Downtown Cornerstone Blog
May 19
2021

Our Next Step Forward: Vaccines, Masks, and Sundays

Covid-19 | by Pastor Adam Sinnett

Pastoral Note

Downtown Cornerstone,

As I mentioned on Sunday, we are once again in new territory as we navigate our way out of this once-a-century pandemic. Thank you to everyone who responded to our survey over the weekend. We heard back from ~475 people, which was very helpful. 

News from the CDC and Governor Insleee

The survey was prompted by news from the CDC and Washington's Governor late last week that those who are fully vaccinated (defined as two weeks after your final shot) no longer need to wear a mask or socially distance, whether inside or outside, with few exceptions (public transit, schools, hospitals, shelters, etc). Additionally, the Governor announced that the goal for “fully reopening” the state is set for June 30th.

We must continue to wear masks when we gather

In light of these significant changes, we expected adjustments to be made to the state-mandated Covid-19 requirements for churches. Unfortunately, that did not happen. Therefore, unless we were to meet very stringent requirements (e.g. maintain a vaccinated seating section, create a vaccine verifier role, require weekly proof of vaccination status and/or negative Covid tests for kids, etc), for the time being, despite the news last week, we must continue to wear masks when we gather on Sundays.

This is a complex situation

When it comes to making decisions about our next steps as a church, amidst continually changing circumstances, the elders are navigating a number of multi-layered factors:

  1. We desire to obey the governing authorities, as an act of worship to God, provided they do not compel us to sin (Rom. 13:1-7). At the same time, we do not want to be more strict than the government. 
  2. We want to maximize the number of people who can join us on Sundays. At the same time, due to social distancing, we have real space limitations. 
  3. We desire for everyone to feel safe. At the same time, we recognizing there is a wide spectrum of opinions on what it means to be safe. 
  4. We desire for everyone to be able to gather every week. At the same time, the restrictions make this a challenge in our current building.

So, the question we are asking is, “Is there a solution that allows us to do all of these at the same time?”

Some Good News: We have flock immunity

Importantly, 87% of those surveyed indicated they are already, or are in the process of becoming, vaccinated. That means, generally speaking, nine out of ten people who gather on Sunday are vaccinated or in the process of becoming so. In other words, you could say we have our own ‘herd immunity’—or, more fitting, ‘flock immunity.’ This means the chance of Covid spread when we gather, particularly when coupled with other safeguards (masks, hand sanitizer, etc), is very low.

Our gathering plan until June 30th

All that being the case, here is our gathering plan until June 30th, at which point we will reevaluate. All of this will begin this Sunday, May 23rd: 

1) Masks: Masks will continue to be required during our gatherings, as they have been, whether you are vaccinated or unvaccinated, per state law and request of King County

2) Seating: We will begin seating people in groups of 15—the largest group size permitted. The more people who sit in these groups, the more people who will be able to gather. 

3) Distancing: For those uncomfortable sitting with others, we will have some socially distanced seating available. If you find yourself in this category, keep in mind that in addition to everyone wearing masks, 87% of people who gather on Sunday have been, or are in the process of becoming, vaccinated. We are happy to oblige, while also encouraging you to consider if there is anyone you are comfortable sitting with in order to maximize the use of our space.

4) Overflow: In order to increase our seating capacity, we are going to continue to leverage overflow seating in the Commons while adding seating in the Multi-Purpose Room downstairs (four groups of 15, who will participate via a live feed). Seating will be on a first-come-first-served basis. 

5) Every week! Given the number of people who desire to gather, coupled with overflow seating, we believe we can accommodate everyone, every week, between our 9am and 11am services. 

6) Pre-registration: We will continue to ask for everyone to pre-register, but only to ensure we have enough seats for everyone, every week. Again, you can now attend every week, but pre-registration will enable us to ensure each gathering is evenly distributed. 

7) What's next? As we approach June 30th, and learn more about what our state’s reopening plan looks like, we will reassess.

So, that’s our plan: masks + groups of 15 + some social distancing + overflow + weekly participation (!)

Again, this begins this Sunday, May 23rd. You can register here.

While this isn’t the end of the pandemic, it is an important step in that direction. We’re almost there, so don’t lose heart (2 Cor. 4:16). Let’s continue to pray (Eph. 6:18). Let’s pursue unity (1 Pet. 3:8). Let’s love one another well (Rom. 12:10). Let’s ask Jesus to protect us (1 John 5:18). His story continues to unfold and we’re a part of it (Rev. 22:20-21). His mission continues (Mt. 28:18-20). There are still many in our city who have yet to gladly surrender their lives to him (Acts 18:20). We will reap, if we do not give up (Gal. 6:9).

See you Sunday, Lord willing!

Christ is all,
Pastor Adam

P.S. Don’t miss that we’re now permitting everyone to gather every week for worship. 

Apr 29
2021

Mercy Ministry Update | April

Mercy Ministries, Mercy Update | by Pastor Justin Keogh

The Mercy Ministry Updates are a regular snapshot of our Mercy Ministries in DCC, where we are working to serve and uphold the value and dignity of God’s most vulnerable image bearers in our city. For more regular updates in each focus area, please request to join our Mercy Focus groups in Church Center (linked below).

Gospel Framework

The Bible, as God’s inspired word, displays God’s good design and our radical need for a savior, found only in Jesus, and calls us to live out our new identity in Christ as we engage the world around us.

1 Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. 3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. 4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8 The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people…14 And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.
– Titus 3:1-8, 14

Titus chapter 3 gives us a beautiful summary of the gospel—our nature and need of salvation (v.3) and the gift of God's grace in Christ (vv.4-7)—and connects our salvation with our response of living a gracious life of service to others (v.1, v.8, v.14). We see in these few verses the precise relationship between grace and works: that "he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His mercy" (v.5), which then leads us to be devoted to good works that are excellent and profitable for people (v.8) and in particular cases of urgent need (v.14).

The grace of God changes our hearts and enables us to love Him and others. Jesus summarized the whole law with these two dimensions: first, a whole-life devotion to God, and second, a love of others (Matt. 22:34-40). The apostles James and John reiterate the relationship between faith and works in their letters (as Paul does in his): that saving faith is faith in God's work for us that produces good works to others (James 2:14-26; 1 John 4:7-21). As we reflect and cherish God's grace and mercy to us when we were apart from him, it will motivate us to extend grace and mercy to others.

Mercy Ministry Training: This Sunday, May 2nd @ 1PM

Join us as we look at Scripture's call to serve those in need around us, introduce our current Mercy Ministries, discuss opportunities for us to serve, and pray together for our city. This training will focus on two related topics:

  • Understanding more of the complexities of what leads people into vulnerable situations, as well as the complexities that it takes to get out of them.
  • And related, how we as individuals and as a church then prioritize and steward our efforts as we serve.

This is an excellent place for those who are looking to get started, ask questions, meet others, and take the next step in serving with our Mercy Ministries. We’ll be hosting this as a hybrid training both in-person and online. Read more and register below.

Register

Stay Connected

Learn more about our Mercy Ministries HERE. Join the focus area city groups in order to hear more regular updates, events, and opportunities to serve:

For the Kingdom,

Pastor Justin

Apr 16
2021

Reviving Our Discipleship Rhythms This Spring

Community, Discipleship | by Pastor Justin Keogh

DCC Family,

Have you considered how the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has impacted your discipleship rhythms? For many of us, our weekly gathering with the church on Sundays which had been a years—or decades—long discipline has become gathering with restrictions and/or livestreaming; our beloved potlucks in community have given way to quick meals and zoom gatherings; our regular DG meetings at the local coffee shop have gone virtual, or worse, stopped altogether.

This hard season has impacted us all in so many ways, especially our discipleship, because so much of our discipleship relies on being together.

The normal pattern of the New Testament church is gathering together in multiple forms on a regular, even daily(!), basis (see Acts 2:42-47; Heb. 10:24-25). Far more than only gathering at the church building on Sundays, Christians are encouraged to meet regularly for the purpose of living out the "One Anothers." Consider Hebrews 3:12-13:

Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

As DCC, we live this out intentionally through our Cornerstone Communities and our Discipleship Groups. If you've taken the Foundations class, then I'd invite you to jump into both this spring!

  • Foundations: If you've not yet gone through our Foundations class, I'd encourage you to start there. You'll not only learn more about DCC, but you'll meet others who are new to the church and get connected to a community and/or a DG through the class. Learn more and register here.
  • Cornerstone Communities: Our communities are diverse groups of people that meet weekly in their local neighborhoods (and/or, in this season, over zoom) for fellowship, prayer, and discussing and applying God's word to their lives. Check out our current community list here to get connected.
  • Discipleship Groups: Within, and sometimes across, our communities are smaller (2-5), gender-specific, DGs that meet regularly to cultivate trust in Jesus, growth in holiness and missional living. Check out a short video below to learn more (5 mins), and then fill out this simple form to get plugged into a DG for the spring.

It's our prayerful aim that everyone in DCC would be relationally connected, intentionally growing, meaningfully serving, missionally engaged, willingly accountable, and known by a pastor—and being in meaningful discipling relationships through our Cornerstone Communities and Discipleship Groups are a big part of that!

While you can jump into a community or DG at any time, now is a great time at the beginning of the Spring quarter. As such, I’d encourage you to join a community and/or a DG this next week, and commit for the next 3 months. If you have any questions at all, please don't hesitate to email me at .

With Brotherly Affection in Christ,
Pastor Justin

Apr 12
2021

Spring Classes: Growing in your Knowledge, Love, and Trust of the Lord

Discipleship, News, Teaching

Downtown Cornerstone,

As disciples of Christ, we are called to grow in our knowledge, love, and trust of the Lord (Col. 1:9-13). But, this growth doesn’t happen automatically; it happens through exercising our faith and intentionally utilizing the means of grace. One of these means of grace is the regular opening and applying of God’s Word together (Ps. 119:130, Col. 3:16).

This spring, we’re offering a number of classes over two five-week sessions. Each class, grounded in God’s Word, is intended to help you grow in a specific aspect of your life as a follower of Christ.

Session 1 begins this Wednesday, April 14th at 6:30PM:

  • Are you new with us and looking to meet others, learn more about DCC from our elders, join a Cornerstone Community, be baptized, and/or become a member? Join our Foundations class. Register here…
  • Are you looking to learn more about the history of Jesus’ church and God’s work of redeeming his people over centuries and millennia? Join the Church History class (ten weeks). Register here…
  • Are you desiring to grow in your understanding of the Bible, properly interpreting it and practically applying it to your life? Join the How to Study the Bible class. Register here…

Session 2 will begin on Wednesday, May 19th, and offer another round of the Foundations class, along with two additional classes:

  • Are you wanting to grow as a disciple-maker and help others become more like Christ? Join the Making Disciples class. Register here…
  • Are you seeking to learn what Scripture says about parenting and raising children who will love, trust, and treasure Jesus? Join our Parenting class. Register here…
If you are new with DCC, we would encourage you to start with the Foundations class.

To read more about our midweek classes and FAQs, visit our webpage here. If you have any other questions, please email us at classes@downtowncornerstone.org.