Coronavirus Updates

Update as of: July 9, 2020

LIFE HOUR ON THE LAWN!

Beginning this Sunday (07/12/2020) We will offer one class from 9:30-10:15 am on the lawn.

Bring a lawn chair and load it back in your car after class.  (The class is cancelled if it is raining.)

Setting the Stage

If you have ever seen a Broadway production, then you know that the setting of the stage is critical to understanding what’s happening in the rest of the story.  The same is true in the Bible.  If we understand the background, if we let the ‘stage scenery’ give us context of what’s being played out in front of us, then we can come more fully to understand the Word of God.  In this class we will look at the background of familiar Bible verses and Scripture in order to find the proper context to have a fuller understanding of the Scriptures.

Led by Kenny Moore and Scott Dabill

 

Update as of: June 30, 2020

Don’t miss the video this Wednesday! Join Pastor Kevin and Pastor Alex for a walk through the building as we prepare for our reopening this Sunday!  It premieres at 4:00 PM on 7/1 and can be viewed any time after that either through the church Facebook page or here.

 

Update as of: June 25, 2020

Please see the church newsletter for information about the in-person service on July 5th.

Please click here to be directed to the live service on Sunday at 10:30am, or to view past sermons.

 

Update as of: May 26, 2020

Please be in prayer as our "Operation Restart" Team has its initial online meeting this Thursday evening, May 28th, via Zoom. The O.R.Team is made up of the pastors, the elders, and ten other key ministry leaders in the church, about half of them from the Ministry Board. We know that everyone is eager to get back to meeting together on Sunday mornings, but there are a lot of questions and issues to work through first before that can happen, so please be patient. We want to do our best to ensure the safety of our congregation when we re-open the church campus. We covet your prayers for wisdom, faith, and humility, and we'll keep you posted with regular updates on our progress. Thank you for your prayers and for your support.

 

Update as of: April 28, 2020

Dear LAC family,

 

We hope you're doing well during these challenging times in which we're living. Are you getting tired of the word "unprecedented"? Who would have thought that 55,000 people could be gone and over 26 million people unemployed in the course of just five weeks? Our leaders on both the state and the national level need our prayers for wisdom as they seek to navigate the dangerous waters of the tension between "Keep people safe" vs. "Get people back to work." So many people are hurting in so many ways, and many of you are in the midst of that tension.

 

The church elders continue to meet via Zoom as we lead the church forward during this crisis. With the governor's NY PAUSE executive order still in effect till May 15, we will remain closed through at least May 17. The elders will meet again via Zoom on May 18 and will provide a further update at that time.

 

Together with our Children's Coordinator, Michelle Gendrue, we did make the difficult decision to cancel our Vacation Bible School that was scheduled for July 27-31. VBS has been a major outreach for our church,  and that decision was a difficult one. But it was hard to imagine a scenario in which it would be okay to have 150 kids and 100 volunteers together in close quarters just a few months from now -- and many parents would undoubtedly have kept their children at home anyway.

 

Here in our District, made up of the 75 or so Alliance churches in upstate New York, our District Superintendent and District staff are doing a good job of keeping the churches abreast of the latest developments. The D.S. has been meeting via Zoom with different groups of churches based on church size; our next scheduled Zoom call is this Wednesday, April 29. We have been provided with resources that will be helpful as we begin to plan a return to meeting together again in larger numbers. There are a lot of good questions that need to be asked and answered before that time comes. Whenever that time does come, it's very unlikely that it will be a "flip-the-switch-and-we're-back-to-normal" scenario but rather a phased-in approach over the course of several months. We will need wisdom and patience in working through that re-start plan, and we'll make sure that we have all the necessary voices in the room during the planning process.

 

Thank you for all your prayers and support. We've been so encouraged to hear great stories of people looking after and caring for one another in creative and costly ways. Thank you, too, for the feedback from the devotionals we've prepared in print and on video. We'll continue to provide a written devotional thought on Mondays and video messages on Wednesdays and Sundays. While many churches have been doing things like this for years, it's still new to us and we're learning as we go. Our goal is to get better each week. Kudos to Adam Raetz for his help in putting those videos together and to the worship team for their additional work with the music component for the Sunday morning services.

 

God bless you all. We love you and we're praying for you. God is in control and we'll get through this together.

 

Grace and peace,

LAC Elders

Alex Banks, Reg Buri, Mike Gendrue, Dave McLaughlin, Ken Moore, Sr., Dave Rheam, Kevin Robbins, Tom Sy 

 

 

Update as of: March 31, 2020

To our church family:

Most of you have probably heard that President Trump, earlier this week, extended the "social distancing" and "shelter in place" guidelines at least through the end of April. That was wise and prudent.

The elders met on Monday, in the fellowship hall with the appropriate "social distancing" of six feet between each chair in the circle, in order to check-in with one another and to make decisions going forward. We concur with the recommendations of the CDC and our president and our governor. The church will remain closed, with all activities canceled, through at least April 26. The elders will meet again on April 27 to evaluate the situation and to determine our next steps.

