COVID-19 Updates

PazNaz Care Form

Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, we are striving to be good community members, to protect the elderly and vulnerable, and to be the Church.

  • If you are in need of assistance during this time, please fill out the form below and we will be in touch.
  • If you are healthy and able to help others, we need you. Please let us know on the form below how you are able to help.
Click here to go to the Care Form.

Event Updates & Office Hours

Sunrise Preschool and all gatherings at PazNaz have been canceled until further notice.

PazNaz Office Hours:
The church office is now closed until further notice. You can still reach pastors and staff by email or you can leave a voice message at 626.351.9631.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has asked that all large gatherings over 250 people and groups over 10 people that serve a higher-risk population be canceled. As good community members, we want to honor these requests. We are also encouraging everyone to practice social distancing by keeping 6 feet apart.


Home Isolation Preparedness

While we all pray that the COVID-19 virus does not reach our own home, it is the highest single emergency risk every one of us faces right now. Preventing the passing of the virus from one family member to another is one of the most important mitigation steps available to us once the virus has pierced our home’s line of defense.

If you'd like more information on how you can prepare your home and family, please click here to see our Home Isolation Preparedness Document.


Guiding Principles

We understand that this is a complicated time for our world and community. In light of the guidance provided by government health officials and concerns expressed by the congregation, PazNaz’s leadership has developed these guiding principles to help us prepare and act for the future.

1.  We want to be the Church.
2.  We want to be wise stewards.
3.  We want to be wise, not anxious.
4.  We want to be good community members.
5.  We want to protect the elderly and vulnerable.

COVID-19 information is changing rapidly. Please make sure to check this page frequently to monitor how PazNaz is responding and ways you can help. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Pastor Joe Watkins at jwatkins@paznaz.org or 626.351.2413.

If you'd like to learn more about the COVID-19 virus:  www.cdc.gov/COVID19

May 27, 2020

Campus Re-Opening Update
A Letter from Pastor Tara Beth Leach

Dear ones,

As you know, last Friday, President Trump declared that houses of worship are “essential.” We can understand that some have interpreted this as the campus of PazNaz will be open immediately. However, as we know, COVID-19 has never been simple, and the complexities of opening our campus have proven to be a challenge. Our process for discernment has been and will continue to be as follows:

1. Prayer, fasting, seeking God for wisdom.
2. Understand the requirements for re-opening.
3. Collaboration and discernment as a pastoral staff and board.
4. Collaboration with the re-entry team.

This process of discernment with both our pastoral staff and the Board of Directors has been ongoing. While we are all eager to come back together as soon as possible, our staff and board is unified that we don’t want to do anything in haste. We continue to uphold our guiding principles as we make our decisions.

At this time, with the myriad of restrictions, we not only feel that it is unmanageable to open our campus at this time, but we also believe it would not be the PazNaz experience that we all know and love. As a church, we love to sing, pray at the altars, fellowship, take communion, pass the plates, and under the current restrictions, none of this would be possible. With the current restrictions, a Sunday morning experience would like something like this:

• Congregant arrives in parking lot
• Places PPE on before getting out of car
• Enters a physically distanced line to enter
• Approached by health screener/temperature taker and given a sticker indicating they are safe to attend.
• Enters sanctuary and guided to assigned seat
• Upon conclusion of service rows will be dismissed and congregants will go directly to their cars.

This, dear ones, is not the revival experience so many of us are looking forward to. Under these current restrictions we would not be able to sing, recite Lord’s prayer, or go to the altar, or take communion, or pass the giving plate, or fellowship.

Last night, our board was unified along with the staff that we will not yet open our campus doors with the current restrictions in place, but we are committed to continuing the process of discernment once the restrictions are lifted. We are told that the LA County Health Officials will review the current guidelines in 21 days, so we don’t expect for anything to change within the next month. While we hope we will be gathering again this Summer, we don’t know any timelines and can’t possibly set any dates.

With our re-entry team, we are exploring multiple scenarios for gathering again. Please pray for this team, our staff, and our Board as we do our best to be the church God is calling us to be during these trying times.

Remember, PazNaz: Just because our campus is closed, does not mean our church is closed. We are the church! We continue to live this out through our online worship, online small groups, online Sunday school classes, Helping Hands, Church in the Park, and our Care Ministry. On Tuesday, we had pastoral conversations on what else we could be doing to care for you during these times. If you have ideas, please do send them our way.

Stay patient, steadfast, and faithful, dear ones. I love you more than you know.

I need you; you need me; we need you; you need us.

Blessings,

Pastor Tara Beth Leach
Senior Pastor 


May 23, 2020

On Re-Opening Our Campus
A Letter from Pastor Tara Beth Leach

Dear ones,

Since my email yesterday, we continue to receive questions as to “when” we will open the campus again. While I still cannot give you a date, let me give you more detail.

Before re-opening our campus, many steps must first happen. The first step is discernment. As you know, our pastoral staff established guiding principles. In order to discern when the best time for us to come back, we must ask the following questions:

1. Are we being the church God is calling us to be by opening?
2. Is it wise stewardship?
3. Is it wise, and not anxious or hasty?
4. Are we able to still be good community members?
5. Are we able to still protect the elderly and vulnerable?

Prayerful discernment is a critical first step. As your pastor, I ask that all of us go to God on this in prayer and fasting. As I mentioned in previous emails, we submit to one King first.

This week, we will be gathering the following groups to begin our discernment process:

1. Pastoral Staff
2. Board of Directors
3. Re-entry team

After the Board of Directors and Pastoral staff establish a target date for re-opening our campus, we prepare to fulfill all of the guidelines from the CDC and local health officials. We are told that these guidelines will be released on Monday.

Dear ones, we will do nothing in haste. This will not be a fast process. I am grateful for President Trumps regard for religious freedom, and I am grateful we have a choice, but we must move slowly, wisely, and follow the Lord’s leading.

