Dear WACC Family,
We continue to pray for firefighters and everyone who has been impacted by the wildfires. In the midst of the devastation, we are praying for God's protection and peace.
This season has brought many unexpected challenges and disappointments, and this weekend, we are feeling the continued weight of leading through unforeseen circumstances. Over the last few days, WACC's leadership has been monitoring air quality and smoke advisories for our area. We have been in contact with the Air Quality Management District for guidance and recommendations. Our region is currently under a smoke advisory, which advises that individuals remain indoors. This advisory extends through tomorrow.
As we seek to care for our congregation, volunteers, and staff, we have decided we will not be holding outdoor worship gatherings on Sunday, September 13th, due to the smoke advisory and unhealthy air quality.
Knowing that this was only the second weekend of gathering on our campus made this a very difficult decision. However, we believe that this is the best way we can care for our church, and we pray that through all of this, God will ultimately be glorified.
We are sad that we will not be in person together, but we are looking forward to still worshiping online. We hope that you will join us to worship on church online, which will take place at 8am (Heritage), 9:30am, 11am and 5pm.
If you would like to make a reservation for Church On Campus for next Sunday, September 20th, you can do that starting tomorrow at 8am at wacc.net/churchoncampus.
God bless you, church. May you be encouraged this weekend, and may we lean into the hope and strength we have in Jesus.
See you online tomorrow!
We are looking forward to worshiping with you this weekend!
We know many of you have been preparing to worship at WACC for Church On Campus. We are sincerely hoping that we will be able to do this. We also want to make sure that we are keeping you and your families safe.
We are currently monitoring air quality and smoke advisories for our area to determine if we will hold outdoor worship gatherings on our campus this weekend. We have been in contact with the Air Quality Management District (AQMD) and are seeking guidance from AQMD and health professionals.
Our region is currently under a smoke advisory, which advises that individuals remain indoors. This advisory extends through this afternoon, so we are waiting for further guidance to know what the recommendation will be for Sunday. Should we be under a smoke advisory or should air quality be hazardous on Sunday, we will likely move to only worshiping on Church Online, which will take place at 8am (Heritage), 9:30am, 11am and 5pm.
If you have any questions about your reservation for Church On Campus, please email email@example.com. If you have any other questions, feel free to email Christian Martinez at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are grateful for your gracious hearts and flexibility in this season. We know that God is in control, and we continue to ask for wisdom as we seek to honor Him in these challenging times and difficult decisions.
Finally, please continue to pray for firefighters and all those impacted by the wildfires up and down the West Coast. We pray for protection, peace, and a quick end to the fires.
God bless you.
Over the past several months as the COVID-19 pandemic has continued, the Whittier Area Community Church (WACC) Board has met regularly to prayerfully seek God’s guidance and wisdom. We have sought to discern, plan, and prepare for the best way forward given the many unknowns and changing recommendations. Last spring a multi-phased plan was developed based on the information we had at the time. In June, the WACC Board approved this plan and WACC communicated this plan’s top-level details to the congregation. To summarize our approach and ongoing efforts, we felt it was important at this juncture to share where we stand with regards to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and to preview our developing plans to gradually, safely, and wisely restart in-person gatherings.
While we resonate with our brothers and sisters in Christ in our deep longing to meet in-person once again – to fellowship and love one another in the uplifting way physical gatherings facilitate – we proceed under the calling to safeguard the health and safety of our church and the community we serve. We also appreciate how many of you would not feel safe returning to in-person gatherings at this time, and we strive to also provide you the means necessary to not neglect meeting together while supporting your health and safety.
We also understand our call to provide health and safety extends beyond the physical to the spiritual and emotional well-being of all who share in the Body of Christ and its blessings at WACC. Practically, we also appreciate how this COVID-19 season stresses and threatens the fiscal health of our church, and with it, our ability to effectively perform the mission God has entrusted to WACC on our campus, in our city, in our state, and around the world through our Global Partners.
With this understanding, the WACC Board is moving forward in a manner that equitably weighs and balances all concerns and risks, as follows:
1. In coordination with and through approval by the WACC Board, our WACC staff is actively developing and deploying a plan to restart in-person gatherings to the extent that current conditions and government guidance allow. Our plans seek to re-engage on-campus, in-person gatherings in September. Please continue to pray for our staff, as this COVID-19 season has greatly stressed them with workloads and complex problems unlike any they have faced prior. Pray for their strength as they manage the new and growing challenges of reopening under an uncertain, in-flux environment.
