House Groups begin September 19

Looking to dive deeper into our fall sermon series, Life Together? We’ll be using Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book by the same title to study and grow together in House Groups. Our first meeting date is September 19. Groups will meet five times in the fall during the faith formation hour, on the weekends, or even a virtual group. Contact Ross Weener (rweener@aacrc.org) with any questions or if you’d like to join a group.

Pizza Night Program Kick-Off Event!

Wednesday, September 15 @ 5:45pm

We are excited for the return of in-person program nights this Wednesday, September 15, 2021. Church will be hosting a pizza dinner from 5:45-6:30pm, prior to the start of programming at 6:30pm.

Everyone is welcome whether you are bringing children to GEMS, Cadets, or Roots OR if you just want to come, grab a piece of pizza and connect with others.

A few things to note:

  • We will be outdoors in the lower parking lot allowing families and people to spread out, run around, and socialize while eating.
  • Please park in the upper parking lot or in the spaces near the garden in the lower lot.
  • What to bring? Lawn chairs or blankets for seating if desired, your own tableware and water bottle.

Outdoor worship option

Two week test for Sunday worship: August 22 & 29

This week and next week Sunday, weather permitting, we will try moving the Fellowship Hall TV—which usually streams worship inside—outside to the deck just outside the Fellowship Hall. You will find space on the sidewalk and grass under the trees for participating in worship. If you are up for an experiment, bring your lawn chairs and try it out!  (The service will continue to be streamed to room 24 as a worship option. Masks are required for anyone 2+ in this space.)

August 2021 mask update

Dear Members & Friends,

On Wednesday, the Washtenaw County Health Department issued an advisory strongly recommending masking for everyone in indoor, public spaces, regardless of vaccination status. This advisory was issued due to increasing local transmission of COVID-19, now in “substantial” levels as defined in the CDC COVID Data Tracker. In addition, neighboring counties have also reached “substantial” levels of transmission. We plan to follow this advisory from our local health department and request that everyone over the age of 2 wear a mask during worship services and any other indoor meetings at the church.

We will continue to offer additional spaces for families and individuals during worship services in the fellowship hall and Room 24 for those who desire increased physical distancing. At this time, there will not be any capacity limits in the sanctuary.

More information is available in the  Washtenaw County Health Department COVID-19 Advisory,  including an opportunity to order at-home COVID-19 test kits if you are interested.

Together in Christ,
Jill Fenske, Council President
Malo Engel, Shepherding Elder Chair

We are again requesting that everyone over the age of two wear a mask during worship services and any other indoor meetings at the church

Worship moving back indoors beginning July 11

Dear members and friends,

After significant discussion, and in consultation with the Medical Advisory Team, the Shepherding Elders have decided to move Sunday morning worship back indoors starting July 11. Although the 9:30 am worship start time was originally chosen to avoid late-morning heat, Council has decided that worship will remain at 9:30 am throughout the summer. Given current COVID conditions, we will continue to ask unvaccinated people over the age of 2 to mask at all times while in the building.

The Shepherding Elders realize that the move indoors will be a significant relief to some, while for others, it brings new concerns and challenges. In order to make as much room as possible, the service will be streamed to the Fellowship Hall and Room 24. Room 24 will be a fully-masked space. The YouTube stream will, of course, also remain an option.

As always, if you have any thoughts, questions, or concerns, please reach out to your Shepherding Elder or one of the pastors.

-Jill Fenske, Council President

Summer outdoor worship details

Dear Members & Friends–

This week we begin outdoor worship, and we can’t wait! We can’t wait to see more of you, to lift our voices together in worship of the Triune God, and continue to walk in faith together. We wanted to share a few details for those that are able to attend worship in-person this summer:

  • Summer worship time: We’ve moved the time to 9:30 AM to avoid some of the noonday heat as we move through summer. (Note: no sign up needed for outdoor worship) 
  • What to bring:
    • A lawn chair or blanket
    • A water bottle
    • A mask: With singing happening throughout our service and a number of unvaccinated people among us (mostly children), we are recommending masking during the service to continue to show care to the most vulnerable. After the service, please abide by CDC guidelines for outdoor gatherings based on your comfort and vaccination status. The med team and staff will review this policy at the end of June
  • Parking: Worship will be happening in the upper parking lot. Please park in the lower lot and walk up the stairs. There will be limited parking available in the upper lot for those for whom stairs are difficult.
  • Streaming: Our stream will continue for those not able to come in person with links provided in Connections and on our website. Both at-home and in-person participants will be helped by pulling up the weekly liturgy on their phones or tablets, as we will not be projecting lyrics outdoors. Folks at 1717 will also have the option of picking up a paper copy of the liturgy. 
  • Can I help? Yes, moving worship outdoors will take all of us working together! In the coming weeks we’d love to be able to use the gifts of the church to help with the following:
    • Communion servers 
    • Set tear down immediately following worship
    • Coffee helpers: set up, serve, and clean up
  • Weather plan: In the event we need to move worship inside, that decision will be made by 5 PM on Saturday evening and communicated through a special Connections email as well as posted on our church website and social media. If we do go inside, there will be a sign up open to 100 individual spots. 

