There are a lot of great resources on how to talk about Coronavirus/COVID-19 with your children. Here are some of the things I’ve compiled, along with some of our own thoughts on how we can help children during these times.
1. Assessing what your child knows
They have heard many things from many different sources. Talk to them about what they might know: what may be true and what might not be in what they’ve heard. In this age where information is so accessible, try to limit their access to all the information that is out there.
2. Focusing on staying healthy
This can be empowering for children, especially younger children, if they know that they can be part of the solution by keeping healthy themselves. Good hygiene and staying healthy will help everyone, including the older folks around them, stay healthy too. Washing hands is protecting the people around them!
3. Checking your own anxiety
It’s natural to feel anxious at this time. But as you talk to your children, remember that they will look to you to be their peace. It is okay to admit if you are worried but more importantly, it is important to be a non-anxious presence. Remind children that when we worry, we can go to God and ask God for peace.
4. Talking about it age appropriately
Follow their lead and let them ask questions. Here’s a good article to check out about how to talk to children of different ages about it.
5. Being a listening ear
Just like it can be helpful to for us to talk about it, kids need to be able to express what they are thinking and feeling too. By doing this, we model how God hears us too.
6. Calling your family to community
Children (and even adults!) can feel helpless in these situations. Look for ways that you can be a force for good in your community as followers of Jesus. Help an elderly neighbor; encourage and thank your local sanitation and store employees, first responders; pray for those in the community, country and the world. We will get through this if we do this together. Remind children that Christians respond to crisis with love not fear.
7. Praying together
Let your children know that they can bring their sorrows and their fears to God. Praying together can help bring the family together in God’s comfort and remind them that when things feel out of control, God is always watching over us and taking care of us. Praying for others can again help us remember that we can do something about the situation that we are in.
One of the things that I’ve read that will be important during these times will be to set a routine. Routines can give children comfort and security and also will provide caregivers with a framework for the day. Don’t be afraid to use some screen time for distraction but also do try to limit the amount of time that they are on.
Here are some other great resources:
Go to a Virtual Museum — Here is a list of 12 museums that you can explore virtually!
Brainpop.com is a fun online learning resource for kids. They have one for kids K-3 and one for upper elementary-middle schoolers. They’ve made their resource free for children whose schools have been closed when you sign up. They have a resource specifically on coronavirus that you don’t have to sign up for.
Bright Horizons has a list of different resources for younger kids including 10 ways to use a cardboard box and 10 ways to get moving
This is a fun Twitter thread with some ideas of what to do with your kids that includes a link to some fun science experiment.
Write thank-you cards and posters to people who are working hard to make a difference — sanitation workers, health care professionals, first responders, shopkeepers and store employees, and others who you might know!
Don’t forget — you can go outside and move. Just remember to practice social distance. You might want to avoid playgrounds — but wide open spaces, hiking, taking a walk in your neighborhood are all okay.
It can be hard being stuck at home all day but now is a great time to get creative. Being bored can lead to some really great things and to cultivating imagination. Praying that, even though this time could be difficult, that it will be precious time!
Now is a great time to get into reading your Bible a little bit more. Here are three that we recommend from the Bible app from YouVersion:
Many of the devotions from the Bible Project are excellent with great videos that explain what you’re reading. PJ is going through “The Biblical Storyline” reading plan and appreciating how the Bible is one big story about God and about how we fit into it. (Did you know that you can listen to the Bible on YouVersion? That’s how I’ll sometimes “read” my Bible. Perhaps as I’m driving or doing something around the house.)
Here’s a 7-day plan called “No Shadow of Fear” on what the Bible has to say about fear.
Here’s a devotional meditating on the Lord’s Prayer from NT Wright. It takes a look into the Lord’s Prayer as a way to take us from worry to hope.
We also want us to think as Christians about Coronavirus and current events. These are two articles we’ve found helpful:
Here’s a COVID-19 Checklist for Christians — We can do something to be a part of God’s healing and restoration in the world, even in the midst of this crisis. Look out for opportunities to do so with Anchor City in the coming days as well.
Here’s a great article called “Love in the Time of Coronavirus” written for Christian leaders by Andy Crouch — but really for everyone — about how we can choose love over fear and the possibility of helping to shape the culture for the common good, along with some great guidelines for how to deal with the coronavirus. We shared it in an earlier email, but it’s worth sharing again.
