From the Pastor’s Desk:Pastor Karen Quan

Dear brothers and sisters of RCAC,

Matthew 9:16-17 (NiRV)
16 “People don’t sew a patch of new cloth on old clothes. The new piece will pull away from the old. That will make the tear worse. 17 People don’t pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst. The wine will run out, and the wineskins will be destroyed. No, people pour new wine into new wineskins. Then both are saved.”

In the Children’s Ministry, we have undergone a complete paradigm shift as we moved to welcoming families “In Person”. Before the pandemic, most of our volunteer teams served together for 40/52 weeks in the year. Team members developed strong relationships with one another and were able to develop deeper relationships with those kids who came to church regularly. Volunteer teams were composed of experienced brothers & sisters and also those were new to serving children. This was the “Old” way of doing church. Who could imagine a church without Sunday School for kids?

But the interruptions that the pandemic has brought has meant that we could no longer expect volunteers to worship in one service and then serve with children for a different service. Concerns about COVID exposures are legitimate and serving among the kids (who were unvaccinated in the early days) meant that many volunteers were not ready to serve “In Person”. Teams that had served together for many years were suddenly frozen in time and while those who could jumped online to serve kids, it was a big change from what used to be ministry for kids.

Finally, when the time came for us to safely gather together again “In Person” as a church (Sept. 2021), we could only do so according to the specific congregation. So while the various congregations have been able to re-connect “In Person”, for many kids & some youth, they are no longer able to see or be with their peers. Especially as the families are likely to just come to church just once over the week-end. Missions Hour, Age divided Sunday School, Kids’ Worship Team, …these things no longer exist.

Now, in this “New” way of gathering “In Person”, kids are only able to see/connect with those from the same language group or worship service. While we are grateful to be gathering together in any manner, in this “New” format, we are only able to offer Bible Time as one large group of children learning together in which I repeated the same lesson 4 times/week-end until mid-April where it was no longer sustainable. I am forever grateful to our head Deacon (Terence Fong) & the Children’s Ministry Team Leaders/members in all the “In Person” services who sustained and faithfully taught while I was on the leave of absence.

In this “New” way of hosting Bible Time, everything takes longer. Relationships between leaders (who only serve once/month) and kids (who may/may not be coming regularly) are still forming but it all takes more time. Whether it’s on the volunteer level or between kids, relationships are now taking place with face masks in order to keep each other safe. The one thing that has not changed is our desire to point children to God and have them respond to Him in obedience.

In this passage, Jesus reminds us that whether “Old” or “New”, we must not lose sight of the bigger picture. While we are not winemakers, God has called us to make disciples and we can’t just rely on the “Old” ways to accomplish this goal. Forcing the “Old” ways into “New” situations just doesn’t work. We need to continually explore and adjust to “New” ways to share the love of Jesus even while we may not have figured it all out just yet. In fact, this exploration forces us to rely on HIM more and not just on familiar routines or habits. May God continue to show us how to prepare “New WineSkins” for all the “New Wine” that HE has entrusted to us.

Your servant in Christ,
Pastor Karen Quan