One more thing: outdoor worship is the perfect opportunity to invite your friends and neighbors. That person you’ve been meaning to ask for years would probably be even more comfortable showing up in an outdoor setting! So let’s make the most of this shift in worship to invite others into the life God is giving us together. 

Together in Christ,
The staff of the Ann Arbor Christian Reformed Church

Annual Congregational Meeting

Sunday, June 20, 2021 @ 10:45 am

Our annual congregational meeting will take place on Sunday, June 20 following morning worship (10:45 AM). The congregational meeting will be held in the sanctuary; additionally, there will also be a streaming option for those who cannot attend in person.

We hope you will join us as we share some of the wonderful things that have been going on in the life of the church over the last 12 months as well as a presentation on the budget. We will also be affirming a new group of shepherding elders and deacons. The shepherding elder nominees are: Kellie Steen, Anita Lautenbach, and Marilyn McLaughlin. The nominees for deacon are: Mark Doorlag and John Bush.

So please mark your calendars, we are looking forward to gathering together with many of you.

On behalf of Council,
Jaime Ventura

Summer outdoor worship brings changes

Outdoor worship is almost here! I’m so excited to gather outside like we did on Easter. It’s going to be fantastic to gather without attendance limits, and I can’t wait to sing all the way through the service! Continue reading

Sunny work day for Hesed Community Church

Guest post by
Matt Admiraal, AACRC Volunteer

This past Saturday, May 1, several members from our church had the opportunity to serve at the Hesed Community Church, which at first glance looks more like a house.  We divided into three work groups. One group worked on demolition projects at a house that Hesed purchased for ministry opportunities.  A second group worked on preparing raised garden beds for a community garden. The third group worked on cleaning up around the house of a neighbor who lives in the Brightmoor neighborhood and who is active with Hesed. All felt a sense of accomplishment as the day ended, and deeply valued the opportunities to connect with people in the Brightmoor community while reconnecting with members from our own congregation.  People of all ages from our church enjoyed serving together.

Though Hesed Community Church doesn’t have the appearance of what we think of as a church building, what I saw on Saturday was the active church in which individuals shared the love of Christ by loving our neighbors through service and spending enjoyable time together.   Praise God for such a wonderful opportunity!

A big thank you to all who served and to those who provided food and drink for those who served.

COVID-19 recommendations update

We are so excited that our members are slowly getting vaccinated! Many of our 65+ members are at least one dose in.

If you are wondering what you can do once vaccinated, Barb Okonkwo, our parish nurse, pointed me to this information from the CDC. The following comes directly from the CDC (Read full text on CDC website) and is current as of March 23, 2021

When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated

How to Protect Yourself and Others

Updated Mar. 23, 2021

COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting you from getting sick. Based on what we know about COVID-19 vaccines, people who have been fully vaccinated can start to do some things that they had stopped doing because of the pandemic.

We’re still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19. After you’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you should keep taking precautions in public places like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces until we know more.

Have You Been Fully Vaccinated?

People are considered fully vaccinated:

  • 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
  • 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine

If it has been less than 2 weeks since your 1-dose shot, or if you still need to get your second dose of a 2-dose vaccine, you are NOT fully protected. Keep taking all prevention steps until you are fully vaccinated.

What’s Changed

If you’ve been fully vaccinated:

  • You can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask.
  • You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms.
    • However, if you live in a group setting (like a correctional or detention facility or group home) and are around someone who has COVID-19, you should still stay away from others for 14 days and get tested, even if you don’t have symptoms.

What Hasn’t Changed

For now, if you’ve been fully vaccinated:

  • You should still take steps to protect yourself and others in many situations, like wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces. Take these precautions whenever you are:
  • You should still avoid medium or large-sized gatherings.
  • You should still delay domestic and international travel. If you do travel, you’ll still need to follow CDC requirements and recommendations.
  • You should still watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you’ve been around someone who is sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested and stay home and away from others.
  • You will still need to follow guidance at your workplace.
Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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