2. The WACC Board and WACC staff will continue to follow government and public health official guidance so long as we believe this guidance does not compel us to disobey our call to serve our Lord and spread His Gospel. At this moment, while we find current guidance in many ways disadvantageous and burdensome, we do not believe we are thwarted from proclaiming “the things we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:18-19). We therefore operate under the scriptural mandate to obey our earthly, God-appointed authorities (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 4:1-6), praying at all times for their wisdom and decision-making (1 Timothy 2:1-4). Nonetheless, we remain watchful and alert, assessing the ongoing situation as it progresses, evaluating potential attacks on our religious freedom and the supremacy of Christ as Lord of His Church, ready to stand with and for Him no matter the sacrifice.
3. At the moment, this watchfulness, clothed in the love of Christ, also demands and requires that WACC act in love to protect the vulnerable and disadvantaged, those most likely to contract and succumb to this disease. Regardless of the ongoing debate about statistics and how best to “follow the science,” a straightforward survey of the devastating impact COVID-19 has had and is still having globally and the number of lives it has claimed highlights the dire severity this pandemic presents for us locally. While perhaps the majority of us may not suffer extreme illness should we contract this virus, its high probability of spread will place those whom we love and are of weaker health in peril. The Lord has called us to love and protect the weak and the vulnerable. We therefore proceed with heightened caution, at all times striving to do no harm.
4. Under this same posture to act in love and do no harm, we, the WACC Board, also understand the importance of supporting one another in fellowship, and that this requires, to the extent possible, safe and protected in-person interactions. As we reestablish those interactions, in a spirit of protecting others and placing the needs of others ahead of self (Philippians 2:3-4), we request your cooperation as we regather in person to follow protective measures such as physical distancing and wearing face coverings. Beloved, let us love one another in this very tangible, practical and effective way.
5. By loving one another and showing care to the communities we serve, we the WACC Board believe we will also safeguard and uphold the Spirit-empowered WACC witness we as the Body of Christ have struggled to build and maintain throughout our forty-nine years of service in Whittier. We therefore take a stand that aims to deny our enemy a foothold on the harvest fields our Lord and Savior has entrusted to us. Inasmuch as it is possible, we strive to avoid any opportunity to discredit or damage the reputation of our church because we have not prudently managed this great crisis. And in love, we call upon all our brothers and sisters in Christ to walk in uniting love toward one another, extending self-sacrificial grace to one another as we grapple with a diversity of opinions and uncertainty.
In light of this, we the WACC Board acknowledge our need for your prayers and support. We acknowledge that in this COVID-19 season we see facts, data, and direction through an ever-shifting thick fog. We acknowledge our need to remain humble and submitted to our Lord for His wisdom and direction, and we ask of you that you extend us grace by adopting the same posture. We cannot know everything, nor calculate all things perfectly, but we serve the One whose wisdom and sovereignty spans the ages. May our words, actions, and decisions bring Him glory, and may His love and wisdom abound in our hearts.
Your servants in Christ,
The WACC Board
Dear WACC Family,
This continues to be such an extraordinary and complicated season that we are in, and I just want to begin today by telling you that I am so proud of you for how intentional you have been to stay connected through Church Online. If you would have told me back in March, that almost six months from now, our gatherings would still be only online, I would not have believed you. I could never have planned a story like this, but I am so grateful for your endurance and faithfulness. God has still been working in this all.
I know that many of you continue to ask, “When are we going to begin on campus worship gatherings again?” I have received emails and calls from you sharing about other churches who have handled church gatherings in different ways. Before I share with you the next steps for WACC, I want you to know that our church leadership- our staff and church board- have been working hard to pray and discern the right next steps for WACC. In the ever-changing climate of opinions, new research, and political layers, we, as church leadership, have been seeking to know how to respond in a way that honors God and represents Jesus’ love to our world. We are concerned for the physical health of the vulnerable both in WACC and in our surrounding community. We are concerned about the spiritual health of our church family. And we are concerned about the example we set of the selfless love of Jesus. Those priorities continue to be the lenses through which we are prayerfully taking steps forward.
With those in mind, I wanted to share our next step forward. Beginning on Sunday, September 6th, WACC will begin outdoor, on campus worship gatherings at both 9:30am and 6:30pm. As we pray about these on campus gatherings, the WACC leadership believes that providing these is vital for the spiritual health of many in our community. These on campus experiences are designed to be outdoors, in a socially distanced environment where we will be following all health and safety protocols because it is vital for us to guard the physical health of our community.
I know that outdoor, on campus services, at this time, are different from the previous four phase “regathering plan” that we had prepared. The next stage was supposed to be WACC in small groups where you worship in homes with others from the WACC family. Unfortunately, Los Angeles County Health has not authorized the mixing of households, as it is allowed in other counties. Health recommendations do empower us to worship on-campus in this outdoor model though. There is more information that you can find about this regathering plan and how to register for each gathering at wacc.net.
Also, for those of you who don’t feel comfortable to regather on campus just yet, or who are currently too far away to do so, we completely understand. We want you to know that our online Sunday services continue to stream just as they do now.
