In response to the recent surge of the COVID pandemic, caused greatly by the Delta Variant, the Elders of Central Christian Church are recommending that we wear face coverings while in the building. We also recommend observing social distance protocols. Let us continue to pray for our Church, community and country, and all who have been affected by this pandemic.
On Monday, September 14, the CCC Board approved re-opening the CCC Sanctuary for in-person worship. According to our recent congregational survey, about 70% of the church is comfortable returning now. We will continue to stream our service live at facebook.com/cccwaco. To facilitate a healthy and safe setting, our worship modifications and guidelines are similar to when we re-opened in June (see below).
Due to the dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases in McLennan County in June and July, CCC is returning to online-only worship. This difficult decision was made by the Elders, Deacons, Board officers and the Worship Ministry team. It came after much discussion and prayer, and was based on these facts:
- When we returned to the CCC Sanctuary on June 7, there were 11 active cases in McLennan County. As of July 9, there are 2,010.
- Although none attended worship since reopening, we have had at least three CCC members test positive.
- The current 7-day rolling positive-test average is currently about 21%.
- Hospitalization and death rates are also beginning to climb.
- Health care workers on the front lines at Providence and Hillcrest are becoming more and more concerned.
For the five Sundays we met in the CCC Sanctuary, we strove to create the safest setting possible, and everyone who attended followed guidelines and protocols. When we return again, we will pick up where we left off. For now, though, we believe this is the wisest course of action.
Our online worship at 10:30 am every Sunday can be found here: www.facebook.com/cccwaco. In the weeks ahead, we will be offering new online opportunities to share the life and love found in Jesus Christ, so stay tuned!
Let us pray:
Lord of all creation, we pray for your creation. We pray for our world, for our country, for our community and for our church family. Now, more than ever, let us be an instrument of your love, reminding all that we are FOR them. For now, we believe "for" means separate-yet-together, so heighten our opportunities for interactions, care, support and fellowship. We pray for those dealing directly with this virus, and for the continued ravishing this is having on families, jobs, workers, schools and students. Bind this virus, and heal our land, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
CCC is reopening for in-person worship on Sunday, June 7. How and why was this date selected?
The CCC Elders, after an intentional and deliberate time of reflection, study, thought and prayer, recommended to the CCC Board to reopen on June 7. This date was chosen after the Governor allowed churches to reopen on May 3. The CCC Board, in a called meeting on May 5, unanimously approved the Elders’ recommendation.
As eager as we all are to see each other and worship together in-person, the health and safety of the congregation is the No. 1 priority, so there will be numerous modifications and guidelines in place as we prepare to gather every Sunday again, beginning June 7.
What are the general guidelines?
- We will practice social distancing at all times, throughout the building. Family members who live together can stay together, but please stay six feet away from everyone else.
- All greeters and ushers will wear face coverings. Doors will be propped open.
- Worshippers are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings, especially while singing.
- Hand sanitizer and extra face coverings will be available at the Welcome Center and in the Narthex.
- Please sit only in non-marked seats in the Sanctuary. Every other row is roped off, and unavailable. Our social-distancing worship capacity is approximately 128. If we reach that number, we will open up the balcony and provide seating in the Narthex.
- Families need to stay together the entire time they are in the building.
- If you are feeling sick, running a fever, or you are generally uncomfortable gathering in larger groups, please worship from home. Our service will still be live streamed at facebook.com/cccwaco.
What are the Worship modifications?
- As outlined above, seating will be only in certain areas.
- Directional arrows will be on the aisle floors.
- Parents will help children serve as Acolytes.
- All greeting will be contactless.
- For the Children’s Moment, children will sit on markers. Siblings may sit together, but otherwise the markers will be six feet apart.
- Many reports and studies suggest that singing releases many more airborne particles than speaking. Please only join in congregational singing if you are wearing a face covering. Otherwise, please praise God silently or with humming.
- For Communion, worshippers will approach tables to take self-contained elements themselves. Blessings will be offered by Elders and Pastors from six feet away.
- Ushers will release worshippers one row or section at a time for exit.
- Offering plates will be in the back of the Sanctuary and in the Narthex.
- Audible and on-screen instructions will alert and inform concerning these modifications.
What else do I need to know?
