Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

  • Tuesday, March 17th, 2020
  • ​​​​​​​Wednesday, July 15th, 2020

 

Dear Cedar Grove Family,
 

During the week of March 8, we began closely monitoring the rapidly escalating health crisis. After following the advice of our local health department and the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as communicating with other churches in our area, we made the very hard decision to close our doors for what we thought would only be a couple of weeks. On Sunday, March 15, we took our first baby steps into the world of online church. While we had previously provided online audio files, we had never dabbled in the realm of video sermons online. It was a bumpy beginning, but we were able to provide you with the sermon via video on our website!

 

On Monday morning, March 16, we called the staff together for a brainstorming session to discuss what we would do if a shelter-in-place order was mandated. Anticipating that this was a very likely scenario, we talked about what we needed to do to stay connected with all of you and how we could improve upon our first online service attempt. As we were gathered, praying and planning, every single one of us got an emergency alert on our phones! A shelter-in-place mandate was to be in effect at 12:00am on Tuesday, March 17.

 

Well, here we are, 17 weeks later! With a resourceful spirit and some experienced assistance, we have made significant strides in our online presence. Our Sunday morning services have markedly improved, and while we have more improvements to make, I am so excited for how far we’ve come. Our Sunday experience includes the use of Facebook Live so that we can interact with all of you! Of course we miss you all so very much, but when we watch the chat boxes and see your greetings, funny comments, words of encouragement, responses to God’s word and your floating “smiles and hearts” bubble by, we feel like we are with you and you’re with us! 

 

Thankfully, we had the resources to purchase some new equipment and we have learned so much about how to make our Sunday experience great. I am so thankful for our staff and their tenacity with figuring out the tech pieces. I am especially thankful for Johnny Levi and his help in the production side of things. You’ve all seen Johnny during a few of our services when he joins Andrew for the music portion of our videos. Johnny has an abundance of experience in the music, audio and video side of things, and those skills are so important as more people are watching and engaging with our services than ever before. In fact, we literally have a worldwide audience! The time and resources we’ve put into broadcasting the services has been necessary and a very good investment for us. As we join hundreds of thousands of churches using this technology, the message of God’s love and redemption has gone viral. (It’s nice to use the word viral in a positive way!)

 

I really wanted to be able to give you a definitive regathering plan in this communication, however that is not possible at this moment. I want you to know that Joel and I, along with the elders, are constantly monitoring and evaluating our situation. I regularly attend meetings with the Alameda County Public Health Officer and other county officials. These virtual meetings are super helpful as we navigate this tumultuous situation. Please pray for us.

 

I have tried to think of a word picture to describe this season of life and what comes to mind is wind and waves. We are constantly hearing about surges and flattening curves, highs and lows, ebbs and flows, and I feel like I’m getting a bit seasick! However, I know full well that Jesus is in charge. As the scriptures call out: Even the winds and the waves obey him.

 

We can hear the sound of the wind and see the trees moving, but we can’t actually see the wind. In that way, it’s a bit like COVID-19. We can’t see it, but we sure can see its effects. While fighting an invisible enemy should not be a foreign thought to Christ followers, we are struggling with this battle just the same. It is difficult to know exactly where to strike and when to duck and dodge!

 

Waves are one of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring things of nature. Looking at the ocean, you can see innumerable waves as far as the eye can see. You can even see waves from an airplane, and you realize they are endless. They are in continual motion – rising up, moving forward, losing their momentum, and then rising up again. They surge; now that is a word that has become familiar to all of us! Surging waves are produced when huge swells reach shorelines with a steep profile. They travel at high speeds and have no crest associated with them. Although they might seem harmless because they don’t break like other waves, they can be very dangerous because of the strong pulling effect associated with them. They can literally suck you out to deep and treacherous waters.

 

What’s my point? I simply want to communicate that we have some very precarious waters to navigate as we work toward regathering. So again, please pray for us as we work toward the goal of meeting together. We so much want to be with all of you in person! Pray as we navigate Exposure Control Plans, Contact Tracing, Site Plans, Safety Protocols, Health Screenings, Face Coverings, Social Distancing, no singing, no hugs, no handshakes…I’m feeling seasick again!

