April 1, 2020 Update
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Here are this week’s updates on our church and the Covid-19 pandemic:
1. On March 31st, I received an email letter from our Bishop ordering that public worship along with all in person gatherings and meetings remain cancelled through the end of April. At this point, the soonest we will gather again for public worship is in May. While this news is heartbreaking, we know it is the right decision, and I am grateful for our Bishop’s leadership. We continue to provide online worship. In addition, we have many online ministry opportunities. See the homepage of the website >> for more information and to log into ministries.
2. We have not received any new reports of Desert Spring folks testing positive to the Corona virus. So, to date, we still have 2 members who tested positive: one has recovered, the other is still recovering. We do have one member whose son passed away from the virus and the son’s wife has been hospitalized, but is improving.
3. Next week is Holy Week. We will have a Maundy Thursday service live streamed on Thursday at 7:00pm. It will be a service of Communion, so have some bread and juice available so you can join in Communion. For Good Friday we will be presenting the recording of last years’ Good Friday service. This will allow you to hear our Choir Cantata as well as see the Tenebrae. The service is quite moving, and will be meaningful. The service will be available starting Friday evening at 7:00pm. Easter services will be streamed starting at 6:00 Easter morning (for those of you who like to worship at Sunrise on Easter morning).
4. Starting next week, we will be posting a mini-concert I am calling “Time with Voltaire.” Once each week we will post a recording of Voltaire playing two songs. These mini-concerts will be a great experience for us all.
Those are the updates for this week. God bless you! Stay well. And, I pray that I will be able to see you soon!
March 26, 2020 Update
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I greet you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, grateful to God for you and your presence in my life. Much has happened since my last letter to the congregation just over a week ago. Here are some updates:
1. I am now aware of two of our members who have been diagnosed with Covid-19. One has fully recovered (and wasn’t that sick), the other has just been diagnosed. In addition, one of our members lost a son to the virus. He lived in the southern part of the United States.
2. We continue to support our Governor’s decision to not gather in groups larger than 10 people. We have one small gathering each week (8 or 9 people) in order to prepare and livestream our worship service. We are practicing safe distancing during our time together. We do not have any other in person meetings being held at the church. All administrative and staff meetings are being held via Zoom (video conferencing).
3. Our office remains open, with our office manager available to take phone calls and answer questions. Most of our staff are working from home. All of our staff continue to be employed.
4. I have made the decision to not resume public worship until after Easter. This means all Holy Week services as well as the great Easter celebration will be available only via our livestream. While I am greatly disappointed to not be gathering with you in person, I am grateful we can gather for church online and know God will be present with each one of us as we worship in the safety of our homes.
5. We now have many online opportunities available. Go to the front page of our website ( desertspringchurch.com ) and you will see a full listing of opportunities including Worship, Bible Study, devotionals, prayer opportunities, youth and children’s ministry. We have a very creative staff who have opened up wonderful new avenues to stay connected during this time.
6. We have developed a phone ministry; currently members of the church are making calls to check on folks within our church. It is our hope to contact everyone in the church once per week. If you have not been called, we need your phone number! Contact the office (702-256-5933) so we can be certain to include you.
7. While the church buildings are for the most part shut down, our custodians and maintenance folks are busy doing deep cleaning in all rooms (again, practicing safe distancing).
8. Finally, my family is doing great. We are well! Geri and I are figuring out how to work from home. We miss you, and can hardly wait to see you again! God bless you!
March 17, 2020 Update
Dear Brother and Sisters in Christ,
News of the spread of the Coronavirus has many people in our community concerned. Desert Spring is taking the virus and the concerns of people very seriously. By now, you are aware that Desert Spring cancelled public worship last Sunday, as well as many scheduled ministry opportunities. But, though much has been cancelled, your church is still actively involved in ministry—we are alive and well!
Desert Spring updates
1. To date I am unaware of any of our Desert Spring members and constituents being diagnosed with the Coronavirus. We continue to pray for health and safety for all of us.
2. Following the advice of the CDC and the request of our Governor, we have cancelled all Desert Spring gatherings of 10 people or more. The one remaining scheduled gathering is for the team of 7 people who are needed to live stream worship. Safe distancing will be practiced for our live stream worship team.
