Church Updates

November 18 – Important Church Update

Church Family,

During this past year, we have experienced unprecedented change within society, family life, and how we have been able to meet as a church family.  It is important that we draw our encouragement and hope from the Word of God to see us through these most challenging and difficult times.  Let me remind you of a few of the promises of God that can bring nourishment to our souls.

Psalm 18:28 says, “You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.”  When life feels overwhelming and trouble seems to surround us, we can count on Jesus to light our path and guide us through.  Nahum 1:7 tells us, “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him.”  And remember Psalm 121:1-2 says, “I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth!”

Wow! Those are great promises filled with hope and power from above.  Let us always turn to Jesus and trust in His unfailing love, grace, and mercy to see us through each and every day.  Remember, we the Church, are the bride of Christ, and Jesus promises to not only care for His Church, but to give us the grace to thrive in this world, even with all the troubles we findThe mission of God in making Jesus known to the world has not changed, but the methods we use sometimes do.

Alexandria and the communities around us have experienced a significant increase in COVID-19 positive cases that have resulted in many people being sick, our hospital being overwhelmed, and countless people in our community and the communities around us going into quarantine.  Although we desire to continue to meet in-person for Sunday worship and our ministry programs at the church, it is not wise, nor the most responsible thing to do at this time.  Numerous factors contributed to this decision by the Leadership Team; A dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases in Douglas County, numerous staff and volunteers subject to quarantine, a risk of our group gatherings being opportunities to spread the virus, and the need to be a good neighbor to our community.

Please know that this decision made by the Leadership Team of the church was not done without prayer and much consideration.  Numerous COVID-19 data sources indicate COVID-19 cases in Douglas county are on the rise.  It is hard to justify the risk factor of meeting in larger groups when the safety of people in our community and the church family is so high, based on the metrics used for our decisions.  Be assured that the Leadership Team is monitoring the situation closely and will be meeting regularly to determine when the best time will be for us to re-gather together for in-person worship and ministry activity.  We hope and pray that we will be able to meet again in-person as soon as is reasonably practicable and safe to do so.

As a church family in our community, it is our desire to serve people with the care and love that is commanded to us by Jesus Christ.  We are called to be good neighbors and to compassionately love others in the name of Jesus.  Being a good neighbor requires us to make some sacrifices as we care for others.  We must be a willing participant in helping our community get a handle on reducing the COVID-19 numbers, so that we can all return to a more normal life together.

At this time, all in-person ministry at the church for children, youth, and adults will be suspended at least until mid-January.  We will continue to provide the church family with online ministry opportunities, and resources that will encourage you in your walk with Jesus and help you grow deeper in your relationship with Him.

Sunday worship will be experienced online only for now.  You can experience Sunday worship online at alexandriacovenant.org, Facebook, or on our YouTube channel.  This means that we are suspending in-person worship on Sundays until it is determined to be safe to meet in-person again by the Leadership Team.

So, while the Leadership Team and Staff of the church are working hard to make the adjustments necessary to navigate these changing and challenging times, we covet the church family’s prayers, encouragement, and participation. You can look forward to receiving information from our Ministry and Pastoral staff in the days and weeks to come that inform you of how you can participate in the various ministry opportunities of the church through our online platforms.

Please know that the primary form of communication to the church family regarding changes in the church will come via email.  You will also be able to stay updated regarding church changes and schedules on our website at alexandriacovenant.org, our church app, and by following us on Facebook or Instagram.

Finally, let me encourage you to consider things we can all do during this time.

  • Pray.  We believe that prayer can do powerful things.  Let’s pray as a church family for those affected by the virus, for our local community, and the world at large as we navigate this virus together.
  • Participate in online ministry opportunities at Alexandria Covenant Church.  Ministry and Pastoral Staff are working hard to provide opportunities for you be connected to others and engaged in online ministry.
  • Call your friends and family.  Even while social distancing is implemented to protect the elderly and vulnerable health populations- it doesn’t mean we need to be disconnected. Reach out by phone, email, or social media to let people know you are thinking of them (while still keeping them safe).
  • Reach out to those in isolation.  Know of someone who is in self-isolation or at the hospital? Give them a call or shoot them a message; isolation can be incredibly difficult on a person’s mental health and well-being. Just because they are alone, doesn’t mean they have to feel alone in it.
  • Engage in online worship.  You can participate in online worship by going to alexandriacovenant.org, or visit us on Facebook, or the Alexandria Covenant Church YouTube channel.
  • Give to the ministry of the church.  Support the ongoing work and ministry of the church by giving online or by mailing a check directly to the church office at 4005 Dakota Street, Alexandria, MN 56308.
  • Be a good neighbor.  Be mindful of the needs of those around you.  Do what you can to serve others with the love of Christ and make sure that if you can meet a need in someone’s life, you choose to do so.  This will please God and bring glory to the name of Jesus.

