Dear members and friends of Valley Park,
Easter this year is in huge contrast to Easter last year. Whereas last year involved government-imposed restrictions on gathering and fellowship, this year involves freedom (with safety protocols) to gather in order to enjoy worship services and fellowship. We are back!
Although it may take a while to get accustomed to it, there is enthusiasm among many of our members about our return to some sense of normalcy in the context of the family of God. We have new faces among us and a growing excitement about doing things in both old and new ways as we move forward.
It is a blessing to be celebrating this return to church vitality during the Easter season. The resurrection of Jesus came on a Sunday morning after three days and three nights of grieving. Yes, Jesus most probably died on a Thursday and was in the grave for two Sabbaths (A high holy day sabbath and a sabbath rest). As He promised, He would rise after three nights and three days. On a Sunday morning they came to the tomb to find Jesus gone. He had risen!
Likewise, I feel like we have been in a closed tomb with churches not meeting for over a year. We are now out of the tomb with new life that has the potential of being different than it was before. The church is challenged to display a resurrected life in a world that has been tremendously discouraged through months of a pandemic and reported deaths. Resurrection life into the future is our calling.
The resurrection was significant for two reasons. First, it proved the defeat of death. Death is the end of a life in which our vitality is experienced through our physical bodies. It is the physical body that possesses senses of taste, sight, hearing, smelling, touch and the mental ability to think. Technically, without our body, we have no awareness that we are alive. Deprive us of a physical body through which we experience life, and we have no hope of any sensory experience of life at all. The fact that Jesus was resurrected from the dead is the best news possible in a life we have known to be worth living. Resurrection is the requirement for eternal life.
Second, the resurrection proved the possibility of a new kind of life that is more than what we have known in our present physical bodies. Those who were witnesses of the resurrection saw the evidence of both a physical body and a body of a different kind. So, Jesus appeared to them in a physical body. He challenged one disciple to touch Him. He asked others for food because he was apparently hungry. On several occasions he ate with them; breakfast and dinner. He told one follower to stop clinging to Him. So, His resurrected body was physical.
But his physical body was not exactly the same as the body before death. He appeared in their presence without using doors. He disappeared while they were watching and ascended into heaven defying the rules of nature. Two disciples did not recognize Him even though He walked with them for hours in His resurrected form. His body was not like the physical bodies we have. His resurrection proved that new life can be more than the life we have experienced on this planet.
In this sense Valley Park is not necessarily coming back to the vitality we knew before Covid. The vitality has the potential of coming back to a life that is more mature and with more potential than we knew before dormancy. My hope is that God will cause all things to work together for our good because we have been faithful to loving Him through the valley we walked during the last year (Romans 8:28).
Thank God for the resurrection of Jesus Christ! It proves there is no end to life and that death is not the final word. It also proves that the sin that separated us from God has been removed by the blood of Christ and that our relationship with God can be restored. We, who have trusted Jesus Christ, are children of God and Valley Park is a family of God. We are coming back, I believe, to a life that, like the resurrected body of Jesus, is new and improved. The resurrection is the foundation of Christian hope for eternity, and the foundation of hope in a renewed ministry at Valley Park because of what Jesus will continue to do through us.
Please continue to be aware of and pray for what we are committed to doing and becoming as the church of the living God. Pray that in everything we do God will be glorified through us.
“I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you before long; but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one should act in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.”I Timothy 3:14-15
Be Aware of and Pray for the Following Ministries
Youth Ministry: Victor Paz
Meeting Location – Ranch House
Wednesdays from 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Sunday Service from 10:30 am to 12 pm
Monthly Agenda in Learning: Forgiveness, Trusting Jesus, Getting out of our Comfort Zone, and Serving the Body of Christ.
Children’s Ministry: Diana Nason
We are excited to announce that Valley Park Church will resume Sunday school for nursery, preschool, and elementary age students beginning April 18, 2021. In order to ensure CDC guidelines, we will be implementing the following safety protocol:
- All classrooms will be sanitized prior to children entering the rooms.
- Classrooms will remain closed until the teacher is present to greet the children.
- All children must be escorted to their classrooms by an adult.
- Children must come to class with masks covering their nose and mouth. Elementary students need to keep masks on during class.
- Parent/adult must sign the child in when bringing the child to class and sign out when picking the child up from class.
- During Sunday school time elementary students will remain seated at their desks and maintain the recommended 3 to 6 feet social distancing.
- Elementary students will be provided with crayons, pencils, and paper for personal use during class time. These materials will not be shared.
If you have a child in elementary school, we ask that you go over these guidelines with your child in order to have a smooth transition. We thank you in advance for your cooperation and look forward to seeing your child once again in Sunday School. If you have any questions regarding the reopening of children’s Sunday school, please feel free to contact Ann Jones.
To God be the glory!
Adult Bible Study
Attend a Wednesday Night Bible Study at 7 pm via ZOOM. You can download ZOOM at https://zoom.us/download. If you need help, call me at (818)521-0654.
Wednesdays – 7 pm
Zoom Meeting ID: 894 4077 3923
Thursday Fellowship for Seniors
Join us at the church for our Senior Fellowship on Thursdays at 10 am in the Church courtyard.
Men’s Fellowship and Bible Study
Come down to the church on Saturdays for our Men’s Group at 9 am in the Church courtyard.
BE AWARE of Youth Scholarships for Graduating Seniors
Financial Scholarships for graduating seniors intent on going to college or university are awarded by Valley Park every June. Qualifications are good grades and display of commitment to loving and serving Jesus Christ in the context of a local church. Applications are due in May, 2021. See Victor Paz to obtain your application.
Valley Park April Birthdays
01 Adrianne Borkin (female)
02 Evonne Rice
05 Barry Press
07 DuShaun Thompson
08 Gavyn Rivadeneira (child)
12 Bernie Mills
16 Wilma Daniels
17 Marc Honles
19 Max Beugnon (child)
24 Michel Beugnon (male)
28 Claudere Figueroa
29 Jessica Barb
30 Gary Marsden
Valley Park Financial Report
through March 31, 2021
Weekly Budgeted Giving Estimated $2,692
March Weekly Giving:
March 7 $3,089
March 14 and 21 $4,094
March 28 $3,344
March Target (2,692 /week x 4) $10,768
March Actual $10,527
March Variance minus $241
Year to Date (July 1 through March 31)
YTD Target $104,988
YTD Actual $94,484
YTD Variance minus $10,504