We'd really like to keep the church building as "off limits" as possible. First of all, we're keeping the thermostats at 50 degrees, so you don't want to be over there! But it's also a way to avoid having to clean and disinfect so much. If you have to get in and you have access to the building, please keep your business as short as possible and wipe down any surfaces that you touch.

Not being able to meet together for worship during the entire month of April, especially for Good Friday and Easter Sunday, is a big disappointment. We love observing and celebrating together those special occasions that form the very fabric of our faith. And maybe that will help us to empathize a little more with the disciples who were there for the first Easter. None of the disciples, or the women who first came to the tomb on Easter Sunday morning, were looking for a resurrection. Easter caught them entirely by surprise.

So maybe this Easter can catch you by surprise as well. The bad news of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic can't overcome the good news of the gospel. Jesus is alive! He is risen! The coronavirus won't live forever -- but Jesus will! And we will, too, through our faith and belief in His finished work of the cross. That's worth celebrating -- no matter where we are or how many people we're with. An old favorite hymn says, "Because He lives, I can face tomorrow; because He lives, all fear is gone. For I know who holds the future, and life is worth the living just because He lives."

We'll likely never have another Easter like this one. So make the most of it. Stay in your pajamas and have your own Easter brunch. Join us online at 10:30 for our video Easter celebration. Sing the words of the songs!

Easter, of all times, reminds us of the good news that God is in control. God always bring good things from bad things. This situation won't go on forever. Many lost jobs will likely be restored. Sports seasons will eventually resume. Most restaurants will re-open.The economy will eventually rebound -- maybe not overnight, but over time. But for those first disciples, life after the resurrection could never go back to what it used to be. Easter changed them. And Easter should leave us changed as well.

Please know that we are committed to doing whatever we can to minister to the needs of our congregation. We will continue to stay connected through a weekly Monday morning devotional via e-mail and through the weekly Wednesday afternoon and Sunday morning videos from Pastor Kevin and Pastor Alex, which you can watch on Facebook or on the church website. We will also send out a Good Friday morning devotional next week with some prayer points for the weekend.

Feel free to call the church office (433-3571) with any prayer requests or praise reports you have to pass on. During business hours, those calls will be forwarded to our Office Manager, Marcia Keller. You can also leave voicemail messages with any staff member you'd like to reach; those voicemail messages are forwarded to the respective person(s). You can also e-mail questions, prayers, and praises to the church e-mail at lockcma@roadrunner.com.

We are hearing some great stories of people being loved on and ministered to through "random acts of kindness" -- some of them anonymous. That says so much about our congregation. Keep up the good work, church! Look out for others, especially those who live alone. Shop locally whenever you can. Get takeout food from a local restaurant. Remember that calls and texts and e-mails convey love and care and concern. Thank you for being the church.

Above all, we are praying for you all. We love you and we miss you!

Love in Christ,

LAC Elders

(Pastor Kevin, Pastor Alex, Reg Buri, Mike Gendrue, Dave McLaughlin, Ken Moore, Sr., Dave Rheam, Tom Sy)

 

 

Update as of: March 19, 2020

These are challenging days in which extra cautions must be taken to slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Temporarily having to forgo our weekly corporate worship gatherings is one of the sacrifices that we have to make.

During this time in which Sunday morning services are canceled, we want to continue to encourage, to teach, to train, and to equip one another as the body of Christ and as a church family. We plan to do this through a number of ways on digital platforms:

A brief devotional thought/Bible study to be e-mailed out on Mondays.
A short video devotional to be posted to our church website and to our church Facebook page on Wednesdays.
A short video message from either Pastor Kevin or Pastor Alex to be posted to our church website and to our church Facebook page on Sunday morning.
Pastor Kevin will also be posting several times a week on his Twitter account; follow him on @KevinRobbins57.

In addition, Michelle Gendrue and the Children's Ministry Team plan be posting to the LAC KidMin Facebook page twice a week. One post will be a link or video to help you engage a weekly bible lesson with your child. The other post will be the weekly Bible memory verse that our AWANA Kids should be memorizing for the week. Make sure to LIKE "LAC KidMin" on Facebook so that you and your children can take part.

We also encourage you to find creative ways to incorporate some music as you worship together as a family or with a few close friends. It doesn't have to be fancy. You can stream a worship set, or play a CD, or even get out some instruments (or makeshift instruments) and create a family band. Psalm 98:4 says, "Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!"

Please let us know of any additional ways that we can help you and minister to you during this unprecedented time in history. We love you and we're praying for you! We're all in this TOGETHER!

Alex Banks, Associate Pastor

 

 

Update as of: March 17, 2020

LAC Response to the COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic

We are living in unprecedented times. This isn’t the first time you’ve heard that, and it won’t be the last. And unprecedented times call for unprecedented actions. In light of the state of emergency declared in Niagara County as of 2:00 PM on Sunday, March 15, and the closure of all Niagara County schools until further notice, and following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the federal and state governments, the elders have made the following decisions:

LIFE Hour and worship services for March 22 and 29 have been canceled. Our mid-week AWANA and youth group programs have been canceled through April 1. The annual Egg-Stravaganza outreach scheduled for April 4 has been canceled.