* EDIT (March 16, 2020): We are gathering online through Zoom. Please check your emails or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Dear beloved Anchor City family and friends,
There is, understandably, a lot of anxiety and concern about the daily news we receive about Coronavirus/COVID-19. Professional sports suspending their seasons, universities closing down dorms and in-person classes, new cases being reported in our region — we could go on and on.
As your pastors, and as a community of faith in Jesus, we are writing both in the hope of alleviating anxiety with a reminder of God’s peace and offering ways to care for yourself, your family, and your community.
* For the time being, Anchor City will continue to gather on Sundays for worship in-person. We will continue to take all the necessary precautions to keep everyone safe and welcomed, while still fostering a sense of community and connection. You are welcome to express your level of comfort with personal space during our gatherings — we all understand! For example, during the greetings and passing of the peace, please start with a wave or other non-contact greeting. If you’d like to offer a hug or handshake, please ask first! The pastors leading communion will wash their hands before serving. Hand sanitizer will be available and we will continue to remind everyone to please wash your hands regularly.
We’re also preparing for the possibility of “gathering” for worship online or in alternative ways, should the need arise. We do this not from a place of fear, but of proactive faithfulness for the health of our church members and the greater San Diego community. As Shane Claiborne recently said, “I believe in prayer. I also believe in soap.” :)
In the meantime, in moments of particular anxiety, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’d love to pray with you and talk through any fear you might be holding. Let’s remember to be community to each other as well. Texts, calls, and other support are vital reminders that we are not alone and that we have each other as family in Christ.
As Christians, we are a community of hope and love — this is the Good News of Jesus that we can offer to the world. We encourage you to offer hope and love to your neighbors at this time. If you have elderly neighbors, consider checking in on them and offering to run errands for them. Reach out to your friends and neighbors and see how they’re feeling, physically and emotionally. In the coming days, we will find suggestions for ways to help local and global communities who are hardest hit. “Covid-19 Checklist for Followers of Jesus” has some ideas for how we can respond. These are all ways we can demonstrate the truth of Scripture, “Perfect love drives out fear” — 1 John 4:18.
Beloved family, we will continue to monitor the situation and keep you up-to-date. We pray that God’s peace that surpasses all understanding would guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Grace and peace,
Pastors Jeya & Dan
As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?
— Psalm 42:1-2
What Is Lent?
Lent is the forty days leading up to Easter, not including Sundays (during which we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection!). For the Church, this season is a time of reflection, repentance, and renewal. Many followers of Jesus find it helpful to fast during Lent. Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent, is Wednesday, February 26th this year.
What About Fasting?
Fasting has been misunderstood in many ways. Fasting is not:
Proving our spiritual worth by how much we can “suffer”
Giving up sins or bad habits (we should be giving up those things anyways)
Trying out a new diet (going on a low-carb diet is not the same thing as fasting).
When we fast, we take a step back from a good gift of God (for example, food!) in order to seek the Giver of those gifts. When our stomachs growl from hunger, or we feel fidgety from a media fast, we are reminded that our greatest hunger should be Jesus Himself. Dr. Bill Bright of Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) offers several other wise insights into why we should fast.
As Richard Foster writes:
Fasting must forever center on God. More than any other Discipline, fasting reveals the things that control us.
Simply put, we fast so that we can make more room in our hearts for Jesus.
As we withdraw for a time from some good gifts of God during this season, we also encourage you to draw near to the Giver intentionally through spiritual disciplines.
During this Lenten season, we encourage you to pray, fast, and give. Below you can find some Lenten resources (right-click to save PDF files):
The Lent Generosity Challenge
What if Lent was about giving out instead of giving up? This Bible plan is an adaptation of the full 40acts challenge. Our hope is that as you explore and practice biblical generosity in all areas of your life, you would experience its transformational impact. Each day contains a prompt for one act of generosity on that day’s topic, with Sunday reflections summarising the theme of the acts that week.
Journeying With Jesus
‘Journeying With Jesus’ is a Bible plan to help us walk with Jesus through the last two chapters of Matthew. We stop to focus on Jesus’ last days on this earth and what that means to us. How does that change who I am and Whose I am today? We will take time to dwell on Scripture and “bring it home” with questions that make us consider where we are on the journey of knowing Jesus.
Here is a simple Daily Readings for Lent 2020 from our denomination.
