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[Cfamily]This Is My Body, Prepackaged for You
« Reply #1584 on: March 14, 2020, 12:00:09 AM »

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This Is My Body, Prepackaged for You

Coronavirus sparks demand for double-sealed communion.


Every week at University United Methodist Church in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, congregants come forward for Communion.


But in light of concerns about the new coronavirus, the church has ordered boxes filled with hundreds of prepackaged Communion cups and wafers.


“In a variety of ways, we’re just minimizing the level of physical touch that’s happening in the life of the church while still trying to continue somewhat normal activities,” said the Rev. Justin Coleman, who is coordinating with his staff and communicating with fellow clergy in his area about best practices for corporate worship under the new circumstances.


“What we’re saying related to Communion is that what we’re trying to do is minimize any kind of unnecessary touch here.”


Coleman said the purchase of the special cups is part of a “proactive way of thinking about our adjusting practices moving forward” along with changing how people greet one another, fill out registration cards to note their presence, and contribute to the weekly offering.


His historic church of some 1,800 members—with children’s and youth ministries as well as a significant percentage of senior adults—is far from the only one considering such packaged products for a sacred tradition across a range of Christian churches.


“Yes, we have seen a tenfold increase in sales of these items,” said Audrey Kidd, an executive of the United Methodist Publishing House, when asked if the church supplier Cokesbury had received more requests for the packaged option for Communion.



A spokesperson for LifeWay Christian Resources, an arm of the Southern Baptist Convention that offers church supplies, said ...

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CFamily

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[Cfamily]Christians, This Is Our Moment: A Call to Clarity and Mission
« Reply #1585 on: March 15, 2020, 12:00:08 AM »
Christians, This Is Our Moment: A Call to Clarity and Mission

There is no need to panic, but there is a need to plan well and wisely-- protecting our church family and serving the community in Jesus' name.


In the last 24 hours, Americans have seen that the coronavirus COVID-19 is not the seasonal flu that some had dismissed online. It’s serious. It’s life threatening. It’s spreading.


And, it will change our way of life, at least for a while.


There is no need to panic, but there is a need to plan well and wisely. That’s not just the NBA or your local college, but also your church, your family, and you.


So, what can you do? Or, better yet, what should you do?


Seek expertise, not personality


It is not surprising that in the midst of growing panic about the virus there has been a flood of misinformation. One of the most glaring flaws in our society is how we frequently turn to celebrities and media personalities for wisdom and insight, people who often have little wisdom or expertise but might have a broad platform.


Social media is not your friend here—your uncle’s Facebook post is no more useful in this situation than when he posted about that last conspiracy theory. Yesterday.


But, now it’s deadly serious.


In essence, we are reaping the rewards of decades of media polarization and celebrity worship.


This is part of why we’ve launched www.coronavirusandthechurch.com. We want to elevate experts and professionals to help bring accurate information to Christians and church leaders in the midst of confusion.


When there is confusion and uncertainty, look for experts who have dedicated their lives to help. In this case it means the doctors and health care professionals who are courageously fighting and preparing to fight this virus across the country and the globe. Through modeling this effort, church leaders can play a vital role in helping their people cut through the morass of misinformation ...

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White Christians: Trump May Not Be a Good Person, But He Is a Good President

New Pew Research data details the mixed feelings among Trump’s faithful supporters.


Over the past few years, many evangelicals have hesitated to give President Donald Trump their wholehearted approval, claiming they support his political stances but can’t fully endorse his personal life.


In a new survey from Pew Research Center, white evangelicals have somewhat mixed views on the president. While they remain a core constituency of Trump’s, and back him at higher rates than any other religious group, their enthusiasm wavers when it comes to his character and conduct.


Just 15 percent of white evangelicals say “morally upstanding” describes the president very well; a quarter say “honest” is a very good descriptor of him; and fewer than a third say they “like” Trump’s behavior.


In most cases, the plurality of white evangelicals falls in the middle of the survey responses, with responders instead saying he’s “fairly” moral or “fairly” honest or that they have mixed feelings about the way Trump conducts himself. There’s a sizable jump between the 12 percent of white evangelicals who believe Trump to be “very religious” and the 52 percent who say he’s “somewhat religious.”