Group meetings of a smaller size – small groups, Bible studies, classes, committee meetings – may meet or not meet at the discretion of the group leader(s). For any groups that do choose to meet during this time, please remember the CDC and White House recommendations of no groups larger than ten (10) persons and a “social distancing” of six (6) feet between persons.

Staff members will be on “liberal leave” policy and may work from home as much as they’re able to. Visits to hospitals and nursing homes will be severely restricted.

The elders will review the situation regarding the coronavirus pandemic on March 30 and will issue an updated response on March 31.

What can you do during this time of unprecedented crisis? Here are some practical suggestions:

First of all, pray. Pray against the spread of the coronavirus. Pray for those who are the most vulnerable to the disease, especially seniors and small children. Pray for those who are feeling isolated. Pray for our leaders on both the state and the national level. Pray for businesses that are taking a huge economic hit during this time. Pray for opportunities to reach out to those who don’t have the hope of Christ in their hearts and who may be more prone to fear.

Don’t panic. The world is not coming to an end. God is in control. We’re all in this together and we’ll get through this together. While the coronavirus is very contagious, in most cases it’s not life-threatening. 80% of those who contract the virus will experience flu-like symptoms but will fully recover. Most of those who have died from the coronavirus have had other underlying medical issues as well. The single best thing you can do to avoid the virus is to wash your hands carefully and frequently.

Don’t feed the hysteria. Don’t necessarily believe, or pass on, every rumor or second-hand story that you hear about or that you see on the internet. Make sure you get your facts from reliable sources. Go directly to the websites of these organizations: the CDC www.cdc.gov, the White House www.whitehouse.gov or New York State www.ny.gov.

Keep things in perspective. Yes, it’s annoying, frustrating, and inconvenient to have some of our normal habits and routines so disrupted -- like going to church, going out to eat, watching sports on TV, meeting with your small group, or going to the gym. But a lot of other people are experiencing all of that as well, and we’re probably a lot better off than many others are. There are bigger things at stake here than our routines, comforts, and conveniences. Let’s try to keep that in mind.

Look out for others. Be intentional about reaching out to those in our church family who are isolated and lonely, especially those for whom coming to church on Sundays is their main socialization opportunity for the week. Text messages, phone calls, notes and cards and, when appropriate, short visits, will be a major lifeline to others. Let them know that they’re not alone.

Use this as an opportunity to grow. You suddenly have some more discretionary time. You’re not going to church on Sunday; you’re not watching “March Madness” on TV; you’re not going to meet anyone at Panera; you’re home from school or maybe home from work. What are you going to do with all that time? Use it as a time for personal growth. Read some good books. Gather your family together to have family devotions or to play some games or to watch a movie. Sometime in the future, months or years from now, we’re going to look back upon this time of “The Coronavirus Scare” in much the same way that some of you remember “The Blizzard of 1977” or the dire predictions of “Y2K” at the end of 1999. What will we want to remember about this time? Now is the time to make those decisions. We may or may not have the opportunity to worship together on Easter, but it’s still the season of Lent, traditionally a time to prepare our hearts to celebrate the great news of Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead.

Use this as an opportunity to reach out to non-believers. In our Colossians series last Sunday, we looked at this passage from Colossians 4:2-6:

2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

Verse 5 tells us that the apostle Paul’s appeal here deals specifically with the way we live around non-believers (“outsiders”) and how we interact with them. The word “opportunity” in verse 5 is the Greek word kairos. The Greek language has two different words for time: chronos refers to the passing of time (hence our words like chronology) while kairos refers to a special moment in time that’s filled with all kinds of possibilities. It’s a crisis moment in which golden opportunities can be gained or lost.

We are living in a kairos moment. Let’s seize the “opportunity” and use it for good.

While we know that nothing can replace the experience of meeting together for worship on Sundays, we are looking at some way(s) that we can maintain a sense of community and connection, perhaps through short video messages on our website and on our church Facebook page or something like that. There is technology that we can harness for good and we’re open to hearing anything that you think might be helpful.

Along those same lines, we consider it a privilege to be able to pray for you and for the needs in your life. This crisis will affect different people in different ways, and some of you are already dealing with major health issues or with other kinds of personal challenges. Please continue to make us aware of your needs each week. We will continue to send out a list of prayer requests on Mondays per our usual practice so that others can be praying with you as well. Since you won’t have access to our Connection Cards, please e-mail those requests to lockcma@roadrunner.com or call the church office at (716) 433-3571.

And please do remember that the church’s mission continues even when we’re “closed” on Sundays. There are still salaries and other expenses to be paid, and people who need help from the benevolent fund, and international workers who depend on our financial support through the Great Commission Fund. The USPS is still working, so checks can be mailed to the church or, to save you a stamp, they can be dropped off at the church office (or left in the gray dropbox outside the office door after hours). Or, this might be a good time to set up online giving through your bank or to use the Tithe.ly app on your smart phone to give.

We are praying for God’s purposes to be fulfilled through this time of national and international emergency, and we are praying for all of you in our church family especially. We love you. God bless you.

In Christ,

LAC Elders

 

 

 

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” -Isaiah 41:10