These days, watching the stock market fall is almost as scary as watching the number of coronavirus cases rise. There has been quite a bit of talk about a looming recession, and some economists are saying we’re already in one. Yesterday, I heard the word depression used to describe where this financial roller coaster is taking the American economy. Government emergency actions, designed to lower the stock market’s fever, are being discussed in Congress and in the White House. Who knows how effective they’ll be?

At the same time, we’re experiencing a social recession, bordering on depression, that we need to address right now. We’re all going through challenges we’re not prepared for, in our jobs, in our checkbooks, in our families. We really need each other for support and encouragement, and we’re being told to stay apart, to learn “social distancing,” to stop shaking hands and hugging, to avoid group gatherings that might cheer us up — even worship services.

One initiative our political leaders are considering is to “vaccinate” the economy with a financial stimulus package, which would likely amount to many billions of dollars. We at ABC have the opportunity to introduce a spiritual stimulus package into the fellowship we touch through the church’s various ministries. We have already begun live streaming our Sunday morning worship service, and that will continue. We’re also thinking about how we can share devotional thoughts and prayer encouragement with one another throughout the week. You may already have heard about the telephone calling tree we’ve developed for the sharing of information and needs to all local and active ABCers, even those who aren’t comfortable with computers and online communication. We’ll be sharing more soon. Meanwhile, let us know of any ideas you have.

We are challenged as a church family to turn this downer experience into an upper, by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. Let’s make our spiritual stimulus package work by fully and enthusiastically participating. Let’s be more unified in our faith and fellowship than ever before.

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This kind of Christian optimism is seen in a poem, by Rev. Lynn Ungar, entitled Pandemic. She says even our isolation during a time of quarantine can be embraced as a gift from God:

What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath— the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling. Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.
And when your body has become still, reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful. (You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.

God bless you all.
Pastor George Van Alstine


  • 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.

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