POST-PANDEMIC WORSHIP – WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

“I was glad when they said to me,
‘Let us go to the house of the Lord!’”
(Psalm 122:1)

Throughout the 2,000-year history of the New Testament Church, worship has always been faithfully structured. Worship begins and ends in the Name of the Holy Trinity. It’s rooted in God’s Word and Sacraments. Its focus is on the Gospel and follows a “liturgical dance” where God leads and we respond. He blesses us with His presence, forgiveness, instruction, and benediction. We respond with singing, praying, giving, and being sent out to serve Him in our world.

Whether you worshiped in the year 221AD, or 2021AD, such things have always been the foundation of Christian worship. Yet, this timeless structure is also flexible. It allows for the church in different times and places to adapt the liturgy for their local circumstances. That’s exactly what Martin Luther and the Reformers did. They were quick to translate the liturgy from Latin to modern languages so that worshipers could participate. They introduced new music and instruments in order to glorify God.

Out of great necessity, worship over the past year has undergone great changes. Technology has become a vital addition. Because of a number of pandemic restrictions, we have also adapted the liturgy. We now give our offerings in the back (or online), take communion in our pews (or drive-thru), and use a wide variety of musical styles in a single worship service. All to the glory of God!

As our county begins to open up again, many congregations are asking themselves: what now? Will our worship go back to the way it was before, or will some of our changes become more permanent? On a deeper level, what have we learned about ourselves over the past year? Have we taken our Sunday gatherings and our fellowship for granted? Had our worship become too “me-centered” on my wants and preferences and less “He-centered” focusing on Christ Jesus and His body, the church?

As your pastor, I can say that I am asking all these questions (and more!) and I have to admit that I don’t have all the answers. That’s why I have assembled a Worship Ministry Task Force to help us ponder these important matters. Our Task Force is made up of musicians, elders and theologians (eight in all) that have been meeting since March. We have read articles, consulted research, and have had plenty debate and discussion.

By now, you have been invited to participate in a worship survey that our Task Force has produced. If you haven’t done so, please fill it out by May 5. Your feedback is vital as we create worship that glorifies God and edifies His people. Please email the church office for the survey link, or click here: Worship Survey. We will post these results in the weeks to come and share some initial initiatives we hope to implement.

In the meantime, may I please ask you to embrace the following?

  • Prayer for our fellowship, that God would draw us closer to Him and to one another;
  • Patience in our transition, as we navigate through these changing times;
  • Generosity of spirit, seeking not only what might be best for you, but what edifies your sister or brother in Christ;
  • Child-like enthusiasm, being eager to participate in all of worship because in doing so, we join with Christians around the world and all the company of heaven to laud and magnify our glorious God!

Jesus reminds us that “True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.” (John 4:23) As we transition to post-pandemic worship, may our hearts and minds remain focused on Him who has saved us. SDG (Soli Deo Gloria – To God Alone be the Glory)


CALL FOR MUSICIANS!

We are looking for musician volunteers to help out with our Sunday worship service. If you have previously studied an instrument or sung in choirs and/or bands and are interested to explore ways to join and get involved with our music ministry, please email our new Worship Arts Coordinator, Mary Vanhoozer at maryvanrodriguez@gmail.com. This call for musician volunteers is not only for lead singers. There are many different ways to participate in music ministry, so please do reach out if you are interested!


ILCS SAYS GOODBYE

We are saddened to announce that Ms. Myka Mayo our 5th grade teacher for the past 4 years, will not be
returning to ILS next year. We will miss Ms. Mayo, but we are confident that the Lord has a plan for her as well as Immanuel. Please keep Ms. Mayo in your prayers.


TEACHER OPENINGS AT ILCS

For the 21-22 school year ILS has two openings to fill.

5th grade; This is a full-time teaching position. A state teaching credential is required. Physical Education; This is a part time teaching position, 2 days per week.

Resumes are being accepted. Interested candidates should email their resume to Carl Boburka at carl.boburka@ilsroadrunner.org or bring them in to the office.


IMMANUEL ANNOUNCES NEW PART-TIME POSITION: TECH LEADER

Immanuel Lutheran Church is looking for a Tech Leader to become part of our worship team and help spearhead our Sunday morning livestreaming. This part-time paid position would require this individual to plan the different filming angles for the cameras, put together the PowerPoint for the service, put together a schedule for tech
volunteers, and set up the systems on Sunday morning. Must be knowledgeable of presentation software and camera systems, able to communicate effectively with a team, and has an eye for making our worship service the best possible for those who are not able to attend. The starting hourly wage is $15 an hour. Estimated 2 – 5 hours per week. Contact the church office at info@immanuelriverside.com or (951)682-7613.


WORSHIP VALUES

Lutheran worship stands on the unchanging foundation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, proclaimed to us through Word and Sacrament. In honoring God, we strive to create a worship experience that is both inspiring and dynamic. Our Worship Ministry Task Force has identified seven values we believe should guide our worship:

  1. Welcomes into the Gospel Story: Faith is not a solitary journey, but an invitation to experience God’s grace and participate in His Kingdom. Our worship strives to welcome the worshiper into God’s redemptive work.
  2. Celebrates Creativity: God has given us a variety of means to express our faith. Our worship strives to creatively use what is best and beautiful to glorify God.
  3. Fellowships Together: We are one Body in Christ. Our worship strives to build up our unity as the family of God.
  4. Engages Worshipers: Worship is not meant to be a passive activity. Our worship strives to engage worshipers to actively participate in praising God.
  5. Applies the Faith: God’s Word is timeless, and yet speaks to each generation of believers. Our worship strives to connect the historic faith to our personal lives.
  6. Embraces Diversity: While we are one Body in Christ, we are made up of a beautiful variety of cultures, ages, and experiences. Our worship strives to celebrate our diversity in a relatable way.
  7. Serves as Teacher and Guide: The way we worship shapes our faith, and our faith shapes the way we worship. Our worship strives to shape Christ’s disciples as they live out their faith.