I want to share a quote I read recently: Please keep in mind that both the gathered church and the distributed church are equally valid and important expressions of the Body of Christ. Jesus never intended for the church to be only contained in a building on Sunday mornings. COVID-19 has given us an opportunity to engage our communities in new ways. We should not just long to return to what was, we also should eagerly join God in building something better.

 

Thank you, church family, for your faithful giving during this difficult time. Because of your generosity we’ve been able to continue our ministry. We’ve also been able to support missionaries globally and partner locally with Open Heart Kitchen and other non-profits in the area to provide food for those in need in our community.

 

So much is going on behind the scenes! With the building closed, we are taking advantage of this time to continue some of our renovation projects. We have new paint and carpet in some of our kids’ areas, and we are painting the offices in the next few weeks. Oh, and watch for our new logo soon!

 

Again, thank you for joining our online services and devotionals. Your attendance and interaction mean so much to us! Additionally, I know that many of you are connected through Life Groups and are finding a variety of other ways to check in on one another. What a beautiful picture of the church in action!

 

Continue being faithful, invite your friends to our services and love your family and neighbors. As we continue to work diligently to bring you great online services, we look forward to the day when we can safely regather. We love you.

 

Luwanna Dice

Executive Director

  • Wednesday, May 27th, 2020
  • Friday, May 1st, 2020

 

Hello Cedar Grove Family!


As we head into the month of May, I want you to know that I miss seeing you in person. After Monday’s news informing us of an extension of our shelter-in-place mandate, I am increasing thankful that we can “see” each other online. It has been a blessing to watch our Sunday Services together! We have an international following, with viewers from as far away as Africa! Zoom Meetings, Zoom Life Groups and Zoom Coffees are now part of our everyday lives!

 

Our Cedar Grove Staff is busier than ever as we work on providing our online Sunday services, Tuesday and Thursday devotionals, and our Youth and Kid’s Ministries. Our Care Ministry is providing for the needs of our church family, our neighbors and those in our city that need food and shelter. We are partnering with two organizations here in Livermore as they distribute food to the hungry and provide shelter for those at highest risk in our homeless population.

 

I am in awe and my heart is filled with thankfulness for your generous giving during this difficult time. Because of your financial sacrifices, we can continue our mission to be the church, providing for the spiritual and physical needs of so many. Thank you!

 

As most of you know, my favorite part of doing ministry happens in the spring and summer. I love that our High School students go on an annual mission trip and then they serve in our VBS! I believe our camps are a highlight of the year, not just for the campers, but for the leaders as well. The importance we have placed on our camps and how they impact the spiritual development of a child/teen, is an important part of Cedar Grove’s vision to reach students and kids with the life changing truth of God’s Word. Last year we had 230 kids come to our VBS and 150 kids and teens attend our camps.

 

It is with a heavy heart that I must inform you that our summer programs will be put on hold for the summer of 2020. In an abundance of caution and anticipating the need to adhere to social distancing well into the summer, we have made the decision to take the necessary step to take the year off from having our VBS, Junior Camp, Middle School Camp and our High School Houseboat Camp. Next Steps Missions, the organization we partner with for the high school mission trip, notified us last week of their decision to postpone all trips for this summer. If you have a high school student signed up for that trip, you will hear additional information from our Student Ministries staff later today.

 

As we pray for those of you with kids and teens as they process the loss of these very important and special activities, we ask that you pray for us as well. This is one of the most difficult decisions we have ever had to make. We know this decision will affect the lives of kids and teens in a very profound way. For those of you that do not have kids and teens who would have attended these programs, please pray for those families and for us.

 

Now, some better news…You will be receiving information on our Virtual VBS very soon! We also hope to have some activities for our Middle Schoolers and our High Schoolers later in the summer; we will keep you posted!

 

I saw a quote recently, and forgive me for using it here without permission, as I am not sure who said it first: “The comeback is always stronger than the setback”. We will most certainly have setbacks during this time of crisis, but I do believe we will come back from this time with a stronger, renewed sense of our purpose and calling, and we will have learned so much about new ways of doing ministry. Once again, thank you for your partnership in the gospel! Thank you for your generous and sacrificial giving in this uncertain time.

 

While we may not know what “it” is exactly, it is a huge comfort to know that God’s got “it”! At Junior Camp, the kids sing the following lyrics and they sing them like they mean them!