3. Our Sandy Valley mission is actively serving families impacted by loss of jobs and income. Although our Food Pantry is still under construction, we were able to arrange for food to be delivered yesterday. We served 114 people in need of food in an hour and a half. The food ran out before the need was fully met. However, we will be receiving food again on Wednesday and will continue our distributions. This is an important way we continue to be the church in times of need. I am grateful for Three Square’s support and for Sarah Isola who is single handedly carrying out this ministry.
Desert Spring Ministry opportunities
1. Our online ministry is expanding by the day. Our online worship this past Sunday had over 700 worshippers join us. (Please share our online worship opportunity with family and friends.)
2. Our youth ministry is now a virtual experience with youth gathering via technology for Sunday school, programming, and to stay connected. Our youth director is keeping in contact with families of our youth.
3. Our Children’s ministry is developing online learning opportunities and activities for families, specifically designed for our children. These opportunities will be posted online within the next few days.
4. Our Pastor’s Partners ministry has developed plans to personally contact (by phone) all Desert Spring people. The purpose of the calls is to stay connected, check in to be certain everyone is doing ok, and to offer prayer support. If you would like to be a volunteer to make calls, contact Carolyn Wood: firstname.lastname@example.org
5. We currently have 5 volunteers willing to grocery shop for vulnerable seniors and home bound members. (This ministry is contingent upon grocery availability.)
6. My weekly Bible Study will now be offered online using “zoom.” Zoom is an online video conferencing tool allowing us to meet face to face using our computers or smart phones from the safety of our homes. Bible Study will continue to be held at our normal times: Wednesday at 7:00pm and Thursday at 10:00am. Watch for an email tomorrow with the link and instructions to join my Bible Study.
7. Zoom will also allow for some of our normal church meetings to continue.
This is a difficult time for all of us. Not knowing how long current health and safety protocols will be in effect makes it all the more challenging. But, we are the church. And, historically, the church is always at its strongest in challenging times. We believe our online ministries give us opportunity to reach people we might otherwise never meet. So, I encourage you to share our worship and ministry opportunities with friends and family. We will come through this challenging time all the stronger!
Please watch for additional updates and opportunities in the days to come.
God bless you, and stay safe!
Rev. David K. Devereaux
A Letter from Senior Pastor, Rev. David Devereaux regarding CoVid-19
March 13, 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Over the past few days, I have spent much time in consultation with church leaders and medical professionals. After much prayer, and many tears, I believe it is in the best interest of our congregation and the greater Las Vegas community to suspend public worship for the next two weeks. This decision does not come out of fear. God has redeemed us and called us by name so we have nothing to fear. The decision comes out of a love for the members of the church and a recognition that many of our people are medically vulnerable. In addition, it has become clear that the practice of social distancing is important to our health care systems, that they not become overwhelmed and therefore unable to care for all who need help.
Although we will not be holding public worship at either the Summerlin Campus or the Northwest Campus, we will continue to hold worship services via our online ministry. So, it is my hope that you will join us for online worship every Sunday and participate in worship in the safety of your home. I will be recording the service early Sunday morning and it will be available at any time throughout the day. Ann Hardy, a member of our staff, will be sending out simple directions for accessing online worship for those who need help. To access online worship (CLICK HERE >>). Our worship will include music, prayer, scripture and I will continue our current sermon series.
Many other ministries (ones that gather a group of people) are also being cancelled at this time. However, it is our plan to continue as many ministries as possible via use of technology knowing that the day will come soon when we will once again be able to gather in person. It is my hope to be able to continue all staff positions, who will be assisting with ministry while (for many) working from home. Your continued financial support will be vitally important to support ministry during this time. Contributions can be made on our website (CLICK HERE >>) or using our text to give number (833-837-2895) or mailed directly to the church office (120 N. Pavilion Center Dr. Las Vegas NV 89144).
Church staff will be checking in regularly with our homebound and medically fragile people to be certain they are being prayed for and that they have what they need to get through a time that will most certainly feel isolated. Pastor Tim and I will be available to you, so if you need help, or just want to talk, know that we are available.
In my 30 years of ministry, I have never experienced such a time as this. The idea of not gathering with sisters and brothers for worship on Sunday is painful. But, God is good. And, God is with us. Though troubled by this decision, I know God will see us through. Our best days are before us, and Desert Spring will emerge from this time stronger than ever. In the meantime, I am grateful that our church is able and willing to make sacrifices for the wellbeing of others. And, I am grateful for technology and ways we will stay connected in the weeks to come.
God bless you!