We would love to get your feedback on
how our worship can grow in reflecting these values.
Please email our office for the survey link, or click here: Worship Survey


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Please continue to tithe and give offerings, and if you are able, give
generously! You can do so by sending a check or giving online through our
website.


Youth Ministry

Sunday School! During part of the worship service at 9:30a.m. children will be invited to their own special Bible story and craft just for them. Children 4 years old and up will be invited to meet in GPEC for this special time. We will social distance (families sitting together) and please have them wear their masks.

Jr. High/Confirmation: Confirmation Sunday is May 23, where 6 young ladies will confirm their faith in front of the congregation at the 9:30 a.m. worship. We are excited for them and their families!

High School Youth: The High School Youth will meet weekly in May on Tuesdays from 6-7:30 p.m. Watch for other updates via text, email, and our High School Youth Facebook Group.

YOUTH VS. ADULTS KICKBALL! SUNDAY, JUNE 6 Join us on the field after worship for a friendly competition with lunch to follow (snacks and lunch provided).

VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL! Plan to be at Immanuel the week of June 21-25 to assist us with V.B.S! Fill out a volunteer form found in the Sunday bulletin.

THE SUNDAY MORNING YOUTH GATHERING IS RETURNING! Sunday, June 6 meet in the Youth Lounge at 10:30 a.m. for a light breakfast, Bible teaching, and relationship building. This is designed for youth going into middle school and high school.


School Ministry

2021-2022 SCHOOL ENROLLMENT UPDATE The Lord has blessed our school with an incredible number of community families who are interested in enrolling their children for the fall. Currently our Kindergarten, 1st and 3rd grade classes are full with waiting lists and our 2nd, 4th and 5th grade classes are near capacity. If you know a family who is searching for an excellent, Christ centered education, have them contact our Admissions Director Brianna Foster at Brianna.foster.immanuel@gmail.com.

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES On March 13, 2020, ILCS made some drastic changes to how we educated our students. We went from in person to virtual instruction. Our teachers and staff made an incredible transition in a matter of days. Needless to say, this past year has been challenging for all of us. With all of these changes there has been
1 constant. God continues to bless those that trust in Him. The Lord continues to guide Immanuel by providing committed teachers and staff to care and teach our students. The Lord blessed us by granting a waiver so that we could welcome our students back to campus. We continue to give thanks and praise to God for keeping our students, teachers and staff healthy and safe. GOD IS GOOD!

SUNDAY SINGING Pastor Steven, Pastor Robert and Ms. Park, Immanuel’s music teacher, have worked together to schedule classes to share their gifts of music during Immanuel’s Sunday worship services. These recordings will continue through May 5.

KINDERGARTEN PIANO We have an upright piano in our Kindergarten classroom that we are not using anymore. We would like to donate it to a person or family that would take care of and enjoy playing it. If you or anyone you know is interested contact Mr. Boburka at carl.boburka@ilsroadrunner.org or call the office at 951-682-4211.


Community Outreach Report

By Julia Gardner – Outreach Coordinator

A HUGE THANK YOU to those who participated in donating the needed items for the Homeless Blessing Bags last month!! YOU’RE AMAZING!!!

Foster Youth Graduation Event Need “Build-A-Basket” is in FULL swing until JUNE 7th. Our goal is to provide at least 30 baskets for them!

HURRY—the deadline is approaching VERY quickly! Suggested dollar amount for the basket is $50-$75

Suggested gift baskets:

  • College Study Success with school supplies, notebooks, pens, pencils, stapler, calculator, ruler, hole punch, Amazon.com or Biblio.com gift cards for text books, back pack, printer paper, etc.
  • Kitchen Start Up with dishes, utensils, pots & pans, dish towels, toaster, measuring cups and spoons, cutting board, grocery store gift cards, cleaning supplies in a bucket, a broom or mop, etc.
  • Dorm Move-In with extra-long twin sheets, comforter, pillow case, hamper, desk lamp, shower supply caddy, plastic storage bins, towels, washcloths, laundry detergent, hangers, etc.
  • Activity Baskets—Such as Trip to the Beach with beach chair, beach towel, mats, reusable water bottle, sunblock, etc., or Movie Night with movie tickets and variety of snacks and/or gift cards, etc.
  • Variety Gift Card Basket—they love themes such as a variety of Fast Food Frenzy like Subway, Wendy’s, Cold Stone, Panera, Starbucks, Jack-in-the-Box, etc., or Supermarket Sweep with Vons, Stater Brothers, Trader Joe’s, Aldi’s, Food 4 Less, Smart & Final, etc., gift cards.

Contact Julia Gardner (951) 682-7613, JGardnermail@Yahoo.com or church office for information. Bring gift baskets to the Church Narthex on Sundays or to the Church Office M-F 8am-3pm.


CALENDAR

May
May 2: 930am Worship Service In Person/Online
MAY 2: 10:30am Voters’ Meeting to elect New Board of Directors
May 3-7: Teacher Appreciation Week
May 7: Teacher In Service (No ES)
May 9: 930am Worship Service In Person/Online
May 9: Mother’s Day- Join Us as we celebrate moms!
May 16: 930am Worship Service In Person/Online
May 23: 930am Worship Service In Person/Online
May 23: Pentecost and Confirmation Sunday
May 30: 930am Worship Service In Person/Online
May 31: Memorial Day Holiday (Campus Closed)


Immanuel Lutheran Church and School
5455 Alessandro Blvd., Riverside, CA 92506
www.immanuelriverside.com