I need you; you need me; we need you; you need us.

Blessings,

Pastor Tara Beth Leach
Senior Pastor 


May 22, 2020

A Letter from Pastor Tara Beth Leach

Dear ones,

By now you may have heard the news that President Trump has announced that Houses of Worship are Essential. Indeed, we are essential! I’ll get more to that in a reflection below.

Here’s what we can tell you about our return to gathering again:

Sunday mornings are always a special experience. Some of the most beautiful moments are the close fellowship, the freedom in worship, singing without inhibition, sharing life and food together, and watching the children play throughout the courtyard. Online worship will never be able to replace the joy of gathering! However, at this time, we are not able to offer the same experience that we all know and love. As I said in my last email, we have a re-entry team working to create a safe experience for everyone. This will take a lot of time, and right now we don’t have a date to give you. We want to come back when it’s not only safe, but when we can offer the best worship experience possible.

Now, below is a simple pastoral reflection for all of us to ponder:

1. Essential: First, let’s talk about the definition of essential: “Absolutely necessary; extremely important.”

2. Church: Second, let’s talk about the definition of “church.” Church is something we *are.* We are the bride of Christ, the people of God in Christ, the ecclesia, and the church. Yes, we *do* church as we partner with God in the work of redeeming all of creation. Here’s the good news! We don’t have to guess what this looks like, we don’t have to guess what the “greatest way” of being the church. Jesus actually tells us straight up: The Greatest Commandment and The Greatest Commission. Let’s look at the Greatest Commandment.

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:28-31)

3. Greatest: Let’s talk about the definition of Greatest - “of an extent, amount, or intensity considerably above the normal or average.”Now let’s keep this in our back pocket for a moment and talk about allegiance.

4. Allegiance: As Christians, our greatest allegiance belongs to one – King Jesus. Our “economy” is not of this world, and our decisions flow out of obedience to our King and only our King. When it comes to submitting to the government (Romans 13:1-7), this is of course very important. When the Apostle Paul wrote this, he was extremely concerned about the witness of the church. Christians who refuse to submit to the government don’t have a very bright witness. When is it OK to not submit to government? Well, it’s complex. But for now, let’s say when it requires us to do anything that would pull away from our ultimate allegiance, King Jesus. We follow the commands of Jesus first – he is our ultimate authority, and we obey him.

5. Greatest Commandment: Now, let’s return to the Greatest Commandment. What churches *must* ask themselves if they are to begin gathering again is: Are we able to live out the Greatest Commandment and still gather? Are we at risk of harming our neighbor? Is there any potential of causing an outbreak that could harm my neighbor, the vulnerable, the elderly? Will this diminish our witness? Just because we can gather, does that mean we should? What is wise? What is loving? Heed to the words of James and ask for wisdom! (James 1:5)

6. Allegiance and Polarization: Let’s return to allegiance. One of the most significant concerns I have as a pastor (for years) is where Christians hold their allegiance. Churches will most certainly divide over President Trump's declaration that all churches are essential. Why? Because it has not only become a polarizing issue, but it has become a partisan issue. Many churches in the United States are full of people who exist across all party lines, which is *wonderful!* The issue right now isn’t just how you vote, but it comes down to *ultimate allegiance.* Brian Zahnd said it best: “Once you pledge allegiance to an ism (conservative or progressive) you have a hard time showing mercy to anyone outside of the ism. Before we get too upset, the issue isn’t how you vote, it’s allegiance. Churches who have congregants who have pledged allegiance to an ism – in this case a red and blue – will polarize and it will have devastating impacts. More than ever, Christians just completely unhitch themselves from “isms” and pray for the Lord to help them see this pandemic through the lens of his Kingdom. More than ever, we must repent from our allegiance of “isms” and pray for the Lords will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. Now is not the time to polarize. Now is the time to press into Jesus, pray for wisdom, and pray that the only lens we see this pandemic through is that of God’s kingdom.

7. Church: No matter what local churches decide to do, know this: Church never closed. WE are the church. Yes, campuses and sanctuaries closed. We are essential! You are essential! Churches are essential! Are bricks and mortar? Well, that is a lot more complicated. I’m sad that we have reduced church to what we *do* once a week for an hour. We are the church, dear ones! Now go, therefore, and be the church by doing the things that Jesus calls the greatest. Go, love your neighbor and love God. Go, make disciples. Yes, it looks different during a pandemic, but thank goodness we have been given the gift of the creative imagination of the triune God!

I need you; you need me; we need you; you need us.

Blessings,

Pastor Tara Beth Leach
Senior Pastor 


May 20, 2020

A Letter from Pastor Tara Beth Leach

Dear ones,

I write to you today in transit as I travel to be with my Dad and Mom back in the Midwest for a little over a week. As a pastor, it’s always hard for me to leave Pasadena, and especially harder to leave during a pandemic. But though I write from afar, I write with a love and care for you.

When this began many weeks back, there was much disorientation, anxiety, and grief over all that was lost. So many cancellations, lost jobs, lost lives, and sadness. Many weeks later, I have observed a shift from disorientation to unrest all around the country. I know these are hard times. I know that it’s hard to remain patient, but as the people of God in Christ called to bear witness to a good gospel, so much is at stake today.

In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, Jesus calls the people of God “light of the world.” Light contrasts the darkness. The people of God are called to live in stunning contrast to a weary and dark world. I see a lot of weariness and darkness in our world today. I see a lot of sadness, pain, grief, decay, loss, and destruction.

I hope you lean into this: we are called to pierce the darkness with light. What does it look like to shine with our light?

Love
Kindness
Mercy
Grace
Goodness
Self Control
Patience

I have seen these fruits all throughout the life of our congregation. I have seen light, grace, love, goodness, kindness, and generosity through prayer ministry, Helping Hands, Church in the Park, Care ministries, and through you.