Evangelicals who defend Trump have sometimes stated that they “aren’t looking for a pastor in chief” and that they judge politicians by their policies rather than their personal piety.


Of course, morals still matter to evangelical voters, but according to Pew, they matter not quite as much as whether a leader is on their side.


While 63 percent of white evangelicals prioritize political leaders’ sense of morality and ethics, 67 percent say it’s just as important that they stand up for people with their ...

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When your Church Can’t Meet, Gather your Family for Worship:  How to Have a Family Worship Experience at Home

Whether you are a parent, a grandparent, aunt or uncle, or friendly neighbor, you can still gather together for a worship experience.


Many churches are pushing pause on gathering their congregants for weekly worship services during this season of coronavirus risk, including children’s ministry classes and groups. While many of us might be tempted to enjoy a break from church, that’s the last thing we really need. At times like this, we desperately need God’s Word to reassure us that He is in control; we need to sing songs that remind us of His power; we need worship.


The Bible teaches us to “watch out for one another to provoke love and good works, not neglecting to gather together (emphasis mine), as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25, CSB) We know, as Christ followers, that we are called to gather together as the Church—the bride of Christ Himself. However, as we retreat to the safety of our houses under city ordinances and precaution, we should look around and recognize that the very people we live with in our homes are part of that same calling—our family. We should continue (or start) to gather together to worship as a family.


Whether you are a parent, a grandparent, aunt or uncle, or friendly neighbor, you can still gather together for a worship experience. This may sound intimidating to you, like something you are not equipped for, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact now is the perfect time to start doing a family worship time, and to keep doing long after coronavirus leaves us.


If you read the portion of Deuteronomy 6 sometimes referred to as the Shema, it’s easy to see that family discipleship is a scriptural command: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and ...

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[Cfamily]A Christian Response to Racism in the Year of Coronavirus
« Reply #1588 on: March 18, 2020, 12:00:08 AM »
A Christian Response to Racism in the Year of Coronavirus

Fear and emotions can also be drivers for unhelpful behaviors, such as panic and self-destruction.


In the past couple of days, it feels like the coronavirus crisis has escalated to an unprecedented level. In reality, statistics of the spread have not changed that drastically. However, the response has generated some swift and drastic measures such as the NBA and NCAA sports being suspended, conferences being canceled, Disneyland and cruise ships closing, and universities shutting their campuses and moving all classes online for the rest of the semester.


This just happened with my university, and now all of us professors have a steep learning curve to transition to an entirely new platform mid-semester (many of us have never taught online before).


What is often lost in the midst of all this, however, is not just the left-brain, scientific, practical ways to handle the pandemic; it is the emotional intelligence side of all of this.


To continue with the university example, it is very easy for professors to get immersed in the logistics of how to suddenly learn to deliver online classes. But in the meanwhile, we may forget that our students are worried about things like losing their on-campus job, which leads to their inability to pay off their tuition, which means they might not graduate.


Being a good professor means that we not only become good deliverers of online content, but good shepherds of our students’ well-being. Ironically, teaching an online class actually requires us to be more pastoral than teaching in-person.


What is driving much of these drastic responses is emotions and fear.


Fear and emotions can be good things, as they are designed to protect us from things that may harm us (in fact, I do think that using the “sledgehammer to kill the fly” approach may actually be warranted right now to “flatten ...

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[Cfamily]Christians Should “Rest” During the COVID-19 Shutdown
« Reply #1589 on: March 20, 2020, 12:00:09 AM »
Christians Should “Rest” During the COVID-19 Shutdown

In light of the current coronavirus crisis, I want to highlight at least three ways—under the New Covenant and Christ’s finished work on the cross—that believers can and should rest.


