COVID-19 and Cristo Rey

COVID-19 and Cristo Rey

Current Worship Schedule During COVID-19

Due to our pastoral vacancy, more information on our worship service schedule will be coming soon.

Please see below for our latest updates regarding our response to COVID-19. If you have any questions or concerns or are in need of pastoral care, please reach out to our pastor at anytime!

Launching Outdoor Services

August 5, 2020

Dear Friends in Christ,

Here are few updates about our upcoming services and online activities.

Outdoor Services
Starting this Sunday, we will offer an outdoor worship service in our parking lot at 9 AM. A few notes about this service: 

  • Using tents we will be able to offer covered seating areas.
  • Chairs will be provided. 
  • We will practice social distancing. 
  • Masks are required. If you need one, we’ll have extras available.
  • Bottled water will be available for your convenience. 
  • There will be singing at this service. 

Please note that due to the outdoor service, there will be no Sunday morning Bible Study. 

Online Services
If you prefer to worship with us online, that is no problem! We will continue to have an online service in Spanish on Saturdays at 6 PM and in English on Sundays at 9 AM. 

Midweek Bible Study
We continue to offer a live, online Spanish Bible Study on Wednesdays at 6 PM. Instead of a live, online English Bible Study, an English devotion will be posted to our Facebook and YouTube pages on Wednesdays.

Children’s Lessons
Starting today I’ll be posting short videos with a brief devotion for Children in both English and Spanish on Wednesdays. These are available on our Facebook and YouTube page. Links are also available below: 

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns! 

Wishing you God’s blessings!

In Christ,

Transition (back) to Online Worship

July 8, 2020

Hi Friends!

I hope you are having a great week! After carefully considering a number of factors, we have decided to move our worship services to an online only format for the next three Sundays (July 12, 29, and 26). Here’s the rationale: 

  1. COVID-19 cases in the Los Angeles area continue to rise. Both the State of California and the County of Los Angeles have encouraged places to worship to carry out their worship services remotely whenever possible. We want to do all we can to avoid contributing to the spread. We also want to do everything possible to prevent our own members and guests from contracting the virus. 
  2. The State of California has mandated that churches discontinue all singing and chanting and strongly discourages group recitation. By transitioning to an online service, we will be able to incorporate singing and recitation. 
  3. We currently have more members and friends of our congregation worshiping with us online than in-person. As we are expecting a little addition to our family any day, there is a chance I could miss a Sunday. If that happens, I would not be able to facilitate the live-streaming. This means we could have a Sunday without an online service. By proactively transitioning to online worship services for this three week period, we will ensure that online services will be consistently available and minimize any ambiguity in our worship schedule. I’ll be recording the services in advance and scheduling them to “premier” on our website and Facebook page.

Temporarily transitioning to online only worship services isn’t ideal. However, as we consider all of these unique factors, I’m confident this solution meets our congregation’s specific needs. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. We are tentatively planning to return to our hybrid (in-person & online) worship style on Sunday, August 2. 

Wishing you blessings the name of our Savior. 

In Christ,
Pastor Matt

Return to Public Worship

May 29, 2020

Hi Members and Friends of Cristo Rey, 

Greetings in the name of our Crucified, Risen, and Ascended Savior! He was crucified to take away our sins. He rose from the dead to defeat death and the devil. He ascended into heaven to rule all things for our good. 

The State of California, the County of Los Angeles, and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) have issued guidelines for the safe reopening of places of worship. After carefully reviewing these guidelines and consulting with the leaders of our congregation, we are putting the following plan in place for public worship services. Our first in-person worship service will be Sunday, May 31 at 9 AM. Below are specific details on how we plan to safely reopen. 
Online Worship
We will continue to live stream a worship service in Spanish on Saturdays at 6 PM and in English on Sundays at 9 AM. These services will be streamed to our Facebook page and our website. We archive our sermons and services on our website and YouTube page. You will also be able to download the service folder with the text of the liturgy, lessons, and hymns from our website. 

  • If you are uncomfortable worshiping in public due to COVID-19, you are more than welcome to continue to worship with us online. By no means is in-person worship obligatory. 
  • If you are at a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 (including older adults and people of all ages with certain underlying medical conditions), please consider staying home and worshiping online. 
  • If you are sick or exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, or have family members who are ill, please stay home and worship online. It is recommended that you take your temperature before each worship service and refrain from attending if you have a fever.
  • We will be implementing an online “friendship register” feature for those worshiping from home. This will be a simple form that you can submit to let us know that you worshiped with us. We will make the link available in the Facebook comments section of the live stream and on our website’s live streaming page. 