Let Us Rise Above!
Why do I say this right now? Because now is the time for us to rise above. The polarities, divisions, and political battles that I see happening in churches across America are troubling. As a pastoral leadership team, it is far easier for us to navigate the logistics of re-opening than it us for us to shepherd our people to stay unified, loving, kind, and patient. Dear ones, I implore you! Don’t get swept away with the polarities in a way that causes our witness to diminish. As Andy Stanley once said, “You’re scaring the kids!” Let us rise above, let us shine the light of Jesus, let us love our neighbors, let us reach out to one another, let us use our tongues to speak words of grace.

Campus Re-Opening
As I have mentioned before, in March, our pastoral staff established guiding principles to help us navigate decisions through this pandemic.

We Want To Be the Church
Perhaps this first guiding principle is the most important for us right now. Our church isn’t closed. Our church has never closed, not even for a second. Has our campus closed? Yes, but ministry has never stopped, worship has never stopped, caring for our community and one another has never stopped. Although we haven’t been able to physically gather, we serve a triune and creative God who has a far bigger imagination for church than just want happens on Sunday mornings. We are never closed.

We Want To Be Wise Stewards
During this time, we are being the best stewards of our time by offering resources and ministry opportunies in unique ways.

We Want To Be Wise, Not Anxious
Pandemics spark anxiety, and the news isn’t helping. As a leadership team, we have been working to stay informed and balanced. More than anything, we are asking for the Lord’s wisdom as each week unfolds. With that being said, we are not in a rush to return to gathering. We seek to make no decisions out of haste, rather, we seek to make decisions through prayer, wisdom, and patience.

We Want To Be Good Community Members
Since day one of the pandemic, we have honored the requests of the local health authorities and will continue to do so in the coming days.

We Want to Protect the Elderly and Vulnerable
We never want to make decisions that will harm our neighbor. Romans 13:8-10 reminds us,
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Based off of guiding principles, here are some of the many things we are doing to prepare for our campus to be open again:

Local Authorities: Based on Romans 13:1-7, we believe that our witness depends on submitting to the wisdom of our local authorities. Paul writes,

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended.For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing.Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

 When the Apostle Paul penned Romans 13, he was concerned about the church’s witness in their local cities. We, too, care about our witness. We are paying close attention to the direction and guidance of our city, county, and state officials, and when we receive the green light from them to re-open, we will be prepared to do this wisely. Because we are in LA County, things may not move at the same pace as the rest of the state or the rest of the country. We are hoping to be gathering again sometime this Summer, but we have no dates as of now.

Re-Opening Team: Pastor Joe is leading a re-entry team that is working on all suggested protocols. Our re-entry team consists of staff, lay leaders, and board members. We have guidelines from both the CDC and our insurance provider on what needs to be done so we can have the safest gathering as possible.

Prayer: We are doing a lot of praying, and we invite you to join us in prayer. Paul writes, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (Romans 12:12)

  • Pray for our church: Pray that we would remain steadfast and faithful.
  • Pray for our church leadership: Pray that our hearts would continue to be in tune with God’s heart, and pray that we would be open to receive the wisdom and guidance of the Lord.
  • Pray for those who have been hurt by covid: We know that everyone has been touched by this pandemic in one way or another. Pray especially for those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, pray for those who have lost loved ones, and pray for those who have lost their jobs.

Press on with us: Paul writes,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14)

Dear ones, press on! Be faithful in prayer, lean into God’s word, tune into the livestream for worship, check in on one another, and keep serving the Lord.

I need you; you need me; we need you; you need us.

Blessings,

Pastor Tara Beth Leach
Senior Pastor 


May 7, 2020

A Letter from Pastor Tara Beth Leach

Dear ones,

We know that with each passing Sunday, it continues to be a challenge to not be together in person. We’d rather be together, too. But we’d also rather not be in a pandemic. But there is, and we trust in the presence and faithfulness of God with us.

We are starting to get some questions as to when we are coming back for worship. Back in March, our pastoral staff discerned a list of guiding principles by which we would use to filter decisions. They are as follows:

We Want to be the Church
We are so amazed at the ways PazNaz is being the church! Each week through the ministry of Helping Hands, we have been able to feed over 1,000 people. Pastors and leaders are on our care team through card writing, grocery shopping for the elderly, and phone calls. Every Sunday, volunteers show up at Church in the Park to serve breakfast to the homeless. PazNaz has been the church in so many ways during this pandemic.

We Want to be Wise Stewards
During this time, we are being the best stewards of our time by offering resources and ministry opportunies in unique ways. 

We Want to be Wise, not Anxious
Pandemics spark anxiety, and the news isn’t helping. As a leadership team, we have been working to stay informed and balanced. More than anything, we are asking for the Lord’s wisdom as each week unfolds. 

We Want to be Good Community Members
Since day one of the pandemic, we have honored the requests of the local health authorities and will continue to do so in the coming days. 

We Want to Protect the Elderly and Vulnerable
For us as a pastoral staff, every decision we have made is about caring for and protecting the vulnerable. As we make plans to reopen, this is central to our decision-making process.

With these guiding principles in place, it helps us make decisions slowly and prayerfully. Rushing to have a large gathering in person does not fit within our principles. 

While we cannot give you a date as to when we will be back together, please know that we are working to prepare for when that day happens. We will continue to listen to local health officials and heed to their guidance. As soon as we have a date, you will be the first to be in the know.  We know that it’s hard to be patient, but I ask that you remain patient, steadfast, and faithful.

