Real Church (Part Three)

Our Conference theme for 2021 is Real Church. It only seemed appropriate to remind ourselves of what it truly means to be the church as we begin to walk through (what we hope is) post-pandemic. What we learned over the past year and more is that the church is not the building, it is not the programs, it is not the potlucks. No, the church is the living and breathing body of Christ, at work in our workplaces, our communities, and our homes. For the next few weeks we’ll be taking a closer look at some of the individual expressions of The Church within The Pacific Conference.

We asked each church to answer four simple questions. We’ll share their responses here.

Getting to Know Our Churches

Trinity Community Church (Tigard, Oregon)

  1. Your Congregation’s Favorite Songs (for the moment):
    God So Loved the World (We The Kingdom), Well Done (The Afters),and Waymaker
  2. What is a challenge you’ve faced in the local church because of the pandemic?
    We’ve done online services, first through Zoom, then moved to Youtube and then on to Church Online (and then hosted on our YouTube channel for future viewing). With the help of the Conference Technology Grant we got a great start on the equipment and expertise needed. We need to keep improving and being more creative, but really been able to connect with those either not in our area or still not choosing to come back to the church worship service in-person. Also, have a new website that is far better than the one before it.  It is still a work in progress, but the potential for ministry is getting much greater.
  3. What is a victory you’ve seen in the local church over the course of the pandemic?
    I think one of our best successes has been building our Prayer Ministry during Covid. Being on Zoom was a game changer for us. We still meet on Zoom because is allows so many more people to be able to join us each Tuesday night and on Sunday morning on Zoom before our Worship Service. Our prayer as a church has become an amazing part of who we are and what we do! We don’t have huge numbers, but better than they have ever been before and are continuing to work on being “a house of prayer for all nations”! The other has been keeping our Food Pantry going and helping people through the pandemic and increasing our love for our community and involvement in it! We also have Love INC renting our facility for their offices and building a deeper commitment with them and the ministry of helping others in our community.
  4. Describe something special you’re planning for the summer:
    We have a Neighborhood Picnic coming up this next Saturday and inviting the community. We have done it for about 5-6 years now, and not a huge success, but has connected us to many of our neighbors.We will continue doing something similar (though not a picnic) in the Fall season.

Puyallup Evangelical Church (Puyallup, Washington)

  1. Your Congregation’s Favorite Songs (for the moment):
    PECC enjoys singing hymns: Amazing Grace, Come Thou Fount, At Calvary, How Great Thou Art, Great Is Thy Faithfulness; newer songs 10,000 Reasons, Ancient Words and In Christ Alone are also favorites.
  2. What is a challenge you’ve faced in the local church because of the pandemic?
    The home-going of eight of our members without services for any of them. Loss of activity for the older crowd has been difficult for them…not being able to be together or go out to eat with each other
  3. What is a victory you’ve seen in the local church over the course of the pandemic?
    Meeting new people through Zoom and seeing our congregation increase with out-of-town people. Increase participation in Bible studies and prayer meetings using Zoom.
  4. Describe something special you’re planning for the summer:
    A catered September gathering to remember those who have moved to heaven, celebrate God’s faithfulness, and enjoy fellowship with one another.
Happy Valley Community Church

Happy Valley Community Church (Happy Valley, Oregon)

https://hvcommunity.church/

  1. Your Congregation’s Favorite Songs (for the moment):
    We use a variety of songs and try not to reuse them too much, but the basket of songs we use are typically older choruses (Everlasting God, 10,000 Reasons, You are Holy) with some hymns (The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power, Heaven Came Down) and newer contemporary songs (Hallelujah Here Below, Goodness of God, Here Again). Our worship leader does a great job in using songs that tie into the message.
  2. What is a challenge you’ve faced in the local church because of the pandemic?
    Among a number of challenges, the biggest one we have faced at Happy Valley is to remain unified within all the polarizing issues that have come from the pandemic (masking, social distancing, vaccination). So to equip the Happy Valley families, this year we have gone through preaching series of: “How to Care for One Another”, “One: Hope, Truth, Way”, and “Fruit of the Spirit”. And during our worship service, we have found creative ways to bring together our online streaming community with those who are in person (greeting those who are online by name, allowing in-person to connect with those online via smart phone in the chat of the online stream).
  3. What is a victory you’ve seen in the local church over the course of the pandemic?
    The raised level of gratefulness for one another and the awareness of the blessings we do have. I have been super impressed by the way our people have adjusted to the restrictions the pandemic has brought us by developing new skills in using technology and adapting to virtual meetings, Sunday school classes, and online services.
  4. Describe something special you’re planning for the summer:
    We are in a season of self-care for the church and have chosen to focus on church health by stepping back from some ministries this summer. Then we’ll strategize ways to engage our community for Christ, but right now we are in the middle of the revitalization process with Chuck Lawless of Church Answers.

Before You Go

Please add these churches to your prayer list as they lovingly serve their communities! (Don’t forget to pray for Supt. Randy and Linda while they are on sabbatical. They’ve completed their 10-day quarantine on arrival and are now free to move about the country!)

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