Let us be committed to be people who pray earnestly in this season for one another, love each other well during these challenging times, and bring God’s peace and hope to our community in the name of Jesus!

Blessings,

Pastor Trinity Opp

November 9 – Ministry Update

Church Family,

Greetings in the name of Jesus, our only hope in this world.

Though we live in a world that gives much opportunity to be discouraged, may we fix our eyes on Jesus and experience the hope and peace that only He can bring!

Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

Due to the increase in COVID-19 exposures and cases in Alexandria and throughout Douglas County, we are taking extra precautions as a church family to protect the church and the community around us.  Several of the Alexandria Covenant Church staff are in quarantine due to direct exposure or testing positive for COVID-19. Please be in prayer for families directly impacted by COVID-19.

As a result, the Leadership Team of Alexandria Covenant Church has decided to pause all in person ministry of the church through November 22.  This means that all ministry activity through the church will be done via an online platform through November 22.  The church office will be closed November 9-22.  Should you have any needs, feel free to contact the church office at 320.763.5659 and follow the voicemail commands.  You will receive a call back.  You can also email any of the church staff through our website here.  The Pastoral and Ministry Staff will be working hard over the next couple days to make sure that all leaders, volunteers, and families are informed of the changes.

Any changes to this schedule will be communicated to the church via email.  You will also be able to follow all church updates on our website here.

You will be able to experience Sunday Worship online at 8:00, 9:30 or 11:00 am at alexandriacovenant.orgFacebook or YouTube.

Let’s be diligent as a church family to pray for our community and all those impacted by COVID-19.

May the Lord bless you and give you favor in all you do.

Blessings.

July 24 – Masks

Church Family,

Governor Walz’s announcement this week regarding a public mask mandate will take affect this coming Saturday, July 25. This has a direct effect on us as a church family while we worship together on Sundays.

Beginning this Sunday, July 26, masks will be required for those who choose to worship onsite at Alexandria Covenant Church. There are some exceptions to the mandate.  According to the Governor’s executive order, masks are NOT required for the following:

  1. Children 5 years old and under.
  2. Adults with medical conditions that prevent mask use.

Please keep in mind that wearing a mask will not prevent you from contracting the COVID-19 virus.  Some studies do indicate however that wearing a mask will reduce the risk of you spreading the virus to other people.

The “mask” has become a widely debatable topic among people these days.  Understandably, people have a wide range of opinions regarding the use of a mask and the mandate to wear one in public spaces.  Debating the use of a mask in public and its effectiveness is not the goal of the church. It is our responsibility to obey the mandate and require people to wear a mask as a gesture of being a good neighbor to those who interact and worship together.

As a church family we have a great responsibility to uphold the testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We can do this by loving one another, looking out for the safety of one another, submitting to the governing authorities over us, and by choosing to meet together as a church family with a heart and attitude of worship towards Jesus!

As Christ followers we are called to be “salt and light” (Matthew 5:13-16) which in essence means that our actions are to be a testimony of love to those around us. As we navigate a time filled with many challenges there are sure to be others around us who are looking for hope.

We want our actions and words to be ones that point them to the hope of Jesus.

Let’s not let the wearing of a mask hinder our worship of Jesus or the hope we have in Jesus. For those of you who feel comfortable worshiping together onsite at Alexandria Covenant Church, we look forward to seeing you Sunday morning with a big smile and a good attitude behind your mask!

Blessings,

Pastor Trinity Opp

July 14 – Worship Service Change

It was great to gather on Sunday in our church building! We also celebrate the many who joined us through live stream worship. Re-gathering was a much smoother process than anticipated. We are confident that we can provide a safe and clean environment by returning to our original worship schedule.

Beginning this Sunday, July 19, our worship times will be online and onsite at:

  • 8:00 am – Traditional Worship
  • 9:30 & 11:00 am – Contemporary Worship

If you choose to worship with us onsite, please plan to RSVP each week. Each service will have a maximum capacity of 250 people. RSVP is available on our website and app on Mondays by 10:00 am.

RSVP HERE

As the body of Christ, we are the Church whether we worship together online or onsite. Be encouraged to be the church in our community this week.

July 6 – Re-Gathering Walk through

We are excited to gather with you again when you’re ready.
As you make decisions on how to worship, here are three ways we encourage you to be part of worship at Alexandria Covenant Church.

