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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

Good Friday & Easter 2021

We will celebrate Holy Week together this year with an outdoor service on Good Friday evening and two services on Easter Sunday morning, an early outdoor service and a 10:30AM  service in the sanctuary that will be live-streamed. Continue reading

Celebrating 10 Years!

We have been blessed to have Pastor Ryan and the Boes family serving with us for ten years this month!  Enjoy these photos that tell some of the story of this journey together in faith, relive a few memories, share in Jaime’s reflections, and maybe think about sending them a note sharing your own memories and appreciation. Continue reading

Lenten prayer practice

The 40 days of Lent are a time when we pause to consider our relationship with God, the world, others, and ourselves. It is a time to reconnect and find a restoration of relationship, a renewed space of “withness.”

This Lent, we invite you into a Lenten prayer practice. This tactile prayer experience uses simple actions with paper and a scissors to invite us into a space of contemplation and commitment to our walk with Jesus. As we create leaf-like diamonds, we mourn our disconnect from Jesus, name what keeps us apart, ponder the Spirit’s call to return, and imagine what saying yes to God looks like right now.  How is God with us? How might we be called to be “with” ? Continue reading

with: Lent & Easter 2021

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday, February 17, 2021,  marks the beginning of the Lenten season. This day serves as a reminder of our human mortality and the need for reconciliation with God.

Ann Arbor CRC would typically have a family-oriented worship service with communion and imposition of ashes, but this year, we will mark it with an at-home worship liturgy that you are invited to use in your homes: liturgy and playlist.

The Ecumenical Ann Arbor Taize Ash Wednesday worship will be at 7:30pm and is going virtual this year. The worship will be live-streamed on the First Presbyterian Church of Ann Arbor’s Facebook page and YouTube channel or join the zoom link found here. Continue reading

Hesed Church Christmas store

Guest post by
Matt Admiraal, AACRC Volunteer

On December 19, I had the opportunity to serve alongside members of Hesed Community Church in Detroit and Grace Church of Ann Arbor and Grace Church of Canton at the Hesed Community Church’s Pride for Parents’ Christmas Store.  This is the second year in which these churches have been active in helping individuals in the Brightmoor neighborhood of Detroit in this amazing activity.  The Pride for Parents’ Christmas Store allows parents to purchase Christmas gifts for their children at a very reduced rate.  New items are purchased and donated by individuals from churches (some from members of Ann Arbor CRC as well as from members of Grace Church of Ann Arbor and Grace Church of Canton) and then sold at a “store” (in actuality at a church) for prices ranging from $.25 to $5.  Items that parents could shop for included toys, games, sports equipment, electronics, books, and clothing.  Parents were allowed to purchase two toys for each child in their family, one piece of sports equipment and one game per family, and one winter coat for each child in their family. Continue reading

Parish nurse news – January 2021

Guest post by
Barb Okonkwo, AACRC Parish Nurse

In this year of Covid-19 where we have experienced such disorientation, distance, disinformation and death we are now encouraged by the gift of a vaccine that will allow us to return to a semblance of normalcy (we hope).

We are so grateful for the front-line workers in our AACRC community who have been in the thick of the fight against this disease, who have daily been faced with its devastating effects. We are also grateful that they now have some protection by having been given the vaccine. Let’s continue to pray for their protection—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. (Pictured above are health care workers Dan and Tanya receiving their vaccines.)

Now, the rest of us eagerly await news of when we can be vaccinated. It’s possible, even probable that by the time you read this the directives for accessing the vaccine will have changed (again). Many, if not most of you know this already but it doesn’t hurt to repeat it. The vaccine will be distributed (when available) across the state through different providers. I recommend that you visit the following websites for the most current information for us in this community:

Michigan Medicine Patients:  Mich Med – click here

St Joes and IHA Patients:  St Joe/IHA – click here

All others, Washtenaw County: Washtenaw – click here

All others, State of Michigan: MI- click here

Here is another good website for information about appropriate masking and how to get free masks:  Mask information and free masks – click here

I’m thankful to know that that you are all taking the necessary precautions to be as safe as possible and that you will continue to follow the CDC guidelines even after getting vaccinated: wearing a mask, physical distancing, frequent hand washing. It will be wonderful when this virus is contained and we can all be together again won’t it? Meanwhile, please let me know if you have questions or concerns about the vaccine and I will try to answer or direct you to the appropriate source.

Stay safe,
Barb Okonkwo PN


Engaging with the CRC report on human sexuality

Our church Council is taking January 2021 to work on unpacking the CRC Report on Human Sexuality. This is work that Council does not take lightly. Council is using the following questions to help frame their time of sharing and listening:

  1. What about the report do you affirm? What did you appreciate?
  2. What resistance do you feel? Where do you feel disappointment, anger, or anxiety?
  3. Who is affected? In what ways?
  4. What are the main issues for us as a congregation?
  5. What needs to be done to move forward? What are you prepared to do to help move things forward?

Continue reading

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