Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:8-9

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

Birthday Joy – Pastor George’s birthday is coming very soon! We usually collect a “birthday offering” and present Pastor George with it on the Sunday closest to his birthday. Even though we are not meeting in person, we would still like to show Pastor George some birthday love. If you would like to participate, please send your “birthday offering” to ABC by next Thursday, December 3.

Housing Wanted – Sarah Oberholtzer and her cousin are currently looking for housing near the LA area for the months of Jan – March. They would love to come visit, but are struggling to find housing. Please call the church to get Sarah’s phone number to let her know of any space open to subletting for those months. They are also willing to share one bedroom!

ABC’s 2020 Christmas

Family Advent in Your Home . . .

We encourage you to gather some greens from your yard, find or buy five candles, and be ready to join at home, as each Sunday’s ABC Advent Candle is lit. Here are the themes and Scriptures so you can follow along with your loved ones:

  • 11/29 – PROCLAMATION & JOY Scripture Reading Is. 9:6-7. As we light this candle, may our hearts be forever filled with the joy of His coming.
  • 12/6 – EXPECTATION OF HOPE Scripture Reading Jer. 33:14-16. May this candle remind each and everyone one of us of God’s great promise to us. He is our hope, He is our Redeemer, and He is Savior.
  • 12/13 – PREPARATION OF PEACE Scripture Reading Is. 40:3-5. May this candle remind us to prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ.
  • 12/20 – REVELATION AND PEACE Scripture Reading Lk. 2:10-14. As we light this candle, we celebrate the announcement of the coming King and the greatness of God’s love reveled through the Christ child.
  • Christmas Eve, 12/24 – THE CHRIST CANDLE Scripture Reading: Lk 2:1-20 On this most holy day we light all four candles in our Advent wreath, and we are reminded of the Expectation, Preparation, Proclamation, and Revelation of His coming. Now we light the Christ Candle, we rejoice that the promise of God has been fulfilled in the coming of the Baby born in a manger.

Virtual Advent as a Church Fellowship . . .

  • While many of our traditional December activities are not possible this year, we are planning a Zoom Christmas Eve service on 12/24 at 7:00 PM.
  • We also ask you to remember our Global Outreach Partners by sending a love gift to the church–these will be distributed on Valentine’s Day. Please indicate on your payment for “Global Outreach Love Offering.”

And if you wish to contribute to the church staff gift, please also send those the way you normally give to the church (Paypal, or mail check). Please indicate on your payment for “Staff Gift.”

Homeless Ministry – The Bad Weather Shelter has reached the painful and difficult decision not to open this season due to the pandemic. The Outreach Department has decided to re-purpose the funds that we would normally use for meals at the BWS, for gift certificates for people on the street who would otherwise benefit from the BWS. Last weekend two teams, Joyce Spencer and Clayton Smith, and Alena DeVaughn and Pastor Connie, scoured Altadena looking for people to gift. We had some good interactions and learned a little more about how we should go about gifting the homeless in our community. We would like to do this again in January/February. Please pray for the people we met (Mr. Johnson, Charles, Renee, Beany and others). And consider volunteering next time ABC goes out in the community in this way.

Shoes for Hope Hope Unlimited in Brazil provides comprehensive residential care for adolescents who have nowhere else to turn. The kids come from the worlds of sex trafficking, drug running, incarceration, and life on the streets. At the campuses of Hope Unlimited in Campinas and Vitória, Brazil they find hope. The kids range in age from 12 to 18. At Christmas each resident receives a brand-new pair of tennis shoes. For most of the young people, it is the first pair of shoes that are not secondhand or found in the trash. They are likely the first “new” item they have ever received in their lives, the first time someone cared about them enough to give them something new. These acts of love are essential to boost the self esteem of the kids in the program. ABC will be collecting money to pay for NEW tennis shoes ($30/ea) that can be purchased in Brazil by the Hope staff. These are challenging times for all of us, but if each active member of the ABC family gives what they can, we will be able to buy a pair of shoes for every kid at Hope Mountain. Designate your contribution to Hope Shoes via your regular contribution method to Altadena Baptist Church. Read more about Hope Unlimited at www.hopeunlimitedforchildren.org and pray for the children and pray for Hope.