If you didn’t have a chance to pick one up, you can either find a hard copy at an Anchor City Sunday worship gathering, right-click on the JPG image above and save, or download the PDF file here.
Seeking & Celebrating Jesus!
We encourage you to break your fast on Sundays. We celebrate the resurrection of Jesus each Lord’s Day, and breaking the fast weekly reminds us that it’s not primarily about our self-discipline, but celebrating the Risen King of grace and life.
The Season of Advent
Advent begins the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day. The word “advent” means “arrival.” During the season of Advent, we celebrate Christ’s coming into the world and watch with expectant hope for his coming again. We celebrate the incarnation of Jesus, “God With Us” and, at the same time, eagerly await the day he arrives again — to redeem, restore, and renew all things.
This is what the Book of Common Worship says about Advent:
In Advent we expectantly wait for the One who has already come. We anticipate the promised justice of God’s new world, yet we praise God who raised the “righteous branch” to rule with justice and righteousness. We hope for the restoration of the afflicted, the tormented, and the grieving, yet we delight that healing has come in Christ. We long for the beating of swords into plowshares, yet we rejoice that the Prince of Peace has appeared. We yearn for the barren deserts of our inner cities to flourish, yet we laud the desert Rose that has bloomed. We dream of the land where lions and lambs live in harmony, yet we acclaim the child born to lead us into the promised land.
The PC(USA) Directory for worship says, “As God created and appointed days, God created a rhythm of time and appointed seasons for worship.” Advent is a gift — a time for us to slow down, breathe, worship, and hope again.
During our worship gathering, we shared some ideas for practices that we can engage to remind ourselves that God is with us. Here are a few of them:
- Not being envious of what other people have / receive as gifts
- Spending quality time in Scripture and in prayer
- Unplugging from technology to be more present during family time
- Using technology / plugging into our calendar apps for reminders of Bible verses, time to pray, etc.
- Being more intentional about how we spend our time and money
- Slowing down
- Volunteering and serving others to make San Diego a better community
- Invite a friend over and see how they’re doing. Listen well. (This one’s from the AC site!)
Anchor City is proud to continue to be a part of the Advent Conspiracy movement. Here’s what Advent Conspiracy is all about (from their website):
Advent Conspiracy was founded on the radical idea that we can celebrate Christmas humbly, beautifully, and generously. Advent is the story of a wondrous moment when God entered our world to make things right. It is the greatest story ever told and it changes everything—including the way we celebrate Christmas.
You can watch the video below to catch a glimpse of what it means to be a part of a different story this Christmas, one that celebrates our King and brings hope to the watching world.
Advent Conspiracy Resources
Here are some resources our friends at AC have generously provided to help you grow deeper in faith, hope, and love this Advent season:
Advent Conspiracy Offering
On the fourth Sunday of Advent, December 22nd, we will have our Advent Conspiracy offering. This year, through our offering, we are thankful to support:
This past Sunday, July 7th, we gathered for Church Without Walls at the PostSecret Exhibit at the San Diego Museum of Man.
This week, as you’re reflecting on this experience, review the following questions. Part of holding out the hope of Christ as the anchor for our souls to our neighbors around the city is moving toward understanding for the struggles they endure.
Also, if you weren’t able to join us on Sunday but would like to visit the PostSecret Exhibit on your own, you can use these reflection questions as a guide.
- Take note of the thoughts and emotions that are evoked as you read through these confessions:
humor? Sadness? Anger? Empathy? Judgment? Shock?
- Were there secrets — particularly about faith / God / doubt / church — that you could relate to?
- What’s one that stuck out to you or was particularly memorable?
- What’s uncomfortable about sharing secrets? Why don’t we do it more often?
- Why do secrets hold power over people?
- What’s the power of sharing a secret? (Confession) What does sharing a secret offer you?
- While the PostSecret project is a good start towards healing, connecting and being heard, why is it not enough?
- How could a community change by being a space where secrets can be shared?
- What would it take for a community to be a safe and brave space for confessing? Can we be a community that holds people’s fears, joys, pain and hopes?
- If a church were to receive secrets like this, what should it do with them?
Part of the power in sharing our secrets is knowing that someone hears it, that someone is listening.
As Psalm 66:19 reminds us, “God has surely listened and has heard my prayer.” We can trust that God hears us.
Here are the longer quotes from today’s sermon (Sunday, April 7, 2019):
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, from Life Together:
Certainly, serious Christians who are put in a community for the first time will often bring with them a very definite image of what Christian communal life should be, and they will be anxious to realize it. But God’s grace quickly frustrates all such dreams… By sheer grace, God will not permit us to live in a dream world…
Those who love their dream of a Christian community more than the Christian community itself become destroyers of that Christian community even though their personal intentions may be ever so honest, earnest, and sacrificial…
Christian community is not an ideal we have to realize, but rather a reality created by God in Christ in which we may participate.
Ruth Haley Barton, from The Transforming Center blog:
We want God as long as we can still have our successes. We like the idea of being on a journey of faith as long as it doesn’t require too much…well, faith. We long for the Promised Land as long as we don’t have to leave anything behind. We want space for God as long as it doesn’t intrude too radically on our packed schedules and conflicting priorities. We want self-knowledge as long as it doesn’t cut too close to the ego bone. We want God’s will as long as it doesn’t make us look too foolish. We want love as long as it’s not too inconvenient. We’d like to buy the pearl of great price as long as we don’t have to sell everything we have. We’re willing to wax eloquent about the Paschal Mystery one weekend a year as long as we’re not the one doing the dying!
Friends, we’re honored to support three amazing organizations with our Advent Conspiracy offering this year.
JVI’s mission is to secure freedom, justice, and restoration for the poor and oppressed by strengthening ventures that promote justice. Our vision is to see unjust communities transformed into communities ordered according to God’s standard of love.
From the time we’ve planted Anchor City together, we’ve supported JVI through our Advent Conspiracy offering. In 2018, JVI has helped create over 2,700 stories of freedom and restoration. All gifts to JVI before the end of the year will be matched up to $100,000, so let’s continue to give generously!
Below is a short video describing JVI’s impact this year:
Freely in Hope is a faith-based nonprofit organization focused on restoring dignity with survivors of sexual violence through holistic educational opportunities and platforms for dreams to be fulfilled.
This is our second year being able to support the good work of Freely In Hope — we’ve had the opportunity to hear from Founder and International Director Nikole Lim at Anchor City. Our giving will help Freely In Hope continue work such as holistic education: “We provide holistic educational opportunities for young women who are survivors of or vulnerable to sexual violence through academic scholarships, health care, safe housing, and trauma-based counseling. Freely in Hope scholars are high school or college students passionate about using their education to transform their communities toward a violence-free world. We equip our scholars to arise from oppression and achieve their academic dreams.”
Our Mission is to help nourish the spirit of the street homeless of San Diego County by providing dignity, hot food, and comfort. Burrito Boyz was created to honor our brothers and sisters during their struggles and provide them with a hot meal and water served with dignity and respect.
Several members of our Anchor City family, including youth group and NextGen families, have served with Burrito Boyz this year. We’re proud to give toward Burrito Boyz as our local Advent Conspiracy partner, and to help continue their streak of over 400 consecutive Sundays of serving others in need.
How to Give
Checks can be written to Anchor City Church, with “Advent Conspiracy 2018” in the memo.
If you’re giving through our Tithe.ly app, please choose “Advent Conspiracy 2018” from the “Give To” menu. You can also give through our website by clicking here (again, please choose “Advent Conspiracy 2018” from the “Give To” menu).
Advent Conspiracy is about the entire body of Christ at work in the world.
As we worship fully, spend less, give more, and love all,
something begins to happen that is greater than any single
person, church, or denomination.
As the Church, we are telling the story of Jesus to the watching world.
Our prayer is that more churches join together to live out
the story of Jesus’ sacrificial love.
God is not finished with our world and He is inviting us
deeper into the Christmas story.
— from adventconspiracy.org
The season of Advent begins the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day — this year, Advent begins on Sunday, December 2nd. This is a season of watching & waiting, of expectation & hope. The word “advent” means “arrival” — we celebrate both the Incarnation of Jesus (that He arrived into the world that first Christmas day) and the return of Jesus, when He will arrive again to redeem, restore & renew all things.
Advent Conspiracy Partners
Anchor City is proud once again to participate in the Advent Conspiracy movement. This year, our Advent Conspiracy offering (happening on December 16th and 24th) will go to support these amazing partners:
Advent Conspiracy Resources
The Advent Conspiracy movement has made several great resources available to help you grow in your love for Jesus and others during this season. Please click the images below to download these resources: