March 19, 2020
New Heart family,
I trust that you are safe and experiencing the peace of Christ as you keep your eyes on Jesus during this time. Below you will find some important updates and helpful resources for you and your family...
Update on Weekend Services & Other Church Gatherings:
Due to the updated CDC safety guidelines and Governor Newsom's "stay at home" order related to COVID-19 (Coronavirus), our weekend services will move completely online at live.newheart.church. We will not be holding our regular gatherings at the church campus until further notice.
Modern life has led us to refer to the “church” as the buildings in which we worship, but we are reminded now (as we're taught in scripture) that the “church” is the people of God. Although there are some temporary changes facing us with COVID-19, we are NOT “closing” the CHURCH – because the “church” really is the followers of Christ. As the church, let's intentionally reach out to those in our lives (our social media contacts, neighbors, family members and friends) and invite them to join us online each week for our Sunday services. God can use this time to reach those who desperately need him and don't yet know him. Will you partner with God this week to reach those in your life?
During this time, our pastoral team and many of our ministry leaders will remain “open” to serve our church family and our community. The same is true for multiple families who have already stepped up and offered to help. Let's do what we can to serve those in need and act on behalf of Jesus as his hands and feet. If you'd like to join the other families who have offered to help, you can contact Pastor Julie at (209) 625-5397 to get involved.
Over the next few weeks, our pastoral team will be reaching out to connect with you through short videos. We'll be sharing some relevant scriptures and words of encouragement, hope, and inspiration. As they become available, you'll also find these videos on our Facebook page and on our church resources page. If you find them helpful, please share them with your contacts.
We are also doubling down on our efforts to connect with you outside of our services, and to assist you in connecting with one another as we seek to return to our roots and “be the church.” On that note, we piloted our first 'virtual small group' meeting using video conferencing on Tuesday evening. It was effective and encouraging. Another group is meeting as I write this to you. Contact me to get involved in one of our virtual small groups. You can literally join a group from anywhere there is an internet connection. We strongly encourage you to find new ways to connect and continue building community during this time!
New Resources Available:
With school closures, we understand it can be difficult to manage daily expectations while also caring for children at home. In an effort to help our families, each week we will be providing a resource for families to help kids engage in educational activities from home.
While the church plays a valuable role in the spiritual growth of children, we believe God intended the primary source of a child's spiritual growth to come from within their home. In addition to the weekend lesson for families, we will also be providing a simple mid-week devotional for families to do together. I think you'll find that it is beneficial for everyone involved. Parents, let's lean in to what we're taught in Proverbs 22:6, "Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it."
You can visit our church resources page for to access these resources and more.
You are in our prayers!
March 14, 2020
In light of the county's decision to close schools for the next two weeks, we will not be providing children's ministry at the New Heart campus until further notice. For those who are able, we'll continue to meet this Sunday at 10:30 am, and proceed with our annual All-Church Meeting. If you feel comfortable joining us with your children, we ask that you keep them with you during the service and maintain the recommended six feet of distance between your family and others.
Please stay informed here on our website for a full list of the preventative measures we're taking and the most recent updates. Use sound judgement about whether you should join us. If you are at high risk, we encourage you to remain home this week and join us by live stream on YouTube. We're also providing all handed-out materials on our church resources page, including the weekly bulletin and children's teaching, so you can stay engaged.
For those who can make it, we look forward to worshiping with you this Sunday at 10:30 am!
March 12, 2020
Dear New Heart family,
Just like you, we have been watching the developments with the coronavirus (COVID-19) closely. Now that the virus is officially considered a pandemic by the World Health Organization, we want to assure you of several immediate steps we're taking to help protect our community and prevent the spread of germs. We're also asking for your help, as members of this church body, as we all make adjustments to our routines to keep ourselves and others safe. Here are the initial steps we're taking, along with official resources on prevention and preparedness:
As always, we want the church family to be friendly and considerate to those that we meet during our fellowship times. That being said, out of an abundance of caution, we ask that everyone refrain from handshakes and hugs during this season.
