Lord’s Supper this Sunday

We’ll be taking the Lord’s Supper together during all worship services this Sunday.  Preparing our hearts is an important part of taking communion together. Our Founding Pastor, Rick Duncan, shared some thoughts on how we can prepare for this special time of worship. For those who aren’t able to join us on campus, we’re also offering some tips on how you can participate with us from your home.

Communion (the Lord’s Supper) is an ordinance given to all believers by Jesus to remember His sacrifice for us.  If you are a true believer in Jesus Christ and are in good standing with us at Cuyahoga Valley Church, you are invited to join us online to remember His selfless sacrifice. Consider this as an invitation, not a requirement.

The elements of bread and juice are symbols of Jesus’ broken body and shed blood. Communion is not a means of salvation. It is an act of obedience and worship that demonstrates a believer’s faith in the atoning work of the cross. It’s a way for us to worship, to think soberly about our forgiveness, to commune with Christ, and to reaffirm our surrender to follow Jesus as Lord.

If you don’t feel led to participate or if you feel uncomfortable for any reason about participating, then don’t participate. At that point in the service, simply lift up your heart in gratitude to God for the sacrifice of His Son.  If you are not in the place where you consider Christ Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior or if you are unrepentant about sin in your life, then we would encourage you to pray quietly while others celebrate the Lord’s Supper together.

SCRIPTURE REFERENCES FOR PERSONAL PREPARATION:

  • Matthew 26:26-30
  • Mark 14:22-26
  • Luke 22:19-20
  • 1 Corinthians 11:23-29

HOW TO PREPARE FOR COMMUNION AT HOME

Prepare your heart: Confess all known sin.  Seek restoration with anyone you may have hurt or offended.  God’s Word says that we should not eat of the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy way.  

Gather the elements: Grape juice and bread or crackers – find elements that best approximate those that we would use for Lord’s Supper at CVC.  

Prepare the juice: Serve the juice in individual small glasses for each participant.  We encourage you to use glasses that you would not normally use.  This will help you and your family remember the significance of Communion.  

Prepare the bread or crackers: Use a special dish or tray.  When you share the elements, allow people in your family to access the elements one at a time in order to maintain a safe distance from one another.  

Follow the directions: The Teaching Pastor will guide you to eat and drink together with others in the CVC family of faith.  

Encouragement from Jeremiah 17

by Chad Allen, Lead Pastor

You don’t need the news or a post to tell you that these are challenging times. And in challenging times who we trust in and what we trust in becomes very evident. These words from today’s Bible reading plan are very timely.

Thus says the LORD: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD.  He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.  “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”  

Jeremiah 17:5-8

In this season, as grateful as we are for the tireless efforts of essential workers and those in positions trying to make positive changes, we need to always watch ourselves that we don’t place our dependency on humanity, becoming a person who “trusts in man and makes flesh his strength.”  We make a terrible god – we are extremely flawed saviors.  But God is faithful!  God is present and He provides what our bodies and minds and hearts need during times of joy and abundance and during times of hardship and anemic resources.   

May you renew your trust in the Lord today.  May your soul flourish even while experiencing personal or national drought.  Would you pause even now and pray these verses to the Lord? Thank him for His faithfulness in the good times and bad. Confess where you have been trusting in the power of people and human solutions rather than the Lord and His character and the promises of His Word. Ask the Lord to help you fiercely trust Him no matter what challenges you face.

Campus Update!

Dear CVC Family,

Pastor Josh and I had the opportunity to share an exciting update about our campus launch during worship services this past Sunday morning.  There is a church in Brunswick that has offered to give us their facility for our campus! Here’s a video of that announcement in case you missed it.

We see God’s hand at work with the campus launch and we are so thankful.  So, what’s next?  Our goal is to mail the plan and budget to CVC members the first week of August and then discuss the plan and answer questions at a CVC Members Meeting.  The next step would be to vote on whether or not to accept the gift of the church facility (and land) as well as the capital improvement budget at a separate meeting for our CVC members.  If you’re a member of CVC, be on the lookout for those meeting dates in August!

We believe that God is working even in the midst of safe distancing and isolating to invite people to new life in Christ and to advance His kingdom. This is all the doing of the Lord and not us. Still, I want to personally thank each one of you for your investment – time, treasure, talent – in the ministry of CVC. We believe that God has great things ahead for our church, and that God will use us to see hundreds of people put their faith in Jesus for the first time.

