I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33

Church Calendar – All current meetings are canceled or postponed. Please continue checking the Messenger for further updates.

Sunday Morning Worship Online Service –  To watch this Sunday at 11 am, just go to altadenabaptist.org or facebook.com/altadenabaptist (you don’t need a Facebook account) and scroll down to click on the video. See you then.

We want to hear from every one of you! – We need your Easter proclamations! Please gather your quarantine-mates together and send us a video of you all saying “Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!” (Just those words – we’re going to make a congregational “responsive reading” with us all saying it together…virtually!) On Easter Sunday we will proclaim this joyful truth virtually, but together. You can send the videos to Loren Roberts, or If you are filming on a computer, send him the video via an upload to http://wetransfer.com (addressed to loren@hearkencreative.com) or https://spaces.hightail.com/uplink/hearkencreative

Trader Joe’s Food Distribution – ABC is still holding the Trader Joe’s food distribution on Sunday mornings at 9:30AM at church.

Your Tithe and Offerings Will Help Carry ABC Through – Since we are not receiving offerings at public services, we depend on God-inspired tithes and offerings from faithful supporters. Thanks to those who have begun to send donations by check through the mail or by PayPal (the ABC account  is altadenabaptist.org/donate – you do not need a personal PayPal account to give online).

We’re beginning to hear of ABC family members who are being laid off from work. The recent Federal emergency legislation is supposed to help them in the long run, but who knows when that will begin? Through our Benevolent Fund, the ABC Deacons distribute funds to those with special needs. If you are fortunate enough to have some extra funds, please consider a donation to the Benevolent Fund at this time as well.

Devotional Guide – Last week we mentioned a devotional guide that could unite all of us in study and prayer…and now it is ready! Download a printable PDF here. If you are not able to print one out, e-mail the church office and we will send one in the mail to you. Many thanks to Lori Ottaviano for spearheading this project and preparing it for the church body. We pray that it is a valuable tool to focus your prayer life while we are off of our normal schedules.

Coronavirus – As we hear increasing concern expressed about the spread of the Coronavirus, we want to do all we can to make sure Altadena Baptist Church is the safest possible space for our gatherings for worship and fellowship. If we all follow some simple guidelines, we can minimize the risk of contracting the disease or giving it to someone else. Based on our consultation with health professionals who are part of the ABC congregation, we believe there are two activities in which caution can make a big difference.

Physical contacts during greeting – We are encouraging as little actual touching as possible. Hand shakes are probably the likeliest way to spread germs. Fist bumps are preferable, but maybe a nod of the head will be enough. Hugs may be relatively safe, but why risk that much closeness? In a few weeks, we’ll probably be able to catch up on withheld hugs.

Restroom precautions – Thorough hand washing is critical. The ABC restrooms are supplied with plenty of soap, and sanitizers are available in several key locations. Be aware that touching doorknobs, light switches and handrails along stairways can recontaminate you after washing.

We also trust that anyone who is experiencing some of the symptoms that accompany the sickness will stay at home and not risk sharing the germs with others.

Resources

  • If you are able to help out at this time in a physical capacity (taking ABCers to medical appointments, picking up/delivering groceries, etc.), please contact the church office. On the flip side, if you need these services, please let us know. We hope we will have matches to help.
  • The Altadena Community Food Pantry is still open at this time on Saturdays from 10AM to 12noon at 943 E. Altadena Drive (Altadena Community Church upper parking, west side). Bring a bag if you can.
  • ABC is still holding the Traders Joe’s food distribution on Sunday mornings at 9:30AM at church.
  • If you are a senior finding yourself home-bound during this time, and need to talk with someone, you can call the Pasadena Telephone Reassurance Program at 626-685-6732. They offer daily calls to provide support and contact with others on a regular basis.

Update on LGBTQ+ Bible Study -The study of Bible passages relates to LGBTQ+ acceptance, which was begun last week, is being continued by an email conversation led by Pastor Van Alstine. If you want to be part of this discussion, please contact him at gvachurch@aol.com.

Sunday Morning Worship Live Streaming -To see the Sunday morning worship service, just go to altadenabaptist.org or facebook.com/altadenabaptist (you don’t need a Facebook account) and scroll down to find the live video.

Housing Wanted – A single woman missionary is arriving this week in Pasadena and is looking for private accommodations (room, studio, back house, mother-in-law apt) for possibly a 12 week period of time. She is able to pay a modest amount of rent. Call Jill Zobrist for more information or if you might have something available.

Update on March 8th’s Special MeetingA Big Thank You to the 53 people who attended our conversation last Sunday evening about how to love the LGBTQ+ population in and around us. As it required a great investment of time and emotional inner space, we are all the more grateful for all who came. We owe a big thanks also to Dr. Bill Fiala, who was our facilitator. He provided us with some principles of respectful conversation, giving space and time to everyone alike, without having a few dominating the discussion.

In a world governed by social media, we intentionally did not live stream the meeting or record it, as we wanted to have a face to face conversation with those who were in the room. We are a diverse body, and we wanted to allow full expression to anyone who attended. So we spent three hours together, making sure that everyone who wished had a chance to speak.

I am incredibly proud of Altadena Baptist Church. In today’s society there is rarely space for this kind of conversation with differing views over a difficult subject. One person present described the spectrum of Christian beliefs, with her family of four divided all along that spectrum. That is also a description of ABC. So the fact that we honored each other, listened to each other, is remarkable. Several people outside of ABC have mentioned to me that they think our church is brave, because their church would not have an open conversation on this topic. Others have said that they’ve been in meetings where the outcome was a foregone conclusion, or their church would release a top-down edict from the leadership, without input from the congregation. Being true Baptists, we are committed to congregational rule, so Pastor George and I did not have any preordained result in mind. We were depending on the conversation to steer us.

