. Thanks.  If the past couple of weeks, some on staff have received these hacked emails.   If you are ever concerned about this, write the me or the staff member in question to make sure. 
Finding Assurance with growing Anxiety - watch the newest version of The Wilbur Chronicles featuring our Golden Retriever. Click on this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GDX4HpjK5k

Tom


UPDATE FROM 3/21/2020:

Greetings Monte Vista Family,


“I lift my eyes to the hills, from where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and Earth,”

Psalm 121:1-2


As we have changed many of our activities this past week, as stores and restaurants have shut down, as our entire school system has moved to online learning, as we have been called to stay at home, there is one thing that has not changed – ultimately our help and our hope come from the Lord.

Psalm 121 has been my “go-to” Psalm for over fifteen years.   I recite these words when I see Mt. Boney driving around Newbury Park.    Mt. Boney serves as a physical reminder of God’s presence and protection.   God is always with us – we have no need to fear.

I am excited for worship tomorrow.   We’ll explore the primary resource Jesus used and called his followers to use when facing temptations to give up and give in difficult times.   Be sure to join us on our Youtube LiveFeed at 8:30am and 10;30am.   Just click on the link below at the time you plan to join:

 8;30am worship: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNVvl5S9uA0&feature=youtu.be

10:30am Worship: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJiawl_3UJQ&feature=youtu.be

As a way to enhance your ability to participate in the sermon, be sure to print out and use the PDF attached to this email.  I have created an outline for you to use as you follow the sermon.

I hope you’ll check out this brand new video called, “Caring in Crisis.”     I created this video because you have been on my mind – you’ll discover how to bring beauty in this crisis we are facing.   Consider sharing this video with your friends and family who may be looking for hope as we walk through the next few weeks.   These videos are great ways to share your faith as we head towards Easter.

Here’s the link (send to family and friend): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qt53Kciq_to


Take care and God bless,

Tom


UPDATE FROM 3/18/2020:

Good evening Monte Vista,

I usually start my emails with a word of hope, but today, I’ve made a short 4-minute inspirational video with my dog Wilbur plus Alex Trebek (kind of).  I hope you enjoy it (Wilbur inspired the music at the beginning).

Here’s the link; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GDX4HpjK5k

As you heard in the video, we can live with assurance even with anxiety because God is indeed our refuge and strength – next week Wilbur will be more active as we learn how to experience joy even when the world seems to be falling apart.   Here’s an update on what’s happening at Monte Vista:

Sunday Morning Worship

We’ll continue what we started last week with our LiveStream on Youtube.  Please join us on Sunday for worship from your home by clicking on the following links at the time stated: 

8:30 Service - https://youtu.be/sNVvl5S9uA0 

10:30 Service - https://youtu.be/zJiawl_3UJQ

Our doors will remain open on Sunday morning for those who gather in a small group for worship. We will have hand sanitizer available, we will sit six feet apart, and as we did last Sunday (no handshakes, no offering passed, no bulletins and not greeter pads).   The Session continues to recommend that you stay home and worship with us online.  Even when we are physically distanced we can stay socially connected.   We will have no Sunday school, nursery care or youth programs on campus.

Other Programs at Monte Vista

  • The Playhouse build with Habitat for Humanity has been postponed until Saturday, April 18th.
  • Any meetings that would normally occur on campus must have a Zoom component connected to it.  Zoom allows those at home to participate but have no obligation to be on campus.   If some in your meeting decide to meet on campus, the room must allow for the group to have six feet apart and to practice good hygiene at each meeting.  No one who is sick should be on campus.  Also, following the direction of our County Supervisors, if you are high risk or over 75 years old, please shelter in pace.
  • For our Shelter Meal this month, Monte Vista will be supplying 60 sack lunches with sandwiches, fruit, packaged snacks and water or juice, and we need anyone who is willing to help purchase the items and prepare the sandwiches. We won’t be having our monthly signup sheets this month, so please contact Shelley Barnes at (805) 907-3415 if you can help with purchasing or sandwich prep.
  • Check the website (https://montevistanp.church/) for more information as well as the Monte Vista Facebook page.

