Latest Updates
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July 10, 2020
Hi Open Door family,

As we're continuing on into the summer season with COVID, there are two in-house matters ...


First, with the weather heating up, many people are using our turf field for activities. The turf field is OPEN, but please make reservations through the church office by emailing admin@odpcec.org. We want to make sure that the turf field does not get too crowded. Priority will be given to those with reservations. In the case of scheduling conflicts, please note that we do give priority to ministries that are meeting. Please continue to keep social distancing rules even while on the turf. And please make sure to pick up your trash when you are done. Let's keep the turf field clean for all to enjoy.

If your group is meeting during office hours/days (M-F 9am-4pm), you will be permitted to use the first floor bathrooms only.

Second, unfortunately, some scammers have taken advantage of this time of need. Recently, people have impersonated our pastors and staff and have asked some of you for help with gift cards for the needy around us. One person used the email alias of johncha.odpcec@gmail.com. Sneaky. Please also be wary of us asking you to make purchases on our behalf. We each can make church-budgeted purchases and so will not randomly ask you to make purchases on our behalf. Please also only respond to emails you recognize OR with emails from the "odpcec.org" domain. It's unfortunate that we have to make this PSA.

But please reach out to any of our staff if you have any questions.

Have a safe and wonderful summer!
Pastor John
June 4, 2020
Dear Open Door,

As we plan to re-open our onsite Sunday services on June 14, I wanted to share some thoughts with you all...


"THE CHURCH" WAS NEVER CLOSED:
We've been more "the church" than before! We've gathered in the early mornings to seek God through His Word and in prayer. We've seen more of our people serving faithfully in creative ways. We've been able to share with those in need. We've given to missions efforts overseas and locally more than ever before. And our GCs were actively engaged in our studies, while blessing other GCs, and blessing small businesses, first-responders, grocery stores, and other neighbors in need. At the same time, close to 30 more people are waiting to join GCs and to lead GCs. Plus, we took enough steps together to almost walk around the whole world! 🙂 God has been so, so good to us!

WE LOOK FORWARD TO MEETING IN PERSON -- BUT WHEN YOU'RE READY:
We're very grateful to God for the technology to meet remotely, but at some point we hope to be able to meet in person. God created us to be physical. We look forward to physically greeting each other, to laying hands on each other to pray. In our reopening survey results, we had a little over 200 responses. Among the median age (30's) and younger, about 60% wanted to meet onsite immediately or within a few weeks of opening -- all while the church exercised safety and caution. We understand that there are some of us who are ready to meet in person and others who are not. We understand. We know some of us or our loved ones are at high-risk. We want you to join us only when you are ready and when you sense that it is safe to do so.

STARTING ON 6/14, WE WILL HAVE ONE SERVICE ONSITE (9:20 AM) AND TWO SERVICES ONLINE (9:20 AM LIVE; 11:20 AM RECORDED).
Please check our website and our church-wide email up to the last minute as there may be changes in state guidelines and decisions.

  • If you are joining us onsite, you will have to pre-register at https://tinyurl.com/ECJune14. You will not be allowed to enter the building unless you pre-register. We will start with allowing 50 total people to attend - about 20 spaces will be taken up by staff and volunteers, leaving only 30 available spaces. Gradually, we will open the 9:20 AM onsite service to more and more people as we train more volunteers.

    a) Children younger than 9th grade will not be able to attend our onsite service until a later date. *Parents bringing young children will not be permitted into the building

    b) There will be no Children's Ministry onsite in the foreseeable future.

    c) The Grove and the SMC will open their onsite Sunday service for senior high youth (9th grade - 12th grade) tentatively starting on 6/28. Eventually, they will open their onsite service to younger grades.
  • We ask that members who are at high-risk (i.e., the elderly and those with underlying health conditions) remain at home and join us online. We also ask that children who are junior-high aged or younger to also remain at home. There will be no on-site Children's Ministry programs or gatherings.
  • Members will be required to wear their mask during service and while in the building. Please bring your own mask.
  • Prepare to arrive 15-20 minutes early for temperature screening. To help us get accurate readings with our laser thermometer, please avoid drinking hot or cold drinks an hour before you are screened.
  • Park in every other space. You will enter through the gym doors (the 2 doors on the left side) where we will perform temperature checks and screening.
  • Follow instructions regarding our uni-directional traffic flow in the church, our 6 ft social distancing, and our assigned seating in the sanctuary. Hand sanitizers are available (especially as you enter our building and as you leave). Restroom use will be limited for emergency use only.
  • There will be no fellowship time in the building after service.
The building will be professionally cleaned and disinfected before and after the service.