- Restrooms are open, but limited to one person at a time. Children must be accompanied by a parent. The kitchen and drinking fountains are closed.
- If people visit in halls or narthex, they will need to maintain the 6’ distance rule.
- There is no Sunday School, Children’s Church or Nursery.
- The CDC guidelines for churches have been reviewed, and all of these modifications and practices meet those guidelines.
- Nothing can ever separate you from the love of God in Jesus Christ! (Romans 8:31)
4/30: God, we pray for our church family this morning. We call to mind the faces of our friends that we serve and minister alongside, sharing the life and love found in Jesus Christ. We miss those faces. We miss conversations and laughter in the hallways, insights and discussion in Bible studies, and breaking bread together in the Teel Center. Bring us back together soon. Bind this virus, in Jesus' name, Amen.
4/29: God, today we are praying for children. Guard their health, as they fall in the category of "vulnerable," especially babies and toddlers. Help preschoolers find creative and self-initiated ways to escape boredom. Strengthen school-age kids to finish this strange school-year strong. Bind this virus, in Jesus' name, Amen.
4/28: God, today we praise you for the cross. In this season of disease and this season of virus, though our physical health feels threatened, our Spiritual health is secure, because of the love and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Our salvation and our healing - from the wages of sin - is assured. What a Savior. Bind this virus, in Jesus' name, Amen.
4/27: Online Worship
4/26: "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place." 2 Chronicles 7:14-15
4/25: This video
4/24: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." ~ John 14:27
4/23: Lord, today we pray for families. Please help us to use the extra at-home time to grow closer to each other. Ease stress, tension and conflict. Help us name our needs with grace and love. Ease the burden parents are feeling playing the role of teacher now. Bind this virus, in Jesus' name, Amen.
4/22: God, we pray for frontline workers. Certainly nurses and doctors, but not just nurses and doctors. For grocery store employees, delivery carriers, emergency responders, utility technicians, and our police and fire force, we give thanks. Protect them and strengthen them. Bind this virus, in Jesus' name, Amen.
4/21: God, our prayer today is for unity. In previous times of crisis, people came together. That sense of teamwork is needed now. Help us to all sacrifice for the greater good. Lift up people with innovative ideas and uncommon intelligence to hasten widespread testing. Help decision makers to understand the importance of working together. May we all look to you for guidance and direction. Bind this virus, in Jesus' name, Amen.
4/20: Beth Toben's Prayer from CHLB Worship
4/18: Lord, help us to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer. In Jesus' name, Amen.
4/17: This video
4/16: God in Heaven ... It seems like a lot longer, but about four months ago we celebrated Advent. The truth and promise of Advent is that you came to dwell among us, and you took on flesh. You understand our emotions and our experiences. You understand the isolation, anxiety and sadness we are all feeling right now. Help us to always bring our burdens to you. Bind this virus, in Jesus' name, Amen.
4/15: God, thank you for the incredibly faithful and constant generosity of your people. Our gifts, tithes and offerings during this shelter-in-place have remained consistent. This giving allows the church to share the life and love found in Jesus Christ, even during a time like this. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow! In Jesus' name, Amen.
4/14: Merciful God, today we remember high school seniors. This is a hard and challenging time for all of us, but especially for seniors, as Prom, extracurricular activities, banquets, recognitions, sports, academics and end-of-year events have all been put on hold. Wrap them in your loving arms, draw them close, and remind them of another important title they possess, in addition to "senior:" Child of God. In Jesus' name, Amen.
4/13: God, today we offer prayers for extended families. Many grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles that normally see each other on holidays like Easter could not get together in person this year. Comfort us as we mourn that loss of time. Bring us back together soon. We praise you for families. In Jesus' name, Amen.
4/12: Easter Sunday Worship
4/11: Eternal God ... Today is Holy Saturday. It is a in-between time ... a day of waiting. So, today, as we wait for many things - a return to normalcy, good news ... RESURRECTION - we join the Prophet Jeremiah, and offer this Lament to God:
"... my soul is downcast within me.
21 Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, 'The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.'" - Lamentations 3:20-23
4/10: This video
4/9: Today is Maundy Thursday. The word "Maundy" means "commandment." So, our prayer is that we will let the words of John 13:34 dwell in us richly, as we seek to live them out: "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." Bind this virus, in Jesus' name, as we seek to love one another through it. Amen.