I heard today that the schools in our district will be closed through Monday, May 4th.     We have a long six weeks ahead of us.   Please continue to pray and to check in with each other.

If you have questions or comments or prayer requests, please write me at tom.stephen@montevistanp.church.

With much hope and love,

Tom


UPDATE FROM 3/13/2020:

A Message from Pastor Tom regarding church services through Sunday, March 15th

Good afternoon Monte Vista Family,


Before I talk about what’s happening this Sunday, I hope you’ll click on this link – I created a video this morning to encourage our faith as we walk through the reality of the global pandemic – I am hoping this will get you used to YouTube because of what is happening this Sunday – here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3TvbCqJ0Kw


As we move through these unprecedented times in our country, with growing uncertainty and fear, know that Monte Vista is working hard to provide a place for you to grow in faith as we take steps together to stop the spread of the virus in our community.


In order to help stop the spread of the Covid-19 Coronavirus, the Session at Monte Vista strongly recommends that you participate in worship using our Live Feed on Youtube, this Sunday.

You can view the services this Sunday on these two links:

8:30 Service Link - https://youtu.be/k-Z5Q0azbVE 

10:30 Service Link - https://youtu.be/w_w_ovU1BzY

Just click on the link at the start of the service and you’ll join worship.    If you are a parent with kids at home, this could be a great way for families to worship together at home and talk about how faith impacts how we approach times of uncertainty and fear.

We will have the church open for those who show up on Sunday either because they did not know about the LIVEFEED or they simply wanted a place to be on Sunday morning during this crisis.    We will NOT have any Children’s program or nursery. There will be no youth gathering.     We’ll have a very simple worship service with music, prayer, and sermon.  

For the group of people who may arrive on Sunday, we’ll practice all the guidelines from the CDC.  We’ll ask folks to keep their distance, wash hands.   We’ll not have ushers, greetings, offerings or other things that would create the spread of the virus.

We do, however, recommend that you stay home and worship as a way to help prevent the spread of the virus.

I am grateful to serve at a church where we are able to address a pandemic with faith and confidence. 

Take care and God bless,

Tom


UPDATE FROM 3/6/2020

At Monte Vista Church, we are taking steps to create a safe environment as we experience this flu season that includes the COVID-19 Coronavirus. We are fortunate to have congregation members who are Environmental Health, Safety and Emergency Preparedness Professionals guiding us. The Session at Monte Vista is working on your behalf.

The strong recommendation from our team of professionals is Prepare Don't Panic. At this point, the risk remains low in Ventura County but we need to be ready if things change. Some of the changes we have made already include: how we will be serving coffee hour after worship, more intentional cleaning of surfaces (aka door handles, tables, etc), no longer have “hugs and handshakes” during our worship service. Our preschool is also taking extra precautions to keep our children safe. Finally, if you are sick, you are encouraged to stay home.    

Remember these simple things to protect yourself and family:
1. Wash your hands frequently, for at least 20 seconds. 2. Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze (and immediately throw away the tissue). 3. Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, mouth. 4. If you have a fever, cough or shortness of breath - Stay Home.

Ways to Prepare Yourself Spiritually During Uncertain Times
With the increase of fear and the uncertain nature of this year’s flu season with the Covid-19 Coronavirus. With the fear of natural disasters that can strike at any time. With the uncertain year we face in this political season.


There are things we can do in prayer that help us Prepare and not Panic.

Take time each morning to put God first. As you spend time with God consider using these three prayer tools:
1) Remember God’s faithfulness in the past
Begin by giving thanks and remembering how God has brought you and others through uncertain and fearful times in the past.
2) Receive God’s Presence and Power today
God's Spirit is always there. Ask God to give you peace and clarity about your day. Sit in his presence and ask for courage and strength to face the challenges of your day. Give him your fear.
3) Rest in God’s control of the future
Thank God for His ultimate control of the future – expressing your trust in God’s promise that “all things work together for the good for those that love God and are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28.
One creative way to put God first while taking practical steps to avoid viruses – pray the Lord’s Prayer slowly as you wash your hands. It takes about 20 seconds which is about the right amount of time to get your hand thoroughly washed.