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Feb. 11, 2021

Occidental Community Church family,

1 Timothy 2:1-4 - 1.I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving be made for everyone -  2.for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.  3.This is good, and pleases God our Savior,  4.who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

During the past year we have lifted this prayer to God often, and now it is time to thank Him for answering our prayer.  Last Friday, February 5, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled 6-3 that churches in California cannot be prohibited by local government officials from holding indoor services (with certain limitations).  I believe that California was the only state in the Union that still had not opened churches to indoor services as of last Friday. The state of California quickly complied, and now churches may meet in person up to 25% of their sanctuary's capacity.  For us, this translates to 36 people in our sanctuary.  State and local Sonoma County officials are currently in the process of revising their policies regarding churches, and we should have those shortly.

Our plan is to continue to livestream our Sunday morning services just as we have been doing, but we are now inviting those who wish to come in person, to join us in these services.  We are still practicing the safety measures of face-masking and distancing, and we have spaced out our pews to accommodate for this. We understand that some in our church family do not yet feel safe or comfortable in an indoor service, but for those who are OK with it, you are welcome.  Our service is one hour long, from 10-11 AM each Sunday.  We will not be having a separate service for children, and there will be no lunch following the service.  This is certainly not a return to "the way it used to be", but we give thanks to God for a big step in the right direction!

Now - even better news!  Beginning on Easter Sunday, April 4, weather permitting, we are resuming our outdoor Sunday morning services at Pleasant Hill Christian School.  Since more than likely we will be dealing with Covid restrictions to one degree or another throughout most of 2021, this plan has many advantages for us:  (1) SAFER - Meeting outdoors lessens the risk of spreading the virus, and some will feel OK to meet here who will not meet indoors.  (2) NUMBERS - We will not be limited to 25% capacity.  We can grow!  (3) SINGING - Here in our county, most likely, churches meeting indoors will be asked not to sing.  We can sing outdoors!  (4) SPACE - You can distance to your heart's desire!  It's up to you how close to others you wish to sit.  (5)  ATMOSPHERE - There's something about being in God's beautiful outdoors that inspires us!  These are a few of the advantages, and there may be others. Of course, the weather is a factor, and we will monitor that week-by-week as we did last year.  We would like to continue our livestreaming outdoors, and we will be looking at what we need to do to make this a reality.  This Easter will be a RESURRECTION Sunday in a very special way!

We serve a great God!
Pastor Rick
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