 

My fear doesn't stand a chance
When I stand in Your love

 

I am thankful for God’s perfect love that casts out fear and I am thankful for all of you,

 

Luwanna Dice

Executive Director

  • Tuesday, April 7th, 2020

 

Hello Church Family!  


Just a few days ago marked the one-year anniversary of our family joining you here at Cedar Grove!  While I anticipate many more years to come, I want you to know that it has been a privilege to be with you and a joy to lock arms in ministry with you.  Thank you so much for embracing me and my family as together we seek to grow in Christ and make a difference in the lives of those in the Tri-Valley and beyond.


I love the local church.  I believe in the potential of the local church.  I’ve devoted my life to serving His church…and there’s nothing I’d rather do.  I know there are countless expressions of the church across the world and while we don't always get it just “right”, the church is still beautiful and is still God’s idea.  I believe she is the greatest agent for eternal kingdom impact on planet earth.  I truly want our Sunday gatherings and our LifeGroup gatherings to be a highlight of your week.  I want them to be environments where you are inspired and encouraged in your faith.  I want them to be places that you want your friends to experience along with you.  We need to be a church that’s devoted to helping people who are far from God find life in Christ and helping those who know and love Jesus walk with Him.  That’s the reason why we open our doors.  And that’s also what makes this season so different, and difficult.


If you don't mind me saying, I didn’t anticipate us weathering a global pandemic!  While this season certainly surprises me — it doesn't surprise our God.  He still reigns and rules and His perfect plans will continue to unfold…unswervingly.  But it also means that we’ve had to adjust and adopt new ways to reach the world and grow together.
I want you to know that you have been on my mind a great deal…and in my prayers.  It’s difficult for our leadership when we must cancel or delay another event, camp, or gathering.  I’m particularly heavy-hearted for our singles, single parents, widows/widowers, seniors, parents with young kids, grandparents who can't see their families, those without a close (physically or relationally) family, those with medical needs, medical professionals…and the list goes on.  Every day I feel the weight of my concern for you — I bet you do too.  I don't want anyone to be alone…and yet, I’m sure many of you are.  That’s why I want to encourage you to utilize the opportunities we have to connect to one another.  Here are some examples:

 

  • Participate in our Sunday services each week online, on Facebook LIVE at 10am
  • Join Joy & me for a 15-minute devotional on Facebook LIVE, Tuesdays & Thursdays at 8am
  • Meet with your LifeGroup on ZOOM   
  • Explore our website for various tools and resources for students and kids
  • Let us know if you or someone you know has a specific need and we’ll do our best to help.  We’re also partnering with organizations who know what the local needs are.  We want to find ways to be a blessing to the community during this difficult time.

 

Even though we don't have a physical building to gather in right now, and even though we can't exchange handshakes or hugs, let’s take advantage of other ways to connect.  


Let me wrap up with a few final words: First, I want you to know that I am so proud of you.  You are demonstrating your love for your church family in countless ways.  Thank you for continuing to love your “neighbor” (including the people you live with), praying for your church, continuing to sacrifice through your giving, and for your words of encouragement.  I can't tell you what a gift your encouragement has been to me! 


Secondly, I want you to be encouraged that God is using our online messages to reach a lot of people right now.  Speaking of, you have a unique opportunity THIS Sunday to invite your friends and family members to join us for our ONLINE Easter experience!  (It will be on Cedar Grove Community Church’s Facebook page at 10am!)  As Paul writes: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Rom. 10:15) …so get yourself a spiritual pedicure and help us spread the word!  Listen.  Even though we’re isolated in our homes God isn’t sitting on His hands.  Let’s join Him in what He’s doing in the world as He brings good out of this tragedy.


Third, we are having a short Good Friday service this Friday at 7pm (again, on CGCC’s Facebook page).  We will be sharing in communion together, so if possible, attempt to procure some grape juice or wine and a little bread.  If that’s not possible, use the next best thing that you have available to you.  This will be a meaningful time together as we “proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes” (1 Cor. 11:26).


Thank you for exercising great caution.  Thank you for loving our community by adhering to the social distancing guidelines that have been given to us.  And thank you for your continued faithfulness and partnership in the gospel.  It’s good to know that I’m not alone.  I hope you feel the same.


Grateful for you,


Joel

  • Tuesday, March 17th, 2020

 

Hello Cedar Grove,

 

It’s day one of our “shelter in place” directive, and as a church, we want to walk through this unprecedented season together with you! 

 

In less than a week, the job descriptions for the Cedar Grove staff have changed.  We have shifted from centralized ministry on the church property, to learning how to reach out to where you are through technology. This is a steep learning curve for us but we are working hard to get up to speed so that we can help one another through this difficult time. Over the next few weeks, we will be trying some new things in order to encourage you, care for you, and equip you with new ways to share the love of Jesus with those in your sphere of influence.

 

With that, here is our plan for ministry over these next few weeks, summarized in three words: Prayer, Care, Share.

 

1. PRAYER

Fears and uncertainty could easily overtake many right now. We can't think of a better time than now to join with others in prayer. As individuals, pairs, or small groups we can pray for our church, our nation, and the world. This will be key in providing comfort, healing, and stability amongst us. We will be providing prayer opportunities and support as we move forward. As a start, we would ask that each of you find a prayer partner or two from Cedar Grove (someone outside of your household), that you can call at least once a week, share requests, and pray together over the phone. Don't forget to pray with thanksgiving. (Php. 4:6-7) Express your gratitude to God for who He is and what He’s done.

 

Additionally, we have a prayer team that will pray for your specific needs. If you have a request that you would like to submit, please email Kathryn Johnson. You can find the link at the bottom of the home page of our website.

 

2. CARE

Secondly, we want to make sure each of you receives the care that you need during this time. If you are in need of someone to pick up groceries for you, take you to a doctor’s appointment, or provide a listening ear, we have people on hand who would love to serve you. Simply fill out this need request form, or email Kelly Curtis. If you would like to join the team of those who are able to provide care to others, Kelly would love to know that as well.

 

Also, let’s keep a collective eye out for those beyond our church who may need help. We would love to serve our community in whatever way we can.

 

3. SHARE

This goal is two-fold. First, we want to keep in close communication with you by providing information, devotionals, encouragement, and our Sunday messages. Secondly, we will be doing our best to facilitate online engagement with you, so we can feel connected as a church. The primary way we will be doing these two things is through email and Facebook. If you are not already on Facebook, we urge you to set up an account right now (facebook.com) and then like/follow the Cedar Grove Community Church Facebook page. If you need help with this process, please respond to this email, and we will find someone to help walk you through it. You can also follow us on Instagram.

 

Additionally, we are encouraging you to share the content that we will be providing to reach your “digital neighbor” for Jesus. Take advantage of this amazing opportunity for the gospel to spread around the world in ways never seen before! Reviewing us on Facebook and Google, sharing our posts, and sharing the link to our website (cedargrove.org) and sermons will give us a greater reach and you an opportunity to spread the hope of Jesus to so many who are searching. 

 

We can't thank you enough for your encouraging words, diligent prayers, and faithful stewardship during this time. We are going to get through this TOGETHER. We love each and every one of you and we are excited to see what God is going to do in and through each one of us as we link arms together in faith. 

 

Here to serve you,

The CGCC staff
 

  • Saturday, March 14th, 2020

 

Hello, Cedar Grove!

 

We are certainly living in unusual days as confirmed cases of the Coronavirus around the world and in the United States continue to rise.  Most of us have never lived through something quite like this. In light of all that is transpiring, we want to share how the Coronavirus is impacting us as a church family.

 

Out of love and care for our community, we have decided to move our Sunday services exclusively online, until it is safe to reconnect.  We believe this to be the wisest course of action to protect those in our body who may be more vulnerable to the virus, and to help slow the spread in our area.

 

None of us knows how long this period will last, but regardless of how long we are apart, we will continue being the church, providing weekly ministry in a variety of creative ways— praying, teaching, serving, caring, and loving others.  And we can look forward to a wonderful reunion when we are able to meet all together again!

 

In the meantime we are grateful that we live in an era of human history when we can use modern technology to continue to connect, learn, and grow.

 

Here’s the plan:

 

>> We will continue to update this page as to how the Coronavirus is impacting ministry at the church.  We will also send out important information via email.

 

>> You can still expect a message from me and we hope to post it to a designated page easily accessible on our website, by 9:00 am on Sunday.  Feel free to share this link with others who you may think will be encouraged by the message, and as is safe to do so, plan a ‘watch party’ with your family, friends, or life group. Additionally, on the same web page, we hope to offer devotional experiences, Life Group tools, and kids ministry resources to you.

 

>> We want to do our best to stay connected.  Our Facebook and Instagram pages will be a great way to do so.  Consider following those accounts if you aren’t already.  (Facebook @ cedar grove community church // Instagram @  cedargrove_cc)

 

>> Giving is an expression of our worship to God, putting Him first, and trusting Him with what He provides. As you know, our church depends on our faithful giving each week. We still have operating expenses and are working hard behind the scenes to do ministry in creative ways. Will you continue to partner with us, as God leads in this area? It is easy to give online, or you can mail or deliver a check in person to the church. I think it would speak volumes if we were able to get through this difficult time together without having to make drastic changes.

 

>> Lastly, we want to do whatever we can to love and serve one another and others in the days ahead.  Be on the lookout for the unique opportunities God brings you to bless, comfort, and encourage others.  If you need help accessing the sermon or our website, please contact us at office@cedargrove.org, or call 925.447.2351 and we will have someone assist you.

 

While these changes will be an adjustment for each of us, in no way do we believe it will hold back our church or the global Church—quite the contrary.  Jesus said the gates of hell won’t prevail against His church, so what makes us think a virus has the power to do so?  While we are suspending our physical gatherings we are not suspending our mission.  His movement will continue to advance.

 

As a follower of Jesus, I want you to know that you are a part of something truly special.  Historically, Christians have largely shined through difficult times.  God’s family has flourished in the face of adversity, and often, these events are the very things that awaken people to their need for a Savior.  It’s not that any of us would ever wish hardship on another, however, God undoubtedly uses these sorts of things to draw many people to Himself.  It would not surprise me if He uses this difficult time to do the same.

 

I don’t presume to know exactly where all of this headed — none of us do.  To be sure, these are uncertain days, but only to us.  We can continue to trust in the God who is good, even in the midst of all of the not-good.

 

I want you to know that I’ve been thinking of you and praying for you and us as a church family.  I also want you to be assured that Cedar Grove’s leadership will continue to keep a close eye on things and will share any updates pertinent to our church as they arise.  In the meantime, I cannot thank you enough for your kindness, patience, prayers, and continued support.  We’re in this together.

 

Our anchor is Jesus.

Our confidence is Jesus.

Our hope is Jesus.

Our future is Jesus.

 

Absolutely nothing that happens in this world will ever change that.

 

All for Jesus!

 

Joel

  • Thursday, March 12th, 2020
  • Wednesday, March 10th, 2020

 

Hello Cedar Grove,
 
We care about you and your family and we are working daily on our preparedness/response plan for Cedar Grove during the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. We are closely tracking news both locally and globally. Our staff is monitoring updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Alameda County’s Public Health Department. We have also consulted with local healthcare providers.
 
As of this morning we are planning on holding our Sunday morning services at 9:00am and 10:45am. We are taking precautionary measures to create an environment where we can gather to worship. Based on all our information, here are the precautions we are taking to mitigate the spread of illness during this season:

 

>> Our Greeters will still welcome everyone as usual; they will give you a wave and a smile instead of a handshake.

 

>> We are providing hand sanitizer throughout our building. You will find hand sanitizing stations throughout our lobby and at our Kids Ministry check in areas.

 

>> In our Kids Ministry areas, we will continue to wipe down check-in surfaces between services with disinfectant.

 

>> We will not pass offering baskets during the service, but our Give and Connect boxes are available on the way out of the Worship Center. We recommend that you give your tithe and offering online by clicking here.

 

We ask that you stay home if you are sick. We encourage you to take some time to understand proper prevention measures to avoid spreading the coronavirus and other illnesses by reading through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.
 
Please make informed decisions related to your family and circumstances, and take extra caution if you are in one of the high-risk demographics.

 

We will provide necessary updates to you via email and by posting them on our website. Our plans and protocols will change and adjust quickly based on the updates we receive.

 

Please join us in praying for those around the world and in our community who are affected by this virus. Pray for the healthcare providers, caregivers, medical teams and researchers as they work tirelessly to minimize the impact of this virus.
 
Prayerfully,
 
Luwanna Dice
Executive Director

 

 

 

FAQ's//Frequently Asked Questions

How long will we be suspending our auditorium gatherings?
Will Life Groups still meet?
Will women's Bible study still meet?
Will youth still meet?
Are the church offices still open?