Many institutions that serve as gathering places of large amounts of people have shut down all over the country due to the COVID-19 crisis. Schools, churches, sporting events, concerts, and the like are canceled. Even movie theaters are selling limited quantities of tickets to curb the amount of people in proximity to one another.I think it bears repeating over and over—DO NOT PANIC. These are all precautionary measures taken to help “flatten the curve.”As I sit in my home office on Saturday, March 14, thinking about how my family will be relegated mostly to our home over the next couple of weeks, the phrase that comes to my mind as a believer is, “Take this time to rest.”What does it truly mean to rest?We learn early on in Scripture that God designed, instituted, and even himself practiced rest. We also see that God instituted Sabbath rest for Israel—not only was this a command, but also a sign displaying God’s covenant relationship with Israel (Exod. 31:12-18). Fast-forwarding to the Gospels, we see rest in a Christo-centric light.In light of the current coronavirus crisis, I want to highlight at least three ways—under the New Covenant and Christ’s finished work on the cross—that believers can and should rest.First, we must rest in Christ.The spread of and effects of this virus remind us of the fallenness of our world. And while we can take precautions to limit the spread and thus the effects, the underlying diagnosis is the same—the world is sinful and in desperate need of redemption.Many human beings since the Enlightenment think that humanity can usher in some type of utopia—purging the world of its darkness and chaos. Christians know better. While ...

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[Cfamily]Students Are Scrambling After Universities Close. Churches Can Help.
« Reply #1590 on: March 21, 2020, 12:00:07 AM »
Students Are Scrambling After Universities Close. Churches Can Help.

How to best offer support and encouragement to young people and faculty affected by COVID-19.


They're taking us out of the dorms on Friday. I have to try to pass my midterms while figuring out where my stuff is going to go.


When Tommy Britt received a panicked text from a college senior on March 15, it hit close to home. His friend studies at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, where students have been asked to vacate and transition to online learning. Britt could relate. As a Carnegie Mellon PhD student, he is now teaching classes online.


The mass migration of students from American college campuses has caught parents off guard, overwhelmed students, and confused professors who had to configure online education. Tuesday night, 12,000 students were told to move when NYU decided to close their Manhattan residence halls. At Wheaton College, students on spring break were told they could return only to collect their possessions and move out.


Though colleges are closing too fast to count, roughly 2.5 million students were living in college residences at the 2010 census, roughly 12 percent of America's college students. UNESCO estimates that over 120 million tertiary students have faced school closures globally.


Closing dorms will likely save lives since residence halls have shared kitchens, bathrooms, and dorm rooms that make quarantine difficult. But many students who rely on colleges for meals, housing, and healthcare have nowhere to go. While many colleges are offering exceptions, the process of applying to stay adds to student uncertainty. According to Aaron King, a House Assistant Dean at Cornell University, many students feel overwhelmed with information and decisions.


Transitions to online teaching are impacting every student, not just those who are unsure of where to live and how to connect. Many classes with ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/UXMqy1RHyz8/college-students-vacate-universities-churches-intervarsity.html
https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/116146.jpg?w=460
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[Cfamily]Pentecostal Pastor Won’t Stop Church for COVID-19
« Reply #1591 on: March 22, 2020, 12:00:08 AM »
Pentecostal Pastor Won’t Stop Church for COVID-19

What if congregations don’t comply with public health orders? We’re about to find out.


A pastor in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, says he will defy government orders intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19.


The Oneness Pentecostal congregation met on Tuesday, despite the declaration of a state-wide public health emergency banning gatherings of 50 or more people. Life Tabernacle Church plans to meet again on Sunday, setting up a possible legal clash between religious liberty protections and the state’s authority to respond to a pandemic.


“The virus, we believe, is politically motivated,” pastor Tony Spell told CNN affiliate WAFB. “We hold our religious rights dear, and we are going to assemble no matter what someone says.”


The church typically draws more than 1,000 attendees on Sunday. About 300 gathered Tuesday night and the pastor posted a 25-minute clip of the service from Central City News on his Facebook page. Ministers passed out anointed handkerchiefs and Spell preached about fear.


“This is an extreme test brought on us by the spirit of antichrist and the mystery of lawlessness,” he told the congregation. “What good is the church in an hour of peril if the the church craters and caves in to the fears and the spirits of torment in our society?”



Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards declared the emergency on Tuesday, sharply limiting public and private gatherings of people in the state. Edwards, who is Catholic, is following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which says the impact of the highly infectious coronavirus can be mitigated by reducing social interaction.


“I'm a person of faith,” Edwards said in his public announcement. “I ...

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Source: Pentecostal Pastor Won’t Stop Church for COVID-19

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