Please be in prayer with us over this exciting opportunity.  If you have any questions or would like more information about staying connected with us, please email us at connect@cvconline.org.

Live New,
Pastor Chad

Regathering – Phase 2 is here!

Phase 2 of our Regathering Plan begins this Sunday, July 12!  In addition to online worship services and Church on the Lawn, we are grateful to resume indoor worship services beginning this week at 9:30 AM and 11 AM.  We know that some of you are still unable to gather with us in person, which is why we want to offer several options.  We want you to be able to choose whichever worship option best suits your needs. We’re all in this together, even if we are still separated by distance for a while longer.  If you need any help staying connected, please let us know by emailing us at connect@cvconline.org.    

Watch this quick video for an update from Pastor Chad!

Here’s a snapshot of our current options!

Watch Online with us

We are live streaming our morning worship services at 9:30 AM and 11:00 AM.  You can join in on our website and our CVC Facebook page.  You can also stream them using the Boxcast app on your smart TV (Roku, Firestick, AppleTV, etc.).  If you aren’t able to watch live on Sunday morning, you can watch them later at cvconline.org/series

Need helping watching online?  Check out our video tutorial here

Church on the Lawn continues

We will continue having Church on the Lawn throughout the month of July.  Bring your own chairs or blankets to sit on.  Families will worship together, there will not be a separate worship venue for children or students.   

In order to honor the most recent mandate from Governor DeWine, we need you to maintain safe distancing (6 feet) from individuals who are not members of your household if you’re not wearing a mask.       

Prefer to stay in your car?  You’ll be able to tune into our service on 97.7 FM while on our property.    

Be sure to check our website or Facebook page before heading to CVC if the weather looks bad.  

Indoor services at 9:30 AM and 11 AM

We are resuming indoor worship services this Sunday at 9:30 AM and 11 AM.  Registration is required!  We have a limited number of seats due to safe distancing practices that are now in place.  The Worship Center main floor and balconies will be open, and we will have video venues available in Rooms 104/106 and in Lower Level Room 100.  Families will worship together.  There will be no unique venues for children or students at this time.  

A new registration form will need to be completed every week in order to reserve your seat for the upcoming Sunday.  Each week, the new form will open on Sunday morning and be available until Saturday evening.  You’ll be able to register on our website or under the Sign Up section of our App.  You can find more information on our Regathering web page.  

What can you expect if you return to our indoor worship services? Check out this video for more information!

Please let us know if you need prayer, need help, or would like to connect with our CVC Team.  You can text the word Connect to 440.276.5575 or email us at connect@cvconline.org.  We’re here for you! 

The CVC Team

A “Who’s Your One” Prayer

by Rick Duncan, CVC Founding Pastor

Sometimes it is helpful to use the written prayers of others – particularly when those prayers are Scripture-fed and Spirit-led – as fuel for our own.

Some believers object to this practice. They feel that if we pray prayers that have been written by someone else, it will mean that we are not offering up prayers from our own hearts. That certainly might be true. But it is not necessarily true.

Many of the Psalms are prayers that have been recorded for us so that we may learn how to pray like the Psalmist prayed. Jesus Himself gave us a model prayer. The apostle Paul wrote prayers in his epistles that have served as models for many people down thorough the centuries. 

The great pastor and commentator of yesteryear, Matthew Henry, wrote a book filled with written prayers called A Method of Prayer. The Valley of Vision is a collection of Puritan prayers. A Guide to Daily Prayer is a book written by a Scottish pastor and is filled with morning and evening prayers for each day of the month.

 So, it is entirely appropriate for us to use prayers that have been written by others. 

As we do we can make sure that they are sound theologically, are filled with Scriptural truth, are expressing the sentiments of our own hearts, and are capable of being rephrased in our own words. This is what will keep our prayers from becoming “vain repetition.”

With that in mind, below is a prayer that might help you use some truths from Luke 11:14-26 in order to pray for someone you know who has been held captive by the enemy and is not living a Christ-honoring, flourishing life.