4/8: To the One who served by washing feet ... Help us to consider ways we can still serve, and help us consider ways we can love our neighbor, even as we are apart. Steer our thoughts towards those in need of help and support, and stir us to act with compassion and love. May our love and our service be a reflection to the world of Jesus' love and service. In Christ name, Amen.
4/7: In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." Similarly, we long for this "cup" - this virus - to be taken from us. Hear our prayer, Lord. Help us to trust in your will, which we know is for our good and your glory. In Jesus' name, Amen.
4/6: We look 2 you, Lord, and to the pain u bore - for us. U understand fear, sorrow & loss. Save us, Lord. Bind this virus. N Jesus’ name, Amen.
4/5: Online Worship
4/4: "20 Very truly I tell you ... You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. 21 A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. 22 So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. 23 In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete." - John 16:20-24
4/3: A live video
4/2: Lord ... We offer a prayer of thanksgiving today. Even during a time like this - a time unlike any other time - we realize we have SO MUCH to be thankful for. Like the creative fellowship and fun found in a church parking lot tailgate lunch! We are thankful for social media, for Zoom, for board games, for parks, for bluebonnet pictures, for funny Youtube videos and for pajamas at 3 pm. Mostly, though, we are thankful for the love of God in Jesus Christ. We are thankful for Jesus, the one who is, and was and is to come. The one who said, "I have overcome the world." Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow!
4/1: Thank you, God, for these promises today: "The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."
3/31: "News about [Jesus] spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them." (Matt. 4:24)
To the God who heals ... Today, we are praying for the scientists and researchers on the front lines of finding a vaccine - a cure - for COVOD-19. Bless their work. Give them clarity of thought, multiply their resources and renew their energy. Gift them with insight and knowledge. In the meantime, help us to all do our part to slow the spread. In Jesus' name, Amen.
3/30: Lord, as families settle in for another week of homeschool, as more companies lay off or furlough employees, and as the number of US Covid-19 cases continues to rise, we turn to you. We turn to you for strength, for wisdom and for peace. We turn to you, remembering that you said nothing can separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ. In Jesus' name, Amen.
3/29: Live worship service
3/28: Tomorrow, Lord, as we worship, may we be reminded together how much you care for us. In Jesus’ name, Amen
3/27: A live video
3/26: Gentle Healer ... We pray for all of those who were already medically fragile before this outbreak. Keep them safe and healthy. May they truly experience a peace that passes all understanding. May we all find refuge and shelter in You. In Jesus' name, Amen.
3/25: With his permission, I am sharing Joshua's prayer from dinner last night: "God, help all the people who have Corona. Make Corona go away, so we can get back to school and sports. Please bless this food. Amen"
3/24: God, today we pray for health care workers and professionals. We also lift up to you everyone on the "front lines" in this battle with COVID 19. Please be with all the workers in the supply chain and with first responders. We thank you for their service. Please give us all safe and appropriate opportunities to show our appreciation directly to them. In Jesus' name, Amen.
3/23: God, today we pray for children and youth. Be with families, as an unexpected time of home learning takes place. In Jesus' name, Amen.
3/22: Live Worship service
3/21: Lord, keep watch over our church family. In Jesus' name, Amen. (accompanied by church prayer list)
3/20: A live video
3/19: God, our prayer today is for perseverance. May we all find grace & joy in unexpected time at home. Bind this virus, in Jesus' name, Amen
3/18: God, we pray for wisdom & courage. By the power of your Spirit & in the name of Jesus, bind this virus. Heal bodies & heal countries. Amen.
3/17: The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore. - Psalm 121:7-8
Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. - Proverbs 19:20
3/16: Dear God … Help us, in this time of uncertainty, to be reminded that your love and your promises are certain. May our decisions be guided by you, now and always. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
What is happening at CCC?
On March 16, the Central Christian Church Board Officers, in consultation with the CCC Elders and Deacons, made the prayerful decision to suspend all gatherings and meetings, including worship, at CCC until at least Monday, March 30.
March 24 Update: Due to the Shelter in Place order for McLennan County, our church office is now closed. However, some essential operations - paying bills, payroll, checking mail, building maintenance, etc. are still taking place. If you need to visit the church office, someone may be present, especially in the mornings. Please call 254-776-7768 first.