If you have any questions, please contact us at odpcec@gmail.com.

Together in Christ,
Pastor John
June 10, 2020
Dear brothers and sisters,

We hope all of you are staying healthy, safe, and well!


While our church is preparing to open our onsite Sunday service to 50 people, our process in making this decision has been long and difficult. On the one hand we are the church, the people of God. For us, gathering as people is not just what we do, it's who we are. And there is great blessing in our physical gathering -- to break bread physically together, to greet one another with a holy kiss (or a hug or handshake), to lay hands in prayer and commissioning, to simply be present in each others' lives, etc. Our gathering is a testimony of who we are before God, to each other, and to our world. On the other hand, however, what if our physical gathering poses risk to each other and to our neighbors? We are called to love our neighbors, but what if our gathering can potentially add to the spread of the virus in our neighborhoods? This has been our struggle in making decisions about our gatherings and meetings.

Thankfully, God has graciously provided for us! We are very grateful for our technology to host Zoom meetings, online Sunday worship, and to increase our online presence. In the months ahead, we will continue to provide and improve our online presence. But we also see limits. A few of our members are expressing distress and are suffering from a sense of isolation as we are not able to gather in person. We are also seeing a concerning trend of some EC, youth, and KC members only staying on for 15 minutes during an online worship service/Bible study of 1 hour and 15 mins. Some of our members are experiencing online fatigue and are "zoomed out." Church/ministry articles have mentioned the possible negative long-term effects of online worship/meetings where these can foster isolation, individualism, and consumerism (where one can simply pick-and-choose and turn-on-and-off elements of worship and church fellowship).

And so as a church, we hope to "open up" our in-person gatherings cautiously, in phases, and in limited ways. We know some will be able to join us while the majority of us will still be worshiping online -- and that's OK. We don't want any of you to feel rushed or pressured either way. We'll keep both an online and in-person presence for the many months to come.

We care for the safety of you all, your loved ones, and we want to act responsibly for the safety of our neighbors. We hope that all of you -- whether you meet online or onsite -- will take the precautions necessary to keep your loved ones and your neighbors safe, especially those at high-risk. As a church, we added a 2 week delay in our opening to monitor the status/spread of the virus and to further hear if there were any changes from the Governor. Also, according to Phase 1, while we were allowed to gather up to 50% of our occupancy, we decided to limit our attendance to 10% of our occupancy (i.e., 50 people). And while we can hold two or more services, we decided to hold just one service. We are also shortening the duration of our Sunday service to minimize exposure and contact with one another. All the other safety precautions and guidelines are in this email and on our instructional video (see below).

1) Our Instruction and Virtual Tour Video:
How will this Sunday look onsite? If you would like to find out more about what this Sunday will look like and learn more about our guidelines for the service, please click here.

2) Pre-Registration Sign-Up:
If you decide to join us this Sunday, please sign up on this linkby Friday.

  • You must pre-register by Friday. You will not be allowed to enter the building unless you pre-register. We will start with allowing 50 total people to attend - about 20 spaces will be taken up by staff and volunteers, leaving only 30 available spaces. Gradually, we will open the 9:20 AM onsite service to more and more people as we train more volunteers.

    a) Children younger than 9th grade will not be able to attend our onsite service until a later date. *Parents bringing young children will not be permitted into the building

    b) There will be no Children's Ministry onsite in the foreseeable future.

    c) The Grove and the SMC will open their onsite Sunday service for senior high youth (9th grade - 12th grade) tentatively starting on 6/28. Eventually, they will open their onsite service to younger grades.
  • Members will be required to wear their mask during service and while in the building. Please bring your own mask.
  • Prepare to arrive 15-20 minutes early for temperature screening. To help us get accurate readings with our laser thermometer, please avoid drinking hot or cold drinks an hour before you are screened.
  • Park in every other space. You will enter through the gym doors (the 2 doors on the left side) where we will perform temperature checks and screening.
  • Follow instructions regarding our uni-directional traffic flow in the church, our 6 ft social distancing, and our assigned seating in the sanctuary. Hand sanitizers are available (especially as you enter our building and as you leave). Restroom use will be limited for emergency use only.
  • There will be no fellowship time in the building after service.
The building will be professionally cleaned and disinfected before and after the service.

If you have any questions, please contact us at odpcec@gmail.com.

Together in His mercy,
Pastor John
May 20, 2020
Dear Open Door family!

As our Northern Virginia area is planning to re-open, our leadership is planning steps towards re-opening our on-site Sunday services as well. We would like to update you with where we are right now.


WORSHIP AND 2999 CENTREVILLE ROAD
We start with a word of praise. We thank God that He's allowed us ways to continue to worship Him online and using technology even though we have not been able to gather together on-site at 2999 Centreville Road. We also humbly trust that He, not we, know what’s best. And so, as we plan and prepare, we move forward prayerfully and thoughtfully, seeking His timing and direction as well as reasonably evaluating information, data, and guidance.

A TWO-WEEK DELAYED OPENING
Once our region lifts the current restrictions on the size of in-person worship services, we will wait an additional two weeks to monitor the trends and key data points, such as the number of cases of COVID-related hospitalization and new infections in our area. Depending on what we observe in these two weeks, we will either open as planned or further delay our re-opening. Once we eventually do re-open, given the possible spread and re-occurrence of this virus, please regard all this as a very fluid situation where our leadership's decisions to remain open or close may change -- even week to week. But all throughout, we will still hold our online Sunday worship services.

OUR PREPARATIONS & GUIDELINES
On our end, we have been diligently planning and preparing for the re-opening of our on-site Sunday worship services. In our planning, we are following all the requirements and recommendations of our state officials/government. We have also been consulting with EC members from the medical/healthcare and government fields, receiving guidance and up-to-the-minute information. We have finalized on a plan in our re-opening, and we wanted to share some main points of our plan with you.

  • We will initially hold only one service at 9:20am at a capacity of 50 to 100 people (the varying # depends on whether couples/families sit together). We will send out a pre-registration link for anyone who wants to worship on-site so that we can prepare our space accordingly.
  • We ask that members who are at high-risk (i.e., the elderly and those with underlying health conditions) remain at home and join us online. We also ask that children who are junior-high aged or younger to also remain at home. There will be no on-site Children's Ministry programs or gatherings.
  • We will require all attenders to bring and to wear masks throughout our entire service.
  • As time nears, we will provide further instructions with parking, screening at the door, uni-flow foot traffic, restrictions on restroom use, additional ventilation in the sanctuary space, and modifying parts of the service in terms of singing, offering, length of worship, etc.
We are taking all the possible steps we can to ensure a safe worship space and experience for all of us.

TAKING OUR SURVEY
Finally, our on-site worship services involve all of you as God's people. We would like to hear from you with regard to this re-opening. Would you take one minute to share with us by answering the questions and also providing feedback? Your input will help us to better prepare for our re-opening. Here is the link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/9GHT9GL

If you have any further questions, please contact myself or any of our staff.

Praying for our church and for our region during this time of re-opening,
Pastor John
May 13, 2020
Dear Open Door family!

We hope all of you are staying safe and well!

In light of our suffering economy, with ongoing unemployment and businesses remaining closed, we have extended our deadline to request relief in financial aid. If you have needs, please reach out to us by Sunday May 31. We will continue to re-assess how to best provide for the needs of our church members as circumstances change.


Later in the summer, we also hope to launch and commission a permanent fund ministry that will also provide financial support for those in need in our church.

Finally, at this time, would you help us with something? Would you be on the look out for brothers and sisters in our congregation who are in need? Please reach out to them and ask how they're doing -- or listen to one another as you text or chat or share in your GCs. If you hear of financial needs/hardship, please encourage them to reach out to us. All relevant information is provided in our initial email (below).

Thank you, church!

Together in Christ,
Pastor John
April 8, 2020
Dear Open Door family!

It's week #4 in our life of social distancing and quarantine. It's also Passion Week.

In some ways, it's very hard to see how we can live through a pandemic while trying to meaningfully remember the final week of Jesus' life and ministry. In some ways, it's not. We see some common themes. Both the death of Jesus and the Coronavirus were unexpected. Everyone was blindsided. Both left Believers confounded, asking questions -- even about Jesus' identity and intentions. Both left his followers in great dissonance and despair. Both left his followers locked in rooms -- overwhelmed in fear and worry. Both are leaving his people yearning and aching for a hope and a renewal that -- as we look ahead -- can really only happen through the resurrection of Jesus. This week, we have a unique challenge -- or I believe, an opportunity -- to remember Jesus -- his death and his resurrection in a way that has never happened ever before in history. Perhaps through this pandemic, we're actually closer to understanding Jesus' final week 2000 years ago. How can we see more of Jesus this week?


1) Continue to join us online for our Passion Week evening services at 8:00 PM. You can join us at www.odpcec.org.

2) For our upcoming Good Friday service, will ask each home to prepare for communion.

  • a) Our Communion Elements
    • i) Soon after we announced hosting communion in our homes, we were urged by our officials to avoid going to the grocery stores. Please improvise and find bread and any kind of juice/drink that will substitute for bread and grape juice in your homes. Prepare a plate for the bread and a small pitcher of juice/drink with separate cups for recipients.
    • ii) Our KC is also handing out pre-packaged elements of wafer and juice for our KC and EC side. Our KC staff will be wearing gloves and masks as they hand out these elements on the following dates and times: 4/8 Wednesday and 4/9 Thursday 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM and 6:45 PM -7:45 PM; 4/10 Friday 9:00 AM -12:00 PM) in the KC West entrance by the flagpole/near the playground and trailer.
  • b) Our Communion Recipients:We ask that only those who have been baptized or confirmed be able to take communion. (*In many Presbyterian and other denominations, churches set an age requirement for baptism and confirmation to ensure that the young candidate has a solid working understanding of the Christian faith and of what they believe as members of the church. Practically speaking, this is common practice for example with a minimum age for marriage, driving, joining the armed service, etc. And so with our age requirement, we hope to preserve the meaning and faithful practice of baptism/confirmation and communion).
  • c) Our Communion Practice:When we partake in the time of communion on Friday, Pastor Paul will walk us through the steps in administering the bread and cup. Please keep this time in prayer. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the love and sacrifice of our Lord Jesus on this solemn night.

As a personal practice, as I hand out the elements, I say the name of the person I'm serving, and say the following:
[As I hand out the bread] " _______, this is the body of Christ broken for you" [As I pass the cup] "______, this is the blood of Christ shed for you." The person in turn often says, "Thanks be to God" or "Amen."

Friday night will be a very meaningful time to share in the body of Christ and the cup. We pray your household will be blessed as we remember Jesus, our crucified Savior and King.

Remembering our Lord together this week,
Pastor John
April 3, 2020
Dear Open Door family!

I'm sure every one of us are adjusting -- and readjusting! -- to our new norm of "stay at home." And with our new norm, we're finding the need to re-structure our lives. We're scheduling classes, Zoom work meetings, walks outside, grocery runs, etc. We're becoming more intentional with our essentials of daily life.

We also want to be intentional in our schedule as a church. Gathering to worship God is an essential of essentials! So join me in going to our calendars and setting apart time to worship our God together, especially during this season of Lent and with our upcoming Passion Week, as we remember Jesus and his journey to the cross.

Join us for our following worship services:

1) Our weekly Sunday worship serviceswill continue to be online up until 4/24. We will inform you of any further changes.

2) Passion Week Online Services (joint EC & Grove; CM Curriculum)will be held all next week 4/6-10. Join us at 8 PM from Monday through Friday on www.odpcec.org. We will have a time of praise, a message, and prayer. Our Children's Ministry will be sharing a week-long family activity guide through Passion Week, as well as hosting virtual activities such as a Zoom FVM Praise Party on Easter Sunday, and Easter story read-alouds from Little Lights and Kids for Christ. Please look out for specific details from your ministry director.

  • Monday Service: Walk Like Jesus; 1 Peter 2:13-25 (Pastor John)
  • Tuesday Service: Love Like Jesus; 1 John 3:11-24 (Pastor Jee)
  • Wednesday Service: Serve Like Jesus; John 13:1-20 (Pastor James)
  • Thursday Service: Pray Like Jesus; Luke 11:1-4 (Pastor David Seo)
  • Good Friday Service: Worship & Communion (Various pastors)

3) Good Friday and Preparing for Communion:This year, we will be partaking in communion from our homes. Good Friday marks the day on the church calendar when Jesus died on the cross, and so we want to partake in communion, especially in remembering Christ's body broken for us and his blood shed for us. Normally, we would only practice communion altogether and have our pastors and elders administer the elements. However, we have agreed to serve communion in our homes due to the extreme and exceptional circumstances. We ask that our adult members prepare bread and grape juice before Friday night.We ask that recipients of communion still remain those who are baptized and confirmed in their faith.

4) Our Sunday Easter Sunrise Service Canceled:Due to limited AV resources/support and with multiple scheduled online services already, we will be canceling our Easter Sunrise Service just for this year. We will celebrate next year!

5) Our Sunday Easter Services (joint EC & Grove)will be online at 9:20 AM and 11:20 AM at www.odpcec.org. Join us as we celebrate His resurrection! "He is risen!" "He is risen indeed!"

Join us all in worship this Sunday and also next Monday night online!

Worshiping our God together with you,
Pastor John
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