Lord Jesus, I praise You for being Strong and Mighty. You alone are the way, the truth, and the life. Help me be someone who gathers with You and for You. Lord, I am grieved because __________ has not encountered You and is not yet living an abundant, flourishing life. I honor You as the Stronger One who can drive out the enemy, the strong man, in his/her life. I ask You to take away __________’s blindness so that he/she can clearly see the beauty of Jesus. Open his/her lips to give You praise. May __________ open the door of his/her life and allow You to come in and to furnish his/her life with all the good things of the Spirit of God. Lead us to an abundant, flourishing life both now and forevermore. Amen.

“Who’s Your One?” Prayer

Lord Jesus, I praise You for being Strong and Mighty. You alone are the way, the truth, and the life. Help me be someone who gathers with You and for You. Lord, I am grieved because __________ has not encountered You and is not yet living an abundant, flourishing life. I honor You as the Stronger One who can drive out the enemy, the strong man, in his/her life. I ask You to take away __________’s blindness so that he/she can clearly see the beauty of Jesus. Open his/her lips to give You praise. May __________ open the door of his/her life and allow You to come in and to furnish his/her life with all the good things of the Spirit of God. Lead us to an abundant, flourishing life both now and forevermore. Amen.

Red Cross Blood Drive at CVC

We are partnering with the American Red Cross for our annual blood drive on Tuesday, June 30 from 7 AM to 7 PM.  There are plenty of opportunities to serve!  For more information on how you can sign up to help, please visit www.cvconline.org/redcross.  

If you’d like to donate blood, please click here to schedule an appointment.  The Red Cross will be taking donations by appointment only in order to maintain safe distancing throughout the drive.  

Important announcement from the Red Cross: 
As of June 15, all blood, platelet and plasma donations will be tested for COVID-19 antibodies. Donors can expect to receive the results of their antibody test within 7 to 10 days of their donation through the Blood Donor App or donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org.

Donors need to have a successful donation to receive the COVID-19 antibody test results. Per standard donation procedure, only successful donations are sent to our laboratory for testing.

Church on the Lawn starts this Sunday at 6:30pm!

We’re so excited to start bringing our church family back together in this way. You can join us on the lawn or stay in your car.

Check out this quick video from Pastor Chad.

Pray for good weather! If the weather isn’t looking good, be sure to check our website or our Facebook page before you head to CVC to make sure we haven’t cancelled.

BETTER YET…Planning to join us? Please let us know you’re coming. RSVP here! That way, if we have to cancel due to bad weather, we can contact you directly.

Here are a few additional details for Sunday evening:

  • Masks will not be required since we’ll be outside or in our own cars.
  • Sing along during worship! Lyrics for the worship songs can be found online at www.cvconline.org/lawn or in the Notes section of our CVC Mobile app.
  • Families will worship together. Childcare and other programming for CVCKids and CVCYouth will not be available.
  • Restrooms will be available on the main level inside the building. (Back doors of the building will be locked.)

For those of you joining us on the lawn:

  • Please bring your own lawn chairs or a blanket to sit on.
  • Please maintain a safe distance (6 feet) from other people on the lawn.

For those of you planning to stay in your car:

  • Please turn your flashers on as you pull into the CVC parking lot so we can direct you to our designated parking area.
  • Tune your radio to 97.7 FM for our broadcast.

For those who aren’t able to join us, no worries! We will continue streaming our worship services online Sunday morning at 9:30am and 11am. We want everyone to stay healthy and safe!

See you soon!

Regathering Update!

Dear CVC Family,

These past two months have been unusual to say the least.  The COVID-19 pandemic has presented an array of challenges for all of us.  As your pastor, I truly miss seeing you all in person!  But I am so proud of the ways that you have “shown up” to be the church outside the four walls of the CVC building.  I’m so grateful to hear and see how you have continued to give of your time, talents, and treasure to advance the Kingdom of God during these uncertain times.  Thank you!!

Our CVC Team has been working hard to continue to provide opportunities for our church family to WORSHIP the Lord, to meet virtually in GROUPS, and to SERVE those in need.  We want you to stay healthy and stay connected to each other as you grow closer to Christ.  We are committed to continuing to provide you with these opportunities in the weeks and months to come as we work toward regathering at CVC.

Governor DeWine has been unfolding the Responsible Restart