Why did the Board officers make this decision?
As a response to the rapidly-evolving National Emergency and Global Pandemic created by the spread of COVID-19. We are choosing to be a participant in taking preventative measures to slow the spread. Additionally, we are choosing to follow the most recent national guidelines to limit gatherings to 10 people or less, and the most recent local mandates prohibiting gatherings of more than 50 people. Most importantly, we believe this is a way to express our love of neighbor.
What about Worship?
As noted, Sunday-morning worship is included in the suspension, but we are only suspending in-person worship. As we do every Sunday, we will still offer a live stream, which will include, at minimum, special music, prayers and messages based on God’s Word.
How do I join the live stream?
Go to facebook.com/cccwaco on a computer. Or, on the Facebook app, search “Central Christian Church Waco.” If you have not previously done so, “like” our page. You will then receive an automatic notification that we are “live,” beginning at 10:30 am. We will offer a live stream on Sunday, March 22, and again on Sunday, March 29.
Note … If you are a regular participant in our live stream, or if you are very familiar with how to access the stream, please “share” it so people have more opportunities to find it and join.
What about other programs, ministries, meetings, etc.
The suspension applies to all group gatherings, so youth group, choir and Sunday School classes, for example, will not meet, and committee meetings will not be held. Noah’s Ark Preschool follows WISD, so they are not meeting until at least Monday, March 30 as well. The March 17 CCC Board meeting will be rescheduled.
Are there any exceptions?
Yes. The church office will remain open, although our normal hours, 9 am-4 pm M-Th, might shift. If you need to visit the office, please call 254-776-7768 first.
How can I continue to give during this time?
As noted on the back of our bulletin every Sunday, there are four ways to give to CCC: (1) On our website (cccwaco.org/give), (2) via text messaging, on (3) Sunday morning during the Offertory, or (4) by mailing or bringing your offering to the church office. Three of those four methods of giving are unaffected by this suspension.
If you are unfamiliar with online giving, Ashley Windham, the 2020 CCC Board Chair and Stewardship Ministry Team Leader, and Georgetta Duncan, the 2020 CCC Treasurer/Finance Team Leader, both utilize this method personally. They have offered to assist anyone who would like to set it up or assist anyone who has questions.
This is happening during Lent, and Holy Week is coming up. What do we need to know?
Orders for Easter flowers (Lillies and Azaleas) are still being taken. You can visit the church office to purchase some. You can also call or e-mail Diane (email@example.com) in the church office, and mail a check or pay online … Baptismal candidates will receive some special information and instructions directly from Rev. Kristin Jack. Overall, we are definitely still making plans to remember the Cross and celebrate Resurrection.
What will your Pastors be doing during this time?
As we talked about at Staff meeting this week, we have an opportunity, as we always do, to foster fellowship, planning, community and growth. It will just be in more creative ways. Both Rev. Kristin Jack and Rev. Brian Coats will be connecting with people in all kinds of ways — online, via social media, video conferencing, calls, texts and cards, to name a few. Unless a mandate prevents it, hospital visits will still happen. Preparation for Sunday morning worship and the preaching of God’s Word will still happen. Perhaps some long-range planning will take place. We are both available on our cell anytime ... please call the church office to get those numbers if you do not already have them.
How can we stay connected with each other during this difficult time?
Maybe one or two at a time, but come visit us in the church office! Or call … or text … or write! As we are going to get creative, we invite you to do the same. There is already talk of church leaders taking on a project of calling every single CCC household. As always, we will be persistent and relentless in sharing the life and love found in Jesus Christ with each other, and with our community. As we were reminded together in prayer last Sunday, "The church can be overflowing with activity and not be in the building."
We talked a lot about not being fearful last Sunday … Is this decision a fearful reaction?
We hope not, and we do not think so. As we talked about last week, we are trying to balance a Scriptural “do not” - do not fear - with a scriptural “do” - do be wise. Large and small organizations, businesses, schools and governments — not to mention individual households — are making decisions in response to something many of us have never had to respond to. We are seeking to be led by prayer and Scripture. Showing each other extra measures of grace and compassion is deeply appreciated, and will undoubtedly point to the love of Jesus Christ.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore. - Psalm 121:7-8
Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. - Proverbs 19:20