Getting the Word Out – If you want to make sure your neighbors in Altadena and Pasadena know about ABC’s ministry, we have yard signs! They are $10 each, and money raised from sales will be used to fund scholarships for future ministries. Contact George at the church office if you want to pick one up (do contact him first — we’re not at the church a good deal of the time). Let’s spread the word!

Stephen Ministries – next cohort – ABC Stephen Ministry is going to be starting training on the next class of Stephen Ministers scheduled for January. If interested, please contact Pastor Connie, Joyce Spencer, or any of the Stephen Ministers.

How Should We Apply the Bible in Our Modern Journey with People in the LGBTQ+ Community? – This is the title of a paper just written by Pastor Van Alstine to help guide our church in discussing gender-related issues. If you want a personal copy, please email the church.

COVID-19 RESPONSE TEAM – Even though we have no firm date for returning to the ABC property for Sunday morning services and other events, a “COVID-19 Response Team” has begun studying the plans and procedures that will need to be be put in place before we return. Expect that we will reach out to many of you to volunteer — it will take the whole community coming together to make this work! The team consists of Loren Roberts (chair), Joyce Spencer, Don Winbush, Debra Blake, and John Pomroy.

Sunday Church Services

Until we believe that we all can be safe at church, we will not hold Sunday morning services in the sanctuary. Instead we will stream worship at 11am on Sunday via our public YouTube page. To watch this Sunday’s service at 11 am, just go to altadenabaptist.org or bit.ly/altadenabaptistyoutube and scroll down to click on the video.

ABC’s virtual services are all available on the church’s Facebook and YouTube page and the most recent is on the ABC website. We’re thankful to all who have sent in videos with music greetings and personal testimonies, and we encourage you to keep them coming. Videos may be sent to the Producer/Director Loren Roberts at 626.824.2528, 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. If you need help in knowing how to do this, please call any of us: Loren Roberts, Pastor George or Pastor Connie.

Do You Shop on Amazon? If you shop on Amazon, did you know that a portion of your spending can be donated to ABC? Just use this link to shop: smile.amazon.com/ch/95-2818349

AmazonSmile customers can now also support Altadena Baptist Church in the Amazon shopping app on iOS and Android mobile phones! Simply follow these instructions to turn on AmazonSmile and start generating donations.

  1. Open the Amazon Shopping app on your device
  2. Go into the main menu of the Amazon Shopping app and tap into ‘Settings’

Tap ‘AmazonSmile’ and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process

Sunday Morning Worship Online Service –  We’re Moving to YouTube! A little story:
As a smaller church, we had never experimented with “live streaming” our services until five weeks ago. When the “safer at home” mandate came out, we all worked like crazy to create an online Sunday morning worship service that would enable us to socialize like we did at 791 E. Calaveras. It seemed that, because of its social features, Facebook would be the best place for us to “meet” online. Unfortunately, Facebook has not been able to handle the many, many churches streaming video on Sunday mornings. So we’re going to try YouTube, and see if we are all able to have a better viewing/sharing experience. You will still be able to chat/comment with each other in real time, so get involved!

Continuing the LGBTQ+ Discussion at ABC – Close to twenty-five members and friends of ABC have been on an email list of people who have indicated they want to be part of the continuing study of Biblical passages that are commonly used in discussions about LGBTQ+ issues. They have all received three document I have put together to start the discussion. Two people have responded in writing and a few more by phone. Ideally, we should all meet together to continue our discussion, but that’s not possible under our current distancing guidelines. So, we’re putting together a Zoom meeting for sometime next week to talk about what our next steps should be. I’ll email the details to those who are already on the list. Others who may be interested should contact me in the next few days.    — Pastor George

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.

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.