Limited Occupancy 
The state and county are limiting attendance to a maximum of 25% of building capacity or 100 individuals, whichever is lower. Our building capacity is 184. This means we will need to limit our attendance to 46. Based on our recent attendance figures, we should be able to easily comply with this guideline. 
Social Distancing 
Please practice social distancing by keeping six feet of space between you and other worshipers. We have removed pews and repositioned pews to help practice social distancing. Seating is also now available in the annex. Members of the same household may sit together. Please refrain from hugging, hand-shaking, and other physical contact. No coffee or treats will be offered. We will keep our doors propped open before and after the worship service to try and minimize contact with doors and door handles. 
Cleaning and Sanitization
We will be cleaning and disinfecting our building before and after each worship service. We will do our best to follow the sanitization guidelines provided by the state, county, and CDC. Hand sanitizer will be available in the back of our sanctuary. Please use this hand sanitizer upon arrival.  
Face Masks 
The use of face masks is strongly encouraged by the state and required by the county. Please bring your own mask and wear it during our worship services. If you do not have a mask, we are happy to provide one for you. 
Bible Study 
Our Sunday morning Bible Study will be offered in a hybrid manner. You will be able to connect and participate online through GoToMeeting. You will also be able to participate in person. It will start shortly after the service. We will continue to offer this hybrid style of Bible Study until further notice.

Our Wednesday Bible Studies in Spanish and English will continue to be offered only online at this time. 
Service Folder
An usher will not be passing out service folders. Instead, they will be available on a table in the back of our sanctuary. Simply pick one up on your own and take it with you after the worship service. 
The Gathering of the Offering
We will not be passing the offering plates in the traditional way. An offering plate will be placed on a table in the back of the sanctuary. Please leave your offering in this plate after the worship service. 
Holy Communion 
We will distribute Holy Communion individually or by family unit. During the distribution of Holy Communion individuals or family will be invited to the altar area. I will leave the sanctuary to wash my hands before the distribution of Holy Communion. I am also looking into other measure to encourage the safest ways to distribute the sacrament.

As always, you are more than welcome to contact me to set up a time for private communion at the church or at your home.  
Official Guidelines
These guidelines only provide a brief summary of the extensive guidelines and recommendations provided by the state and county. If you would like to learn more about their recommended protocols, please use the following links:
Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. I’m looking forward to having you worship with us online or in-person this weekend! Wishing you blessings in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior. 
In Christ,
Pastor Matt

COVID-19 Update in English

March 26, 2020

Hi Friends!

How is everyone doing? I hope you are all holding up okay! Here are a few updates as we continue in this uncertain time. 

Online Worship with Live Chat
Until further notice, we’ll be offering our services online. If you are able to join live, that’s ideal. If not, simply watch at your earliest convenience. We are offering a Spanish service on Saturdays at 6 PM and an English service on Sundays at 9 AM. You can watch live at our website or Facebook page. Both offer the opportunity to chat with us live. 

Worship Service Videos
If you are not able to worship with us live, we have added a section to our website with the video of each worship service. Click here for English services. Click here for Spanish services. 

Bible Studies
Our Spanish Bible Study is meeting online through Zoom on Wednesday evenings at 6 PM. If you speak Spanish, please join us. Just let me know if you want to participate and I’ll send you the login information. For English Bible Study, I’ll be posting videos with Bible Studies to our website and Facebook page.

Home Devotions
I’ve also added a new section of our website with resources for having devotions in your home. Please check these out and utilize them as you are able. Many of these have been made available by our synod. 

If you are able to continue your support of our congregation, please consider giving online. You are able to do so through a safe and secure feature on our website.

Leadership Meetings
Our elders and church council meetings will continue. I’ll be in touch with our leaders about dates and times. We’ll use the Zoom application to meet online. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know. May the peace of Christ be with you! 

In Christ,
Pastor Matt 

COVID-19 Update in English

March 21, 2020

Hi Friends!

Just reaching out to confirm that we are set to worship online this weekend. This certainly is something different! Here’s a little more background on why we have decided to suspend our “public gatherings” and some recommendations for joining us live. 

First, it’s a way for us to submit to the governing authorities. God’s Word commands us to respect and obey our leaders. It explains that God instituted the government for the good of all people. In fact, we are only permitted to go against the government when it asks us to do something that goes against God’s Word. It’s important to remember that the government is not trying to prevent the spread of the gospel. Rather, it is asking us to work together to stop the spread of a virus that is dangerous to many people. 

