Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, SCC churches have found creative ways to minister to their members and the communities they serve. Christmas 2020 was no exception.
North Hills church shares Christmas carols with a unique twist
During the holiday season, under normal circumstances, Christmas carols are a way to bring Christmas cheer to friends, family, and neighbors. Often, a group of carolers comes prepared to sing to those they visit. This year, the North Hills church family did something a little different: reverse Christmas caroling.
The concept includes visiting church members in their homes and asking them to sing a song. “In searching for Christmas material, we saw a clip from a church in Texas that did a similar idea,” Tim Cress, senior pastor at North Hills church, explained. “We thought it could be expanded to include more people and help members to see one another in a creative way.”
“Our goal throughout the pandemic has been to connect people with one another," he continued. “Providing content is a new challenge that gets a lot of focus, but keeping people connected is the most important task.”
Watch the caroling here.
Sunland-Tujunga church gives more than free clothing through God’s Closet
This holiday season, Sunland-Tujunga church hosted God’s Closet for their community. Items ranging from children’s clothes, diapers, and shoes to toys and encouraging literature were offered free of charge. The pastoral team prayed personally with attendees after they had finished shopping.
The church’s first God’s Closet event was held in August 2019. “We were given consent by the church board to have our next event on November 22, 2020, with new online registration, social distancing, and wearing masks,” Lily Cirstoiu, Sunland-Tujunga church member and God’s Closet-Tujunga coordinator, shared. “We had 150 registered, and 100 attended. On December 6, we welcomed those who missed out, and 30 moms came to shop. What a blessing.”
“As God’s Closet, we are the hands and feet and voice of Jesus to the community,” continued Cirstoiu. “Prayers were lifted up on behalf of the families, and friendships were formed. One mom was asking for a change in her work situation, and we were able to connect her to a better job. Another mom commented that she had never attended an event like this that prayed for the family.”
Valley Crossroads brings holiday cheer to families in the San Fernando Valley
Valley Crossroads church partnered with the San Fernando Valley Salvation Army in the organization’s annual Adopt-a-Family program. Members from the church volunteered to pick out gifts for families signed up with the program. Families listed their clothing and shoe sizes and special gift requests; members of Valley Crossroads then purchased, wrapped, and dropped off the gifts at the church to be delivered to the Salvation Army. After a different Christmas activity fell through due to COVID-19 restrictions, Stacy Moss, Valley Crossroads personal ministry director, spearheaded this initiative with the support of John Trusty, pastor at Valley Crossroads church.
“We’re so grateful to have participated in this program,” Moss reflected, “and we’re excited to see how we can expand our partnership with the Salvation Army in the coming year.”
District churches share gifts and literature at drive-through toy drives
On December 19 and January 2, Panamericana Spanish and East Los Angeles Bilingual churches welcomed families to a drive-through toy drive event in which families pre-registered. The district churches, pastored by Salvador Garcia, received donated gifts from the local Marines Corps station as well as church members. Between both churches, more than 200 gifts were distributed.
In addition to toys, families were given Christian literature such as Steps to Christ, Signs of the Times, and the Spanish magazine El Centinela. Garcia, elders, or church members prayed with the families in their cars upon arrival. Former and inactive members who came with their families to receive toys were inspired by the outreach to return. One member, whose daughter was once actively involved in church and brought her family to the event, said, “I know God will use this outreach ministry to call them back to a relationship with Jesus.” Another former member who came to pick up toys for his neighbors was deeply impressed, saying, “You may be seeing me more often as a result of this outreach.”
“There is a hope and a light that has been ignited in their hearts,” Garcia added, “in wanting to come back and participate in programs or the services of the local church.”