Solidarity and Hope

As I’m sure we’re all experiencing, 2020 continues on as a time of pain, anguish and sorrow. In the midst of the pandemic, sorrow and outrage from and for the black citizens of our nation and their experience of racism and police brutality have erupted.

As a church, we cannot stay silent. Martin Luther King Jr once said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Jesus Christ came to give us life, and to give it abundantly (John 10:10). In order to have the fullness of life that Jesus wants all people to have, we must speak up. We must stand with our black brothers and sisters to say that they are beloved and that they are not alone.

Together, we must affirm this truth: black lives matter.

We understand the complexity of this issue, especially as a largely Asian American church. We might have some reservations because we have friends we’re afraid to offend. We can feel that we are sometimes misunderstood or overlooked or insignificant in this conversation. We may feel that this is not our fight to fight. We may feel outraged at the racism we ourselves have experienced. We may feel overwhelmed in knowing where to start. 

We get it. This is not an easy conversation.

But transformation is rarely easy. We believe that this is part of the transforming nature of our faith that we might become more like Jesus who loved us and all people. 

So let’s start somewhere. 

As your pastors, we are committed to providing space for expression, questioning, and learning together. We are committed to finding helpful resources that will allow you to learn, to grow, to act. We are committed to hearing you. We are committed to giving you a space to express your tiredness, committed to say we are with you and that we love you. We are committed to finding ways to be agents of change in our small corner of the world and finding courage, strength and joy together. 

As such, we are dedicating this month to learning and doing something about racism. We believe your voice matters.

In these pandemic days, one thing we’ve encouraged everyone to do is to imagine a world that is better post-pandemic than pre-pandemic. We believe that that’s the call for this time too. Let’s imagine a world where everyone can live their lives in the fullness that God has created and intended them to be.

With lots of love in our hearts for you, and in sorrow and solidarity with the world,

grace + peace,
Pastors Jeya and Dan

P.S., Thank you to everyone who was able to join us for yesterday’s Interfaith Prayer Vigil for love, peace, and justice in Broadway Heights. Visit our Facebook page here for a glimpse of how we were involved (special thanks to Jin for the wonderful photos!).

How to Talk to Children About the Coronavirus

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.

What to Do with Children During Their Time Off from School

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:

An Example of How To Structure the Day

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!

 

 

Three Bible Reading Plans + Two Great Articles

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.

 

 

A note from your pastors about Coronavirus/COVID-19

Announcement slide with an image of a candle with the text, "A note from your pastors: Living as a community of faith, hope & love in Jesus during this time of Coronavirus/COVID-19" overlaid.

* EDIT (March 16, 2020): We are gathering online through Zoom. Please check your emails or contact us at info@anchorcity.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