Second, it’s a way for us to walk together with the other congregations of our synod. Our synod has also requested that we temporarily suspend worship services. By doing so, we are working together with our brothers and sisters in the faith to do our part as the Evangelical Lutheran Synod to minimize the spread of this disease.  

Third, it’s a way for us to show love to our neighbor. This is something our Lord calls us to do. God’s Word reminds us to look not only to our own interests, but also to the interests of others. By suspending our worship services, we are trying to prevent harm to those around us. 

In addition to abiding by key parts of Scripture, we are also following the broader application of the Ten Commandments. The Fourth Commandment encourages submission to authority. The Fifth Commandment encourages the protection of life. You may be asking, what about the Third Commandment? This commandment encourages us to gladly hear and learn God’s Word. Fortunately, our congregation is blessed with excellent technology. Let’s use this technology to make sure that we can continue in the Word and even meet together virtually. 

If you have access to internet, please join us Saturday in Spanish at 6 PM and Sunday in English at 9 AM for our virtual worship service. If possible, please try to connect live through Facebook or our website. The presence of multiple people participating at once will be a way for us to encourage one another. If you are not able to connect live, simply watch your service of your choice at your earliest convenience. 

I’ve been carefully thinking about the best way to deliver these online services. I want to balance two things. First, I want to capture as much of our normal worship experience as possible. This way we can have something familiar amid all the uncertainty. At the same time, worshipping online is different than worshiping in person. So, I’ll also be trying to use technology to develop a service that is easy to follow and allows for as much participation as possible in the online format. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know. I’m looking forward to worshiping with you online! 

In Christ,
Pastor Matt 

COVID-19 Update in English

March 18, 2020

Hi Friends in Christ,

I hope this note finds you well! We’re facing new challenges, discouraging news, and big changes every day. Thankfully, one thing will never change – God and his love for us. The Psalms tell us that his love endures forever (Psalm 136)! 

The elders and I have carefully reviewed the latest recommendations from our synod and public health officials regarding COVID-19. We’ve determined the best way to proceed is to suspend our public gatherings at this time. This means we will be suspending our Bilingual Worship Service on Sundays, our English Bible Study on Sundays, our Spanish Bible Study on Wednesdays, and our youth catechism class on Fridays.

These gatherings will be suspended until further notice. Please stay tuned for weekly updates. To ensure opportunities for spiritual growth and ongoing ministry at Cristo Rey, the following plan is being put in place: 

  1. An English worship service will be streamed live to our website and Facebook page every Sunday at 9 AM. Following the live stream, this English worship service and the sermon will be posted on our website, YouTube page, and Facebook page. 
  2. A Spanish worship service will be streamed lived to our website and Facebook page every Saturday at 6 PM. Following the live stream, this Spanish worship service and the sermon will be posted on our website, YouTube page, and Facebook page. 
  3. These worship services will include the text of the liturgy, lessons, hymns, and prayers in the video. The order of service will also be available as a PDF on our website. 
  4. Please try to join us during the live stream. I’m working on establishing a “live chat” feature on the website. There is also the ability to chat when watching through Facebook. If watching live, say hi to your brothers and sisters in the faith. This will allow us to maintain a sense of community. However, if you are not able to join during the live stream, simply view the archived service at your earliest convenience. 
  5. I will deliver printed sermons and service folders to those who are not able to access the internet.
  6. Holy Communion and pastoral visits will be available by appointment. If you would like to receive communion or a visit, please contact me through phone, texting, WhatsApp, or email to set up a time. We can meet at the church or I can visit you at your home. 
  7. I’m looking into the best ways to deliver bible studies and catechism class online. When we determine the best plan, I’ll share more information. 
  8. Please continue to read the Bible, utilize the Portals of Prayer devotional booklets, and pray in your personal and/or family devotional life. I’m working on adding a new page to our website that will feature additional resources for having personal or family devotions in your home. 
  9. This is a time when many people may be searching for answers, comfort, or guidance. Please use this opportunity to think about friends or family members who do not know Jesus. Invite them to our live services or share our archived services and sermons with them. 
  10. Please also continue to support the work of our Lord at our congregation, in our community, and around the world through your offerings. This can be done by mailing your offering to our church or using our online giving feature on our website. 

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. I’m looking forward to worshiping with you online this Saturday and Sunday! May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all! 