  • Stay home and worship through online live stream
  • Invite a small group to a watch party in your home
  • Attend an onsite worship service – 9:00 & 11:00 am will be contemporary worship and 4:00 pm will be traditional worship

RSVP is required for our onsite worship services so we can safely accommodate all in attendance.

RSVP HERE

If you choose to attend an onsite worship service, we are committed to complying with health and safety guidelines to be a good neighbor to our community.

  • Main level doors, #1 & 3, open 30 minutes prior to service time. Please be prepared to follow direction of volunteers upon arrival.
  • You can expect a touch-free visit to our church building. Volunteers will hold doors open as you enter and exit. There will be no handshakes or hugs. There will be lots of smiles under our masks! No coffee or cookies served.
  • Masks are strongly recommended and will be provided, if desired. Masks recommended while singing.
  • The Worship Center and Patio will be available for seating.
  • Please practice social distance inside and outside church building.
  • Families with children of all ages are welcome to attend. Family units will be seated together.
  • Bulletin and sermon notes are available through our website, alexandriacovenant.org.
  • Online giving is preferred. Collection points will be available at onsite services.
  • Covenant Kids and Student Ministry remain online only. No nursery or children’s church. Please plan accordingly.
  • Limited use of restrooms is highly encouraged. Restrooms will be limited to two people or one family at a time.
  • Procedures are in place to clean and disinfect the facility.
  • Please plan to promptly exit the church building in preparation for the next gathering.

Guidelines will be regularly evaluated and adjusted as circumstances allow. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

June 26, Details of Re-Gathering Sunday

We look forward to gathering together again in our church building, beginning July 12. Hear Pastor John and Pastor Trinity share details of the Re-Gathering Sunday.

June 22, Search Committee Update

Hear an update from the Pastoral Search Committee and the committee’s recommendation for our next Senior Pastor.

June 18, Re-Gathering Plan

Alexandria Covenant Church “Re-Gathering the Church Plan”

Focus:

  1. Safe – We will be a good neighbor to the community and keep the safety of everyone in mind as we re-gather the church to our building.
  2. Stages – We will be re-gathering in 4 stages to help provide the best possible experience for everyone who comes to Alexandria Covenant Church.
  3. Soon – We will work toward gathering together again as soon as is reasonably practical.

Stage 1: Starting Small
Date: Beginning June 1, 2020

  • Online Worship Only
  • Online Community Groups
  • Onsite Small Groups (10 people or less following distancing guidelines)
  • Weddings and Funerals Permitted (following distancing guidelines)

Stage 2: Gathering More
Date: Beginning July 12, 2020

  • Online Worship Continues (Facebook Live, YouTube, and alexandriacovenant.org)
  • Onsite Sunday Worship Begins (250 people or less per service following distancing guidelines)
  • Live Sunday Worship at 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM
  • Large Group Gatherings in Worship Center and Patio
  • RSVP at alexandriacovenant.org for Onsite Worship Required
  • No Nursery, Children, or Student Programming Available

Stage 3: More Gatherings
Date: TBD

  • Online and Onsite Worship
  • Multiple Onsite Sunday Worship Options Available by RSVP (following attendance and distancing guidelines)
  • Larger Group Gatherings Allowed to Gather Onsite (following distancing guidelines)
  • Limited Children and Student Programming (following distancing guidelines)

Stage 4: Fully Gathered
Date: TBD

  • Online and Onsite Worship
  • Gatherings for All Ages and Groups in Accordance with Guidelines
  • Celebrating the New Normal and Fully Gathered Church

Questions: Please feel free to contact the church office at 320.763.5659.

June 15, New Partnership in South Minneapolis

Covenant Church Family,

The world that we live in is no longer “business as usual.”  We live during a time when COVID-19, riots in the streets, and racial tensions have taken center stage.  As a church, we must represent Christ in our world and stand firm on the things that matter to God.

People matter to God.  Therefore, people need to matter to us as well.  We are all one race of people made in God’s image, and we must see everyone from this perspective.  It is essential to recognize that racism is a problem in our world, and racism is a sin.  Racial injustices will not be overcome through social reform only.  The gospel of Jesus Christ is required.  Racism is a heart problem that will only change through a relationship with Jesus Christ, and by the transforming work of the Holy Spirit in people’s lives.