In the meantime, don’t grow weary faithfully gathering for worship. Here are some practices that we think are best for online worship:

  • If it all possible, worship with us live. 
  • Before turning on the Livestream, set up your viewing area in a way that feels “special.” It could be as simple as lighting a candle.
  • Before turning on the Livestream, pray that God would make your space a “sanctuary.”
  • Join in the Livestream early! We now start at 10:15 am with announcement slides, and there will be special music leading up to the service. This also gives you an opportunity to chat with one another and encourage each other in the Lord.

Dear ones, we are in this together. I love you more than I can say.

I need you; you need me; we need you; you need us.

Blessings,

Pastor Tara Beth Leach
Senior Pastor 


April 21, 2020

A Letter from Pastor Tara Beth Leach

Dear ones,

This morning as I prayed for you – for us – I had such an overwhelming sense of hope. Perhaps you are like me, and you desperately want a timeline as to when this will all be over with. Perhaps you’re like me and are feeling restless. But as I was praying this morning, I was filled with hope overflowing for the future of our church. You see, I believe that God’s grace is abundant, and we serve and worship a God that is so very generous. God is generous in God’s gifts to us; God is generous in God’s grace to us, and God is generous in God’s invitations to us. I have no doubt that God will pull us through this, and I also have no doubt that we as a church will respond to God’s gracious invitations.

You see, as I have had the incredible joy of pastoring you these last four years, I have come to admire your faith and resilience. You as a church have endured many challenges, and together we have endured challenges. But I am constantly inspired, encouraged, and challenged by your faith and perseverance in the Lord. In the challenging days leading up to COVID-19, God was strengthening us and perhaps we were more ready for this moment than we could have ever realized. What I am trying to say, PazNaz, is this – I not only believe in the power of God to pull us through this, but I also believe in you – I believe in us. Keep clinging to Jesus, keep your eyes on Jesus, and trust in the power of God to guide us through.

I have to tell you that I have seen God’s goodness and prevenient grace in remarkable ways over the last few months. While I can’t give you every detail on email – I hope to when we are together – this last January, God began to stir a fresh vision on my heart, on the Board of Director’s hearts, and on the staff’s hearts. We began to sense then that God was doing a new thing, and through a series of “only God” events, we began to put things on paper. We believed it in our bones that God was leading us to embrace new wineskins, but little did we know that things would be abruptly halted with COVID-19. While we never could have foreseen this happening, we are now seeing the invitations from God in the midst of this. I know so much of this sounds “cryptic,” but I share this to say that God is working and helping us to dream his dreams for PazNaz. While I am devastated with all that is happening in our world and I continue to lament, the Lord continues to fill me with his hope and vision for all of us. So, dear ones, take heart. God is not dead or stagnant or distant, no, God is present and leading God’s church even in the midst of this chaos.

You might be wondering, what can we do during this time?

As I shared on Sunday, keep things simple. Be faithful to worship on Sunday mornings, lean into the Lord throughout the week, love one another by checking in on one another, and pray for ways to love our neighborhood. I encourage you to not grow weary of gathering for online worship. I know it’s not ideal, but I believe there is power in knowing that we are all worshipping and leaning in at the same time. I need you there praying for me as I pray for you, and I need you there recalling the grand narrative of God at the same time I’m recalling the grand narrative of God. Dear ones, let us not grow weary of worshipping together!

I also want to encourage you to lean in for our special gathering on Wednesday nights called Midweek Connect. During this time, we are answering the questions: What does it mean to be the church in a COVID-19 and post COVID-19 world. After a 30 minute teaching, we break up into small groups. It is a rich time of fellowship and prayer.

You can sign up right here: paz.nz/MidweekConnect

Once you sign up, you will receive an email from me every Wednesday with your zoom link.

I close with a brief reflection I wrote on Facebook on Sunday:

I miss you, church.

I am so grateful we have the gift of livestream. Being able to lead worship and preach live feels like the next best thing for the current circumstances. Knowing that our people are gathering, worshipping, and praying at the same time we are leading in front of an empty sanctuary and camera helps. Knowing that we are bound together in Christ keeps me going.

As soon as the guy behind the camera (my husband) motions that the livestream has cut, my heart always sinks. It’s over. The sanctuary is still silent and empty, and there’s nothing to do but go back home to quarantine.

I miss you, church. I miss being the last one to leave the campus because we stayed chatting or because my boys were hiding somewhere with friends. I miss the sounds of children running through the courtyard. I miss the hugs, the prayer at the altar, and the encouragement from brothers and sisters in Christ.


I cling to the hope that this too shall pass, and I cling to the promise that the gates of hell will not prevail. I believe brighter days are ahead. Until then, let us not grow weary of loving God, loving one another, and loving our neighbors.

From my heart,

Pastor Tara Beth Leach
Senior Pastor 


April 13, 2020

A Letter from Pastor Tara Beth Leach

Dear ones,

As I shared from the depths of my heart yesterday, although it didn’t feel like Easter, it was perhaps the most Eastery Easter of our generation. I hope you were able to join the Livestream for worship. If you weren’t able to join, you can stream it here.

We need you – your prayers, your love, your generosity, your time. We need each other – our calls, our cards, our prayers, our generosity, our compassion. You need us – our prayers, our love, our generosity, our time, our gifts. We know these are difficult days, and we believe this is all the more reason to press in as a church. I miss you – your hugs, encouragement, your faces, and your presence.

I’m so proud of you…

Dear ones, over the last month I have been so proud to call myself your pastor. These are challenging times, and your generosity has filled my heart with gratitude.

  • I continue to hear stories of you reaching out to one another and caring for one another through cards, emails, phone calls, and grocery deliveries.
  • Last Wednesday I served alongside the faithful volunteers of Helping Hands, and 157 vehicles came through which represented 527 individuals.
  • On Easter Sunday, loving and compassionate volunteers showed up in the rain to serve 60 folks who are homeless. They were fed warm breakfast and the love of Jesus.
  • Last month I visited my Dad, and he told me all about the letters and cards of encouragement he has received from YOU, PazNaz. I was blown away and one proud pastor.
  • Through our Care Team of 40 volunteers, we have been able to deliver groceries, prescriptions, and face masks to dozens and dozens of homebound and vulnerable individuals.