Pastor Matt

COVID-19 Update Video

March 17, 2020

COVID-19 Update in English

March 14, 2020

Dear Friends in Christ! 
Greetings in the name of Jesus, who heals all diseases and forgives all sin! 
I just wanted to let you know that the elders of our congregation and I are continuing to monitor the Novel Coronavirus situation. We are reviewing recommendations by our city, county, state, and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). The elders have added this to their meeting agenda for Monday, March 16. We want to balance responsible citizenship and opportunities for spiritual growth. Because this situation is developing, we have created a special page on our website which will contain our official communication regarding COVID-19. You can visit this page here,
At this time, we are still planning to meet this Sunday for our worship service at 9 AM. However, we will implement the following changes: 

  1. As recommended by health professionals, let’s try to practice “social distancing.” Please try to maintain six feet between you and other people. Please also refrain from handshaking or hugging. Greet people with a smile and wave. 
  2. No snacks or coffee will be offered. 
  3. We will not collect the offering in our traditional way. Instead, the offering plate will be placed on a table in the back of our sanctuary. Please leave your offering in the plate before or after the worship service. 
  4. I will exit the sanctuary to wash my hands before the distribution of Holy Communion. 

Here are a few recommendations: 

  1. Please practice good hygiene before, during, and after our worship service. For example, please wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer. We have two large hand sanitizer dispensers located in the back of the sanctuary. 
  2. Please stay home if you are in a demographic identified as vulnerable by medical professionals, such as elderly, immune compromised, or suffering from chronic illness. 
  3. Please stay home if you are ill or not feeling well.  

If you are not able to worship with us, here are a few resources to stay connected to God’s Word:

  1. Our worship services are streamed live on Sundays at 9 AM on our website and Facebook page. Our service folder is also available on our website. 
  2. We post video files of our complete worship services on our Facebook page. Starting tomorrow, we will also post video files of our complete service on our YouTube page.
  3. We post video files of our sermons on our website, Facebook page, and YouTube page. 
  4. Every week we produce a short message and online devotional service in Spanish for our partners in the ministry at iGlesia Luterana Cristo. This is available as another online resource in Spanish.

What happens if the situation gets worse? 

  1. If the city, county, state, or Center for Disease Control recommends that we suspend worship services, we will have to carefully heed their advice. Scripture commands us to submit to the governing authorities (Romans 13:1-7). If this happens, the suspension of worship services may be a way we can be responsible citizens, do our part minimize the spread of disease, alleviate strain on the health care system, and even protect life.
  2. If we have to suspend worship services, we will continue to provide weekly opportunities for spiritual growth through our online platform. Most likely, this will include an online worship service and bible study. 
  3. If we suspend worship services, I will continue to visit our members to provide pastoral care as needed. 

If you are like me, you have seen a lot of frenzy on social media and in our community. There is a lot of uncertainty. A lot of questions can fill our minds. How long will school be cancelled? Will I have access to groceries? What if I get the Coronavirus? What if my loved ones contract the disease? What will this do to the economy? 

One thing is certain, God’s love. In his love, he sent his Son into this world to be our Savior. Jesus lived, died, and rose again to give us the certainty of eternal life. I’ll leave you with words our Savior shared with his disciples the night be was betrayed. Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33).”

In Christ,
Pastor Matt

COVID-19 Update in English 

march 13, 2020

Greetings, Members and Friends of Cristo Rey! 

I’m reaching out to touch base amid the Novel Coronavirus situation. This can be a scary time. However, it’s important to remember that our Lord is in control of all things. He cares for us deeply. He has the power to heal any disease. He can use all things for the good of his church. He hears our prayers. He is always with us. He provides true peace. 

You may have heard that some churches are cancelling their services in an effort to minimize the spread of the virus. We certainly want to do our part to minimize the spread of disease and alleviate strain on our health care system. However, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is not calling for a suspension of worship services as this time. They are only recommending the suspension of worship services if a significant number of members of a congregation have been in close contact with a confirmed case of the virus. 

That being said, we are planning to still meet for our worship service this Sunday. In fact, this is a crucial time for us to gather together as believers. The worship service allows God to strengthen us through his Word and Sacraments. It gives us dedicated time for prayer. It’s an opportunity for us to encourage one another.

However, if you are in a vulnerable demographic (elderly or suffering from chronic illness), please do not feel obligated to attend. If you are ill, please consider staying home and following the other guidelines provided by medical professionals. Please let me know if you are ill so I can pray for you and provide pastoral care if needed. 

I will continue to closely monitor recommendations given to faith-based organizations by our county, state, and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). I’ll also be collaborating with our elders to make sure we act responsibly as good citizens, comply with recommendations by the authorities, and ensure opportunities for continued spiritual growth. 

Please reach out and let me know if you have any questions or concerns. I’m praying for each of you. May our Lord Jesus, who is our great physician of both body and soul, be with you. I’ll leave with you the words of Psalm 103:1-5. 

Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Have a great Friday! 

In Christ,
Pastor Matt