For those of you who want to be on campus, but would prefer to stay in your cars, there will also be an area to watch and listen live from your car stereo as well.
Finally, as we prepare for you, if you haven’t yet given your feedback on our WACC On-campus Survey, we would love to hear from you. We are trying to make adjustments to best prepare for you. You can do so by visiting wacc.net/churchoncampus.
Friends, thank you for your patience, your faithful prayers, and your sacrificial support throughout this process. In these ever-changing times, continue to join me in praying for church unity and that God will use this season to bring even more people to know the transforming love of Jesus.
When are we going to gather again? When can we be on campus to worship? Are we there yet?
These are the questions increasingly being asked in our church community… and in my home by my three children.
We have all missed being together at WACC, so we are excited to announce that we will soon begin regathering on campus!
Although the church has never closed, and we have seen God working in new and amazing ways through this time of online church engagement, we also understand the importance of corporately worshiping together.
For the past several months, the Board and Staff at WACC have been diligently making plans to safely gather on campus, discerning medical facts and figures, considering Biblical wisdom and praying for guidance. This work has culminated in a plan for outdoor venue worship services beginning in September.
Please take a moment to fill out the on-campus survey available on the church website and social media. And as we gather, we want you to be safe. We want to protect vulnerable people in our church. So please allow us to serve you and help you in this unique moment in time by observing social distancing and wearing face coverings on campus. Let’s live out the gospel for the people around us by following Christ’s example of serving others, coming back together in a spirit of grace and unity.
Please continue to pray and support the ministries at WACC. Pray for unity in our church body. Pray for our pastors and staff who are working hard to anticipate each change that comes while bringing forth the ministry of Jesus to our community and our world.
Finally, if you want to know the antidote to the feelings of isolation we all experience during this pandemic, it is to live life in a Christ-centered community. Small groups provide people from different backgrounds an opportunity to connect and have deep, spiritual conversations with one another. The small groups in my life have been a space where I can share, grow, laugh and truly be known. We have more people in ongoing small groups at WACC currently than ever before in our church’s history and many of these people have been with their groups for years. We understand that committing to a group can feel intimidating, so we run groups seasonally for 10 weeks. If you’ve never joined a group, I invite you to sign up for Rooted, a 10 week small group experience that will connect you with a small group starting the week of September 6th. Going through Rooted was life changing for me; so much so that I want to go through the process again. We offer Rooted on Tuesday night, Wednesday morning, and Thursday night, and you can sign up for Rooted, or any of our other small group options at www.wacc.net/grow-groups.
Let us not forget that there is hope in the midst of these troubled times. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear.” Psalm 46:1-2.
Grace and peace be with you,
Chair, WACC Board
Dear WACC family,
These have truly been interesting months. For many of us our lives have been turned upside down with loss, uncertainty and unwanted change. For others there has been varying degrees of inconvenience, but not major disruption.
In April I was talking with a good friend who asked an important question, “What is God teaching you during these days?” It’s a question that I have asked myself at various times in my own life journey. Almost always the answer has been to TRUST, to trust God’s heart when I couldn’t see Him, to trust His followers who were also seeking Him, to trust He has a plan and it’s for my good, and to lean in hard to what He has already taught me…often repeatedly.
When I joined the church Board in January I was humbled and deeply honored to have been elected to serve. However, I really wondered why now? Why in 2020? What was ahead that somehow God could use me? Over these past several months I have come to recognize in fresh ways, how good God is, how absolutely nothing surprises Him and beyond that He really has gone before us and prepared our way! Our job is to follow….as closely as we can.
What a blessing to be an eyewitness to God’s faithfulness and protection! In His wisdom God provided just the right group of people for this year. In addition to my Nursing and Infectious Disease background, the Board includes a physician, an attorney, finance experts, teachers, all people with servant’s hearts. We are united in our commitment to follow God’s leading as we seek to bring Jesus to people and people to Jesus in new and creative ways.
The Board is so excited, as I’m sure you are, that after months of prayer, hard work, planning and preparation we will be regathering outside on campus to worship and praise God for all He has done. Each of the Board members and so many of you as volunteers partnered with our staff in the preparations by planning the parking lot set-up, arranging for hospital grade disinfection to sanitize surfaces, arranging a reservation and screening system to assure everyone is healthy when they come and on and on.
We are committed to keeping everyone safe by practicing the basic disease prevention strategies of wearing a mask and staying physically distancing from each other (that’s the really hard one because I want to hug everyone I’ve missed seeing) but I won’t because I love you too much to do that.
Please keep an eye out for more details and how you can be a part of our regathering. Please continue to care for each other, pray for our pastors and those of us on the Board that we will persevere in this journey of listening closely to what God is calling us to do as we serve you in His name.
May God fill your life with His peace and joy.
Vice Chair WACC Board