Here are some comments from some who participated.

“Sunday night was powerful.”

“I have never been in a meeting like that. Wow.”

“I want to congratulate you on the success of this first very important meeting.”

Those who spoke shared mainly their own experiences. There seemed to be overwhelming agreement that ABC is and/or should be an open and accepting place for LGBTQ+ people. To the extent that we have more work to do on this front, we should commit ourselves to be more loving and accepting. Several people spoke out for their need for ABC to go even further, to be an affirming place where LGBTQ+ people are celebrated. This was the dominant theme of the meeting.

Scripture was broached from two points of view. A letter from an ABC member read in the meeting challenged us, “I can’t celebrate what the Bible calls sin…and that’s what I believe Pastor Connie is urging our congregation to do…Our affirmation of faith states that the Word of God has supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct. Do we still believe that?” Pastor George presented a position paper (click here) on how we read the Bible, with a promise to follow up dealing with the specific applicable passages.

Even though our moderator repeatedly asked those who were silent if they wanted to speak, we didn’t pause after reading the member’s letter and specifically ask if anyone wanted to speak towards that position. (We did cycle back to it later.) If you did not feel free to say what’s on your heart, if you processed something after the fact, or if you were not able to attend, we would greatly value hearing from you.

We are deciding on next steps. It feels to most that we are in the middle, with more to come. It is clear that we have more work to do on Scripture, and Pastor George has committed himself to spearhead that. Several people have also signaled a need for another meeting—not to replicate the first, but to continue our work as the body of Christ. We will keep you informed. But let us please continue the conversation among ourselves, and above all, be in deep prayer for our ABC.

–Pastor Connie

Save the Dates:
Vacation Bible School: July 27-31 Our dates this year are July 27-31 and the theme is “Rocky Railway: Jesus’ Power Pulls Us Through.” Please invite children grades Kindergarten through 8th grade to attend (we’ll have flyers to give out soon). We also need a lot of volunteers. For more information, please see Rob or Lori Ottaviano, Jill Zobrist, or Debra Blake.

Church Camp: October 16-18
Church Camp Information and Fundraiser

All are invited to ABC’s Church Camp at The Salvation Army Pine Summit (near Big Bear) October 16-18. Cost for adults is $150, and children 3-17 are $75 each (2 and under are free). The price includes a t-shirt, lodging, meals, other program materials, and activities. If you save $20 a month per person now, it’ll be paid by then! This camp is not as rustic as our last camp. We are usually in rooms of 4-6 people. Our Theme is “Our Wilderness Experience.”

ABC’s Paula Hegle to be Honored – Paula Hegle has been a member of ABC since 1993, and for the past twenty years, she’s been a civilian employee of the Los Angeles Police Department. Currently, she’s a Senior Management Analyst with the Risk Management Division. She provides research and support for issues involving police interactions with the public. This announcement was just made: The City of Los Angeles Police Department Office of Constitutional Policing and Policies, Risk Management and Policies Division, has selected Paula Hegle as the 2019 Civilian Employee of the Year. There will be a Los Angeles Police Department Employee Recognition banquet in September 2020 for all Sworn and Civilian Employees of the Year. Additional details for the LAPD Employee Recognition Banquet to follow.

Stories from Skid Row – Pastor Van Alstine was interviewed on June 13 on the radio program “Stories from Skid Row” (KKLA 99.5) about the life of Clinton Goodwin, who was a charter member of ABC and for two decades Superintendent of LA’s Union Rescue Mission. You can hear the broadcast here.

Stephen Ministers Care – Stephen Ministers are members of our congregation who receive special training to provide one-to-one Christian care to people in our congregation and community experiencing challenges in life – grief, loneliness, divorce, hospitalization, disability, job loss, and many other life difficulties. To learn how to become a Stephen Minister – or receive care from one – contact Pastor Connie Larson DeVaughn, Joyce Spencer, Martina Westmoreland, or Robert DeVaughn.

Community Resource Board – Please check out the postings on the bulletin board in the upstairs coffee room. We are making a renewed effort to keep current information at that location of any notices that come our way of housing and job opportunities, activities, concerts, children’s events, etc., etc.

We are requesting volunteers for the Sunday morning food distribution. We could use help with driving, assisting in food pick up, and sorting the food once it is delivered to the church. It’s easy work, and has become a very important aid to the community, and is an outreach opportunity. Those who are interested in volunteering are asked to please contact Robert DeVaughn

We Need Bags… We need plastic/paper grocery bags for the Altadena Food Bank. Please bring them by the ABC office.

Consumer Electronics – ABC collects cell phones, ink jet cartridges, laptop computers, notebook computers, iPods, digital cameras and digital video cameras as a fund-raiser for Church Camp.  We cannot accept laser or toner cartridges, damaged, reconditioned or refilled inkjet cartridges, tower or desktop computers or monitors.  Such acceptable items can be placed in the box next to the office door.

Behind a Tiny Story – Check out Myrna Barinaga’s response to George’s request for stories! — a book about her life and God’s faithfulness. $20 — proceeds go to Altadena Baptist Church www.myrnabarinaga.com

Podcasts of the ABC sermons are now available on iTunes through the Altadena Baptist Church Facebook page. Both the download for the iTunes app and the podcasts themselves are free.  We thank Loren A. Roberts for making this important service available to our friends and members. They are also now available via mp3 on the Sermon Audios tab.