June 26, 2020
Dear TCCBC church family,
Greetings in the Lord to you and your family! This coming Sunday marks the end of our church’s 2019-2020 fiscal year. It is worth for us to pause and ponder the footprints of grace from God this past year. To the church, most surprising is within a short half-year time span, God sent three pastors among us, to individually focus on feeding and leading our Cantonese, English and Mandarin congregations. As you all realize, having three very seasoned and experienced pastors is rare for larger churches, let alone a church of our size. We all understand this was not accomplished by efforts of men, but by the surpassing grace of our gracious Lord in heaven. Beyond any of our anticipation was the arrival of the coronavirus, which seemed as if the entire world hit the pause key in so many unimaginable ways. Governments in the U.S. and across the world had issued the shelter in place order. Even churches have been unable to gather onsite for worship. Fortunately, in the age of technologies, people have been able to temporarily overcome the worship on site restrictions using computers and video conferencing. What is particularly worth our thanksgiving to God is the spiritual feeding from God’s Word every week by our three pastors, enabling us to walk through what was like the shadow of the valley of death, and continue to press on toward the dawning light. This is God’s provision to Tri-City Chinese Baptist Church. It is God’s mercy for us. It is God’s goodness to us. Lord, we worship You. We praise You for your lovingkindness. We praise Your holy name!
I believe many of you have already heard the news on the issue of a phase 1 of Stage 3 order from officials of the Alameda county where our church is in. The county health services issued the loosening of restrictions starting on June 19, 2020, permitting operation of outdoor museums, outdoor restaurants and cafes, religious services, indoor and outdoor retail stores, and outdoor exercise classes. According to this directive, churches are permitted to reopen with under 100 participants or within 25% of its seating capacity. From the earlier survey we conducted, we are within this requirement under the separate worship services arrangement in the first phase of reopening. The Church Reopening Committee have established the necessary precautionary, cleaning and sanitary preparations in their multiple meetings. At this point, the church is tentatively targeting July 12 to start the phased reopening of the church according to guidelines from the government’s relaxing restrictions. If we are able to reopen as expected, we will inform you separately. We need to thank brothers and sisters from our English congregation. They will be going through trial runs onsite the next two Sundays to ensure that we are thoroughly prepared for the reopening. Please pray for them also.
While it is exciting and joyous to be back in church for worship onsite, I must remind everyone that the epidemic in the U.S. is still very serious. At this writing, the cases of global coronavirus infections have gone beyond 9.7 million. The number of deaths has surged past 490,000. There have been over 2.5 million infections and 126,000 deaths in the U.S. alone. Twenty-seven states in the country are experiencing increasing rates of infections, with California being one of them. Recently, the governor had ordered everyone to wear a mask when they go out. I hope that we continue to be vigilant to be on guard with our own health.
However, I also came across a piece of exciting news. A well-known Italian physician, Dr. Matteo Bassetti, who is the center of diseases manager at a large hospital, declared a weakening of the coronavirus. He said one of the reasons for the virus becoming weaker could be that it has mutated in response to social distancing measures. (News source from FoxNews, “Coronavirus weakening, may disappear on its own, Italian doctor says” on June 22, 2020.) Obviously, we do not know if the pandemic development is as optimistic as what was indicated by this doctor. But we can definitely continue to pray for improvements of the pandemic and our daily lives returning to normal.
The semi-annual edition of our Heavenly Dew has been published. Perhaps due to the pandemic, we have not received many articles. But we want to thank those who spent time writing and submitting their sharing. May God give encouragements to many brothers and sisters through your submitted sharing, and enable all of us to give thanks to God for His wonderful grace and provision. Because of the pandemic and distribution logistics, the editing committee had decided not to provide a print edition of Heavenly Dew this time. Instead we have placed all the articles on the church website. To read the Chinese edition online, click 中文. And for the English edition, please click English.
We have started accepting registrations for the Christian Leadership Training, and have already received a number of submitted registrations. In order to obtain a count of participants, I want to invite you all to register as soon as possible by sending your completed registration form to Pastor Lee’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
Awaiting the church reopening with you together,
Pastor Job Lee, Senior Pastor
With fellow church leadership team