All Glory to God! God is moving in our midst. Together, we are Salt and Light.

Here are a few things you can look forward to in the coming days …

Midweek Connect:  Our team is so excited to launch our new Midweek Connect beginning this Wednesday! Let's connect together and do a deep dive into what it means to live the gospel in troubled times. On Wednesdays starting April 15 at 6:30 pm, PazNaz will be hosting an online time to connect with others through the Zoom app. The night will start with 30 minutes of teaching followed by a number of breakout rooms for discussion. Sign up at paz.nz/MidweekConnect and we will email you each week with a link and password for you to join the online group.

We Are ___ Preaching Series: During the season of Eastertide, we are excited to begin a new preaching series in the book of Acts. Through pandemics, persecution, and war, the church has thrived and flourished throughout history. Although the church has often gathered in houses of worship, we are not a building. We are a people called to love God, love one another, and love our neighbors. During Covid-19, the church must wrestle with once again what it means to be the church without a building and without programs. Throughout this series we will look at the early church in the book of Acts and rediscover what it means to live the simple call of loving God, loving one another, and love our neighbors. Perhaps a return to the simple vision will propel us into a fresh expression for a new world.

I love you, PazNaz. We need Jesus... and I need you, you need me, we need you, you need us.

From my heart,

Pastor Tara Beth Leach
Senior Pastor 


April 5, 2020

A Letter from Pastor Tara Beth Leach

Dear ones,

As I shared from the depths of my heart yesterday, although it didn’t feel like Easter, it was perhaps the most Eastery Easter of our generation. I hope you were able to join the Livestream for worship. If you weren’t able to join, you can stream it here.

We need you – your prayers, your love, your generosity, your time. We need each other – our calls, our cards, our prayers, our generosity, our compassion. You need us – our prayers, our love, our generosity, our time, our gifts. We know these are difficult days, and we believe this is all the more reason to press in as a church. I miss you – your hugs, encouragement, your faces, and your presence.

I’m so proud of you…

Dear ones, over the last month I have been so proud to call myself your pastor. These are challenging times, and your generosity has filled my heart with gratitude.

  • I continue to hear stories of you reaching out to one another and caring for one another through cards, emails, phone calls, and grocery deliveries.
  • Last Wednesday I served alongside of the faithful volunteers for Helping Hands, and 157 vehicles came through which represented 527 individuals.
  • On Easter Sunday, loving and compassionate volunteers showed up in the rain to serve 60 folks who are homeless. They were fed warm breakfast and the love of Jesus.
  • Last month I visited my Dad, and he told me all about the letters and cards of encouragement he has received from YOU, PazNaz. I was blown away and one proud pastor.
  • Through our Care Team of 40 volunteers, we have been able to deliver groceries, prescriptions, and face masks to dozens and dozens of homebound and vulnerable individuals.

All Glory to God! God is moving in our midst. Together, we are Salt and Light.

Here are a few things you can look forward to in the coming days…

Midweek-Connect:  Our team is so excited to launch our new Midweek Connect beginning this Wednesday! Let's connect together and do a deep dive into what it means to live the gospel in troubled times. On Wednesdays starting April 15 at 6:30pm, PazNaz will be hosting an online time to connect with others through the Zoom app. The night will start with 30 minutes of teaching followed by a number of breakout rooms for discussion. Sign up at paz.nz/MidweekConnect and we will email you each week with a link and password for you to join the online group. Sign up here.

We Are ________ Preaching Series: During the season of Eastertide, we are excited to begin a new preaching series in the book of Acts. Through pandemics, persecution, and war, the church has thrived and flourished throughout history. Although the church has often gathered in houses of worship, we are not a building. We are a people called to love God, love one another, and love our neighbors. During Covid-19, the church must wrestle with once again what it means to be the church without a building and without programs. Throughout this series we will look at the early church in the book of Acts and rediscover what it means to live the simple call of loving God, loving one another, and love our neighbors. Perhaps a return to the simple vision will propel us into a fresh expression for a new world.

I love you, PazNaz. We need Jesus... and I need you, you need me, we need you, you need us.

From my heart,

Pastor Tara Beth Leach
Senior Pastor 


April 3, 2020

A Letter from Pastor Tara Beth Leach

Dear ones,

Our nation and globe continue to suffer as COVID-19 spreads around the world. The stories we hear on the news are no doubt scary, and for some in our congregation this is beginning to feel personal.

Today, I am praying for ...

Those who are living in quarantine alone.

Those who have lost a loved one due to COVID-19.

Those who have COVID-19.

Those who have a loved one with COVID-19.

Those who are lonely.

Those who are scared.

Those who have lost a job.

Those who are healthcare workers fighting the virus on the frontlines.

Those who have a household of children and are trying to work from home.

Our pastoral team knows that this has been a very difficult month for so many of you. Our hearts ache with you and we join all of creation and the spirit in “groaning,” as the Apostle Paul says,

“We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.” (Romans 8:22-23)

Dear ones, we long for the day that we can be together again. Until then, we groan, we pray, and we hope in knowing that Jesus has overcome the world! And this, too, shall pass. So we groan with great hope!

As you know, Holy Week is upon us. We know this isn’t the Easter that anyone wanted. I wanted to write to let you know what you can expect during Holy week and the coming weeks, and I also wanted to share a few things happening in the life of our church.