When we receive the Communion elements, we are providing two cups: one with the bread and one with the juice. We are providing these two cups in order to prevent anyone from touching one another's elements. The Communion elements are prepared with sterile gloves and masks for the safety of participants. For the time being, we will continue to serve the Lord’s Supper, to those who wish to participate.
In light of the Governor’s recent announcement, we’ve added more chairs in the sanctuary in an effort to accommodate the social distancing guidelines. We encourage attendees to create space by spreading out where possible.
Until additional guidance is issued by county health and education offices, our Children’s Ministry will continue to be open, with appropriate precautions in place to mitigate the spread of germs. As of the sending of this email, the Tracy Unified School District and San Joaquin County Office of Education have not canceled classes. If that changes, we will revisit the plan for ministering to NHC children.
The collection of our tithes, offerings, and Connection cards will be streamlined to a central location near the Connection Table, and bulletins will be placed directly in chairs.
Hand sanitizer and/or wipes are being placed at convenient locations in our buildings, so please take advantage of them. As always, restroom supplies are stocked with hand cleanser and paper towels.
Our facilities are continually being sanitized and cleaned by our cleaning crew (multiple times each week).
If you have strong doubts as to whether you should come to a gathering due to your own health or the concern of our church family's health, please feel free to stream the weekend worship service from your home. Video streaming of New Heart services is an option we are making available at this time. You can visit our YouTube channel by clicking here: New Heart Church
If watching the live stream is not an option for you, recent sermons will be made available by noon on Monday. Simply click the following link to listen online: www.newheartnaz.org/sermons
As followers of Christ, giving is an important aspect of our worship. New Heart Church relies on that weekly, consistent giving to fund every aspect of ministry. As we go through this season, would you remain faithful in your giving? In addition to traditional mail and Bill Pay through your bank, our secure online giving options offer easy ways to be generous even if you are not physically present at a weekend gathering. Simply click this link to give online: www.newheartnaz.org/give
Our leadership will continue to keep our church family informed as to the impact of the virus on our community and our church family. Additional changes could even come ahead of this weekend’s service.
We recommend you also stay updated with the latest information from the California Department of Public Health and the CDC. Continue reading below to review their official recommendations and other helpful information regarding prevention and preparedness.
As a church family, we must remember that God is in full control. He is sovereign over all creation. Even though it is tempting to be fearful of what is unknown, we know that our God is a mighty fortress and has steadfast love for the world. Precautions such as these may seem unwarranted to some, but if it means preventing the virus from impacting even one person, then it will have been worth implementing these small adjustments during this period of time.
In these anxious days, the church (all of us) can shine as a light of hope, care, faith, patience, and prudence. We can demonstrate for the world how our faith provides true assurance against worry and fear. Let us be in prayer for those that have been affected by this virus and pray that God's will be done as we exercise our faith and wisdom.
New Heart Church Leadership
Important California Department of Public Health and the CDC recommendations:
Stay home when you are sick! Consult with your health care provider to discuss symptoms and obtain medical advice. If you develop emergency symptoms/warning signs, get medical attention immediately. [Refrain from attending church-related gatherings when you, or family members, are sick. Do not return to gatherings until you (and your family members) have been symptom-free (without the use of medications) for at least 24 hours. However, if you suspect, or it is confirmed, that you or a family member has COVID-19, you should remain at home for 14 days after the fever has resolved.]
If you are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 (older adults, and those of any age who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, or lung disease/asthma), the CDC recommends to: stock up on supplies, keep space between yourself and others, avoid crowds as much as possible, limit close contact, and wash your hands often. You should also avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel.
All of us should take everyday precautions. For example, use soap when you are washing your hands (for at least 20 seconds) - particularly when you have just coughed/sneezed, used the restroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Cough and sneeze into a tissue and discard the tissue. If tissue is not available, cough and sneeze into the inside of your elbow and avoid contact with others.
If you have recently traveled to a country in which the CDC has issued a travel notice, please refrain from attending a weekend gathering or midweek ministry gathering for the recommended time frame of 14 days.