Welcome to our website. These are certainly strange times. We thank you for visiting with us. As you're probably aware churches are currently prevented from meeting together in person. To that end, we have adapted---as The Church has done over the centuries---to enable us to continue to meet. Our Services can now be found at the All Saints Community Church YouTube channel by clicking here.
Why don't you join us for Church on Sunday at 10:30am. If you've got any further questions, don't hesitate to call us. We look forward to worshiping with you.
The peace of our Lord,
Bishop Peter Klenner
All Saints Community Church
Living In Exile
A pastoral letter from the Right Reverend Peter Klenner
All Saints Community Church
The Feast of Saint Barnabas the Apostle
11th June 2020
Dear Church Family,
Greetings in Jesus' name. I pray this letter finds you safe and well.
Last week, the British theologian N.T. Wright wrote that being a Christian during a global pandemic was like being in exile. The more I thought about this, the more I empathized with him. When we consider that pretty-well every church in the world has closed down, and that we haven't been together in our own church building since the 22nd of March, it sure seems like exile. So, I'm writing to you from a position of exile; we're in Babylon at the moment, but one day we'll be back in Jerusalem!
The last few months has meant that we've had to be creative as a community in the ways we worship our Lord together. For one, we now have online YouTube services. Who would have ever thought...? People from all over the world are now watching our worship services. We're also having to commit to "social-distancing" hugs!; in no way as good as real hugs! Other issues we are having to deal with are when and how we go back to meeting as a community, and what do we do about a rental facility for which we've been paying rent but not using. Our Elders have done much praying and seeking God's guidance during these last few months.
We've come to several conclusions.
When do we go back to meeting together? After several online conversations, emails, phone calls, and personal discussions we've decided that we don't want to return to a building until all of us can go back. What I've called the "No one left behind" principle. We don't want to go back to meeting as a community unless all of us can go back-together! As a pastor, it would distress me that some in our community could join together for worship, while others were prevented from doing so because of illness, sickness, frailty, or their demographic. We are a community and we walk together on the journey. You are part of that community, and we don't want you left behind.
Another issue we have had to deal with is the implication of paying rent for a building we're not using. If we commit to not going back till everyone can go back, we might not be in a building for quite some time. That seems like a lot of money being put into something we're not using. Again, after much prayer and consultation, we've decided to conclude our contract with the Seventh Day Adventist Church of White Rock. Sadly, because of the global pandemic, many business are relinquishing their buildings. If we decide to rent again, finding rental space will not be a concern. Further, we will be able to use our money for more fruitful endeavours like supporting missionaries and students in Bible School.
With regards to a building, we have now retained an architect to conduct a Feasibility Study of the Holy Cross church in Crescent Beach. By God's provision, we were given enough money to cover the cost of this study. Within the next couple of weeks we'll know whether this building will be suitable for us to incorporate a ministry center and sacred space in the same building. If that is the case, then we'll begin fundraising next month. Wouldn't it be a miracle to find that the next building we meet in, is our own!
I want to spend the rest of this epistle sharing some thoughts about surviving a global pandemic as a Christian community. Especially, if we are not able to meet in person for several months. This pandemic has a way of purifying and magnifying spiritual motives. It will definitely test our commitment to Jesus and our community which we call All Saints. To that end, I would humbly suggest the following guidelines:
1. Don't neglect our Sunday worship. Even though we're "meeting together digitally" make it a discipline to be at church every Sunday at 10:30am. Keep your Sabbath day. Be careful you don't fall into the trap of going to church when it's convenient-that's a slippery slope to not attending church at all. We're a family and we all go to church together. Remember, the Church is not a building-it's the people-we are the Church!
2. Remember the discipline of your tithes and offerings. Giving is not God's way of raising money-it's God's way of raising children. Your giving keeps you disciplined in your relationship with God. And of course, it's never about the money-it's always about the heart. You give what you have decided in your heart and with a cheerful attitude.
3. Pay attention to your neighbours. Social isolation can drive us into "YouTube spirals," binge watching, and emotional isolation. Take this opportunity-while you're spending extra time in the garden-to talk to your neighbours. Cut their grass; take in their trash cans; take them some flowers from your garden; or even invite them to online church. Do whatever it takes to make sure you don't isolate from people. In fact make it your goal to reach out to people with your love and actions. That's the essence of the Gospel.
4. Keep in touch with your Pastor. He prays for you regularly. He's often laying awake at night trying to hear what God is saying. He cares about you. And sometimes he even worries about you. (That's why you need to keep praying for him.) During these days of exile, why not make sure you contact your Pastor twice a month with a letter, email, phone call, Zoom call, etc. I know for a fact, that he would even settle for a note on a carrier pigeon!
5. Keep in touch with each other. Again, be careful you don't isolate. You have our "Contact List." Phone people in your church family. Even if you don't know them very well, pray for them, or maybe write them a card. Find a way to reach out to them. This will only happen if we are intentional about caring for each other. Remember, we are all family-spiritual family-and we're going to spend eternity together. These are our precious brothers and sisters-look out for them.
6. Pray, pray, pray-keep praying! Why not join us for PUSH prayer every Thursday night at 7:00pm? Whatever you do, make sure you pray. Listen to the voice of God; listen to the Scripture; listen to your Pastor and Elders, listen to the godly advice from your friends. When you've discerned God's will, do it! Always keep listening for God. He'll speak to you in the most unexpected ways.
7. Keep reading your Bible. As soon as the next lot of "Our Daily Bread" arrives, I'll send them out to you. The Sunday sermons will always be based on Scripture. At least go through your notes and meditate on them. Any way you can, keep reading scripture; it is a great source of nourishment during spiritual exile.
8. Guard the fellowship. Make sure you care about our community. All Saints Community Church is a fellowship of people inter-dependent on each other. We belong together; we need each other. We need to care for each other; we need to pray for each other; we need to defend each other; and we need to serve each other. Take time to consider the community and serve where you can.
9. Join us for "Social Distancing Visits." Jenny and I will be inviting you soon. Please feel free to accept our invitations and join with others as we catch up with each other. This will be one way we can keep in touch. Look out for more news on these visits.
10. Join our Zoom Coffee Shop. If you just want to visit and catch up, we are here for you every Tuesday night at 7:00pm. There's no agenda, we're just catching up. If you need any help with Zoom, don't hesitate to let me know. The good news is that we have a whole tech team ready, willing, and available to help you set up Zoom, so you can join us for coffee. See you at the Zoom Coffee Shop soon.
Living during a time of exile is not easy. We have to deal with the cultures of a foreign land. They can easily sway us. We can subtly be distracted from the Gospel of Christ to the gospel of the culture. However, even in exile God is with us-both individually and as a community. Pay attention to Him and He'll make sure we get back to the promised land. Don't forget Him, your community, your Pastor and Elders, and the Gospel. We will survive exile together. One day soon, we'll be together again-in person. There will be hugs all round. Until then, don't give up; we're in this together.
If you've got any further comments or questions, don't hesitate to call me at any time.
The peace of our Lord,