Livestream: We continue to livestream all of our worship services, and while we recognize that it’s just not the same as gathering in person, we believe it’s second best during a time like this. While we are scattered, let us not give up on the practice of gathering faithfully with our local church. Pastors are available to chat while the LiveStream is running both on YouTube and Facebook. This is a wonderful time to invite family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers to worship. Please pray about who you might invite this week! You can find all of our Livestream services here: www.paznaz.org

Palms for Palm Sunday: This coming Sunday we celebrate Palm Sunday. Great news! We have been able get palms. You can come by the church and drive up to the curb at the front office on the northwest corner of the sanctuary and take a palm or a few for your family. Once we are all out, we are out, so come quickly. The palms will be out beginning Friday, April 3, at 2:00 pm until dark and Saturday morning, April 4, beginning at 9:00 am until the palms are gone.

Holy Week


Readings: Beginning Monday, we will provide you with simple readings, reflections, and prayers to prepare you for your journey to the table, cross, and darkness.

Maundy Thursday: On Maundy Thursday, we will provide for you a special experience that you’ll be able to do as an individual or as a family.

Good Friday: We have a very special Good Friday worship experience planned for Friday, April 10, at 7:00 pm. Please plan to gather for an interactive and contemplative Tenebrae-style service that will move through the Seven Last Words of Jesus and into the darkness of his death through pastoral reflections, interactive prayer prompts, and music. You will be able to find the Livestream both on Facebook or at www.paznaz.org.

Easter Sunday: We are excited to celebrate the hope of resurrection on Easter Sunday at 10:30 am. Consider inviting your family, friends, and neighbors to view with you. You can gather on Facebook or at www.paznaz.org.

Pastoral Care


Care Calls: Our pastors continue to make calls throughout the congregation and check in with you. If you have not received a call, please be patient, our list is close to 1500. If you have specific needs, please reach out to us here.

We know that needs within our congregation continue to grow. If you know of someone else in the church who is hurting, don’t assume we know. You can help us by not only showing them the love of Jesus, but also letting us know.

Generosity: Our Church in the Park and Helping Hands Ministries continue to be open, and we are so thankful that we can serve our community in this way. We have seen much growth in clients, which is indeed a sign of the times. Please pray for those who both lead and serve in this ministry, and remember that when you give to PazNaz, you help us serve our community.

Connect


Small Groups and Sunday School Classes: We encourage you to stay connected with your small groups, Sunday school classes, and circles. Please consider Zoom for a gathering tool during this time. If you need assistance learning how to do this, you can fill out our care form online.

Connect Wednesdays: Beginning on Wednesday, April 8, we are excited to roll out a new way for us to stay plugged into the Lord and one another. At 6:30 pm on Wednesday nights, starting April 8, we will gather via zoom for a 30-minute teaching from a pastor, and then we will break you up in small groups for discussion. We are working with our SDMI President, Richard Cota, so we can put you in discussion groups based off of your Sunday School classes or current groups. Stay tuned for more info.

Prayer on Wednesdays: On Wednesday nights at 6:00 pm I am hosting a weekly time of prayer on Facebook Live and Instagram Live. I take live prayer requests and call those who are tuned in to agree together in prayer. If you are on social media, I hope to “see” you there. For now, this is not available on Zoom, though we are working to see if we can offer that as an option as well.

Connect Sundays: Following worship on Sundays, we want to create a “patio experience” for you to gather and connect with new and old friends. To prepare, please download zoom on your preferred device. We will "beta test" the experience this Sunday, so please look for the link in the chat bar during the worship gathering online.

I need you; you need me; we need you; you need us.

Dear ones, I love you more than you know. I pray for you, and I am so expectant for when we can gather together again.

From my heart,

Pastor Tara Beth Leach
Senior Pastor 


March 21, 2020

A Letter from Pastor Tara Beth Leach

Dear Ones,

The writer of Hebrews implores us,

"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another and all the more as you see the Day approaching." (Hebrews 10:24-25)

Not meeting under the same roof with my PazNaz family has left me longing to be together again. I yearn for the hugs, to be led into worship by the voices all around me, to be anointed with oil and to anoint, and to pass the peace of Christ. I set my mind not only on Jesus, but for the day we can be together again.

For now, we mustn't give up spurring one another on. Gather. Pray. Hear the word. Sing songs. Give.

Even if we aren't in the same breathing space, we desperately need one another. Please, dear ones, don't let this storm bring you to a place of despair. Fix your eyes on Jesus, and join us in worship from your own home. You can even stay in your pajamas!

Find your worship service at paznaz.org or from our Facebook page.

I need you, you need me, we need you, you need us.

From my heart,

Pastor Tara Beth Leach
Senior Pastor 


March 19, 2020

A Voice Message from Pastor Tara Beth Leach


March 14, 2020

A Letter from Pastor Tara Beth Leach

Dear Ones,

As an act of solidarity with our community and in an effort to care for the vulnerable by doing our part in “flattening the curve,” we are going digital this Sunday.

How You Can Still Gather
For those who are healthy and able, we encourage gathering in homes. Below, you can find a gathering simple gathering guide. We have been working with Sunday School class leaders to help facilitate coming together. Here are some people you might consider gathering with:

  • Your small group
  • Your Girlfriend to Girlfriend table group
  • A few neighbors
  • Your family
  • A small group from your Sunday School class
  • A few friends

If you have a home and you are able to host, please prayerfully consider especially reaching out to those who you whom you know are alone.

Your Digital Worship
We invite you to gather together for our livestream in one of our many worship services which include:

10:30 am – English, La Fuente Ministries, Cantonese Ministries
12:00 pm – Mandarin Ministries
6:00 pm – Armenian Ministries

Family Life Ministries – By 10:30 am, a lesson for children and families will also be posted. You can access that at the PazNaz home page.

All livestream channels can be accessed directly on our home page at www.paznaz.org
Simply scroll down, find your livestreaming worship service, and click on the link. Some can also be found on Facebook Live for those who are on social media.

We Have Missional Opportunities

On the Livestream 
These are frightening times for people, and we believe that many are looking for answers and hope. At PazNaz, we believe that Jesus is our hope, and we have been sent to partner with God in declaring this good news. We believe that during times like these, people are more inclined to talk about God. Tomorrow, more people will be in their own homes than any other Sunday. Here’s how you can help us bring the message of hope:

  • If you are on social media, share the livestream.
  • If you are not on social media, email or text out the links on our home page.
  • If you have coworkers or neighbors who are alone, invite them over for the livestream gathering.
  • Be prayerful about how God can use you during this time to share the hope of Jesus. The Spirit of the living God resides in you, now is the time to allow God’s light to illuminate.

Care for the Vulnerable
We have developed a call tree system that will enable our pastors to call and reach out to our people this week. But we would like to invite those who are able to help us support the vulnerable during this time. This week we will develop an online form for folks who would like to help care for the vulnerable by running errands, getting groceries, and picking up prescriptions.

But also, don’t wait. If you know if someone who may be isolated or vulnerable, pick up the phone and call them. Ask them if they have hand sanitizer, or if they need help running errands, getting groceries, or filling prescriptions.

Pray
If there was ever a time to pray, the time is now. Times like these can bring out the best in us or the worst in us. Pray that the church would illuminate the hope and light of Jesus. Pray for those on the front lines who are caring for the sick and preparing for the sick. Pray for people you know who are isolated or scared. Pray that this would be the time the people of God would reflect the love and compassion of God.

Give
We invite you to prayerfully ask God how God might be calling you to be generous beyond measure. Our church fiscal year ends in 2 weeks, and we have been working hard to close the gap. We are preparing for potential dips in the economy, and we want to keep furloughs at a minimum. Our highest priority is caring for our community which also includes payroll for our staff. Please help us care for our staff during these challenging times.

You can give:

  • By giving online here: paznaz.org/give
  • Mailing checks to 3700 E Sierra Madre Blvd., Pasadena, CA. 91107
  • Dropping it by the office this week (Yes, our offices are open!)

A Few More Updates

Church Elections
Under a special provision from our General Superintendents, we have postponed our annual church elections to the last two weeks of April. Stay tuned for further details.

Sunrise Preschool
While earlier in the week I made the announcement that Sunrise Preschool would remain open; effective Monday, March 16th, Sunrise Preschool is closed for two weeks. Packets have been sent home for families and children.

Helping Hands and Church in the Park
We are committed to keeping these two ministries running. Tomorrow, our Church in the Park team will be at their usual spot at their usual time spreading the hope and love of Jesus. They have made many adjustments to help flatten the curve. Helping Hands will also be open on Wednesday, and the great news is the Food Bank has lifted the need to have clients sign in. Recognizing the needs may grow, please know that this is available especially to those who are impacted by the outbreak.

A Simple Guide for Gathering in Homes
For those who are healthy and able, we encourage gathering in homes. Here are some people you might consider gathering with:

  • Your small group
  • Your Girlfriend to Girlfriend table group
  • A few neighbors
  • Your family
  • A small group from your Sunday School class
  • A few friends

If you have a home and you are able to host, please prayerfully consider especially reaching out to those who you know is alone during this time.

Before people arrive, trouble shoot your computer or TV to be sure you can connect to the livestream.

Invite people to arrive by 10am so you can have a time of fellowship. Remind one another to practice safe social distancing and hand washing.

Schedule:
10:00 am          Fellowship
10:20 am          Open with prayer
10:30 am          Turn on the liveStream
11:30 am          Take Prayer Requests and close together in Prayer

I need you; you need me; we need you; you need us.

From my heart,

Pastor Tara Beth Leach
Senior Pastor


March 13, 2020

A Letter from Sunrise Preschool

Dear Sunrise Families,

Our primary responsibility during this coronavirus pandemic is the health and safety of our Sunrise students, families, and staff.  With that as our #1 priority, and out of an abundance of caution, we believe that it is in the best interest of our families to close Sunrise Preschool beginning Monday, March 16, through Friday, March 27.

We have curriculum packets prepared for your children for two weeks, which you are welcome to pick up at Sunrise Preschool on Monday, March 16, or Tuesday, March 17, 10:00 am-1:00 pm, along with any personal items you might need during our school closure.

If Sunrise Preschool reopens in time, we will offer classes during our previously scheduled Spring Break (April 13-17) to help make-up for the closure.

In an effort to care for the continued development of your child, and if the closure lasts longer than two weeks, we will have additional curriculum packets ready for pick up.  We will update you weekly with additional developments and potential re-opening plans.

While we had hoped to remain open for families who need childcare, it became obvious this afternoon that was not possible.  This decision was difficult but necessary for the health and safety of our entire Sunrise Community. Our leadership team will continue to check their emails regularly to support your families to the best of our ability. Please don’t hesitate to email us for any assistance or concerns.

We thank you for your trust as we all work together to minimize the risk and exposure to protect the health of our entire community.  All of us at Sunrise Preschool will continue to pray and stay vigilant and as informed as we can be to protect all of our health during this situation.

Blessings,

Jihan Massoud
jmassoud@paznaz.org
Interim Director

Barbara Fields
bfields@paznaz.org
Director of Operations


March 12, 2020

A Video Message from Pastor Tara Beth Leach

Read the transcript here


March 11, 2020

A Letter from Pastor Tara Beth Leach

Dear Ones, 
Since my most recent letter to you on Monday, we as a staff have been gathering, praying, and discerning on how to prepare for COVID-19. We are adhering to the CDC recommendations to come up with contingency plans should there be community spread of the virus. Today, we as a staff have charted 5 different levels of severity for our decision-making process. We have also developed principles to help guide this process. Some of these principles include (If there is an *, it is a review from my last letter)
 
We want to be the church: First and foremost, we are the church. With every decision we make, we want to view it through that lens. We are encouraging our staff and leaders to check in on our shut-ins and vulnerable. We are working to develop a phone tree so that our staff can look after people in our congregation should the virus reach a community spread. Further, we have various ministries that we will work hard to keep open no matter what. This includes Helping Hands, Church in the Park, and Congregational Care.
 
We want to be wise stewards: At present, we recognize that this could have a significant financial impact at the close of our fiscal year. In the coming months, we want to make decisions that are fiscally responsible based on the current conditions.
 
*We want to be wise, not anxious: I understand that there is a lot of fear related to the virus, and it’s not unwarranted. The reports we are hearing are concerning and we are sad for those who are impacted by this outbreak. So much about this virus is still unknown, so it’s hard to know for sure how to respond. We are all in uncharted territory. However, we are choosing not to lead out of fear and anxiety, and instead out of wisdom, and prayerful discernment. 
 
*We want to be good community members: We are paying close attention to the recommendations from the CDC, State Officials, and Local Officials. If there are specific things that we can do to help slowdown the spread of the virus, we want to do it.
 
*We want to protect the elderly and vulnerable: Recognizing that the most at risk are the immune deficient and the elderly, we want to do our best to care for and protect those who may be most at risk.
 
Holding all of these things in tension, here are the measures we as a community are currently taking (If there is an *, it is a review from my last letter):

  1. Suspension of Community Food and Coffee Services: At this time, we are suspending all potluck style food sharing. We are also suspending all Sunday morning Coffee Service with the exception of coffee being served behind the counter in the coffee shop and the welcome center. If you think you may be hungry or need water, please bring your own snack or bottle of water.
  2. *Hand Sanitizer: We have hand sanitizing stations on the outside of the sanctuary.
  3. *Hand Washing: We are encouraging all folks to wash their hands often, especially while you are in larger gatherings like worship. Wash your hands when you arrive, wash them when you leave, and when in doubt, wash them again.
  4. *No Shaking Hands: Out of an abundance of caution and to protect the most vulnerable, we are asking for the congregation to adopt a No Handshaking Policy. This may not be for you, but it may be for someone more vulnerable.
  5. *Changes in Worship: For the time being, we are no longer participating in The Passing of the Peace, or Hand Holding at the Benediction. We are also purchasing prepackaged communion elements and will withhold from doing intinction until further notice.
  6. Extra Events: At this time, we are postponing all extra events including Cuba Missions Trip, Aging Victoriously Conference, KRA Groups, Women in the Word, and MOPS. Please stay tuned for further postponements should we reach a new level of severity.
  7. Stay Home If: We welcome you to stay home if you feel as though you are vulnerable to the disease. Please login to our livestream via Facebook or YouTube. You can also access it here:  paznaz.org/sermons

 
Finally, as you know, we are prayerfully working hard to close our 2019-2020 FY giving gap. If you are unable to make it to worship in the coming days, please consider giving here: paznaz.org/give
 
If you would like to check for more updates in the days ahead, please click on this link: paznaz.org/COVID19
 
I need you; you need me; we need you; you need us.
 
Pastor Tara Beth Leach
Senior Pastor


March 9, 2020

A Letter from Pastor Tara Beth Leach

Dear Ones,

Over the last week, we have had a lot of questions regarding our response to the COVID-19 virus. Yesterday in worship, I had the opportunity to address the COVID-19 virus before prayer time. As a result of some of the many concerns related to the virus, we observed that a large percentage of our community decided to stay home. I wanted to take a moment to address our broader community.

We want to be wise, not anxious: I understand that there is a lot of fear related to the virus, and it’s not unwarranted. The reports we are hearing are concerning and we are sad for those who are impacted by this outbreak. So much about this virus is still unknown, so it’s hard to know for sure how to respond. We are all in uncharted territory. However, we are choosing not to lead out of fear and anxiety, and instead out of wisdom and prayerful discernment.

We want to be good community members: We are paying close attention to the recommendations from the CDC, State Officials, and Local Officials. If there are specific things that we can do to help slowdown the spread of the virus, we want to do it.

We want to protect the elderly and vulnerable: Recognizing that the immune deficient and the elderly are the most at risk, we want to do our best to care for and protect them.

Holding all of these things in tension, here are the measures we as a community are currently taking:

  1. Hand Sanitizer: We have hand-sanitizing stations on the outside of the sanctuary.
  2. Hand Washing: We are encouraging all folks to wash their hands often, especially while you are in larger gatherings like worship. Wash your hands when you arrive, wash them when you leave, and when in doubt, wash them again.
  3. No Shaking Hands: Out of an abundance of caution and to protect the most vulnerable, we are asking the congregation to adopt a No Handshaking policy. This may not be for you, but it may be for someone more vulnerable.
  4. Changes in Worship: For the time being, we are no longer participating in The Passing of the Peace or hand holding at the Benediction. We are also purchasing prepackaged communion elements and will withhold from doing intinction until further notice.
  5. Extra Events: As a leadership, we are currently discerning how many special events need to be postponed. Please stay tuned to the PazNaz Updates for potential postponement announcements.
  6. Stay Home If: We welcome you to stay home if you feel as though you are vulnerable to the disease. Please login to our livestream via Facebook or YouTube. You can also access it here: org/sermons

Our leadership team is meeting regularly to monitor the situation and will determine how we can best respond. As of right now, we have no plans to cancel the worship gathering. Although we aren’t anticipating needing to do that, should it become clear that we would need such a thing, we will work to livestream so you can participate from your home.

Please pray for all those impacted by this virus.

I need you; you need me; we need you; you need us.

Pastor Tara Beth Leach
Senior Pastor