There is no question that the African American community has experienced tremendous injustices within society by the white community.  We must grieve this reality, and work to make things better.  These injustices have left deep wounds, racial tensions, and social disparity.  The racial tensions between the black and white communities seem to have brought greater marginalization to those of other ethnicities.  As a church family, we will continue to care for everyone, including those who live marginalized lives in society.  And we will continue to strive to be people who work towards breaking the racial disparity of the black and white communities, in Jesus’ name.

There are three Covenant churches in Minneapolis (Sanctuary Covenant Church, Community Covenant Church, and Destino Covenant Church) that are organizing ministry efforts.  These churches are reaching people living near the scene of George Floyd’s murder, including the larger Twin Cities area affected by the riots.  Several churches and organizations have partnered with Sanctuary Covenant and Community Covenant, but few partnerships have been established with Destino Covenant Church, a primarily Latino congregation.

As a church, we have been in conversation with our Conference Superintendent and the pastor of Destino Covenant Church regarding an established partnership and presence in South Minneapolis to build relationships and to help assist to those in need.

You can read a letter from Pastor Mauricio Dell, the lead pastor from Destino Covenant Church HERE.  This letter will help you understand the mission of their church and their heart to bring the gospel to the marginalized living in South Minneapolis.  I have been in conversation with Pastor Mauricio to understand their needs and learn how we can help meet them. We have agreed to partner in ministry. Our goal will be to work together to help bring the gospel and serve those hurting from the impact of the riots and social injustices. In talking with Pastor Mauricio, I am most excited about his love for Jesus and the desire to share the gospel and make disciples.

The Bible says in John 13:35 that the world will know that we are Christians by our love for one another.  Alexandria Covenant Church is serious about loving our neighbors.  We made a $5,000 contribution to the Community Crisis Fund at Destino Church to help them meet immediate needs.  Leaders from both churches will be meeting together on Monday, June 22.  We plan to get to know one another, walk through the hardest-hit streets of South Minneapolis, and develop a plan for an ongoing partnership.

This plan will be for maximum impact for the Kingdom of God in South Minneapolis. It will likely include a more significant financial commitment from our “Regional Mission” budget as we better understand the needs. There will also be possible short-term mission trips to South Minneapolis. Our desire is to encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ, rebuild their community alongside them, and provide supplies that meet their needs. Tentatively, we are looking to send teams from our church in July and August.

This partnership is an excellent opportunity to help bring hope to people in our world who live marginalized lives, and who desperately need Jesus as we all do! Alexandria Covenant Church family, I am asking you to pray and be open to how God may lead you to help. We will need resources, time, and talent to accomplish the work and ministry of the gospel through this partnership with Destino Church. Many will be committed to short-term needs, but we are looking to build a lasting relationship with Destino Church to further God’s Kingdom work on earth to God’s glory.

Pastor Trinity Opp

May 29, Reopening Plan

Hear Pastor John and Pastor Trinity share plans for beginning to gather together in our church building.

May 22, Church Family Update

Church Family,

I know many of you are aware of Governor Walz’s decision on Wednesday to keep tight restrictions on group gatherings which directly impact the church.  The Governor’s guidelines will limit group gatherings to 10 people or less for the foreseeable future. Obviously, this news comes with great disappointment for many, and understandably so. But I encourage you to remain calm and steadfast in your faith during this season of being physically apart.

Below are a few updates that are important for you to know as a church family.

  1. The Leadership Team is working on a “Re-Opening” of the church building plan.  Let me remind you that the church has never really been closed, we have simply been meeting together from a distance. We have chosen to meet from a distance for a season during this pandemic to keep people safe and to protect the most vulnerable from COVID-19.  The goal is to have a re-opening plan for the church in place by June 1, 2020. This plan will likely have different stages that will help define what church life will be like at each stage.
  2. We are excited to announce that our website has been given a new look and will launch May 25. With the new look comes new functionality and opportunities for you to engage in the life of our church. During this transition, alexandriacovenant.org may be unavailable for up to 48 hours. The Proverbs Challenge devotions for May 25-27 will be distributed through text message as a PDF.
  3. We continue to work hard at providing you and your family opportunities to stay connected through online community. This year we will be providing an online Vacation Bible School experience for children. You can get information for this online VBS experience by clicking here. Feel free to share this online VBS with others. This is a great way to encourage your neighbors and friends to have a VBS experience this summer. And most importantly, this is a great way to share the gospel.

We look forward to meeting together as a church family at the church, hopefully someday soon.  Remember, you are loved and prayed for often!

Please commit yourself to praying for the Leadership of Alexandria Covenant Church. Your prayers are appreciated, as we navigate this challenging and troubling time together.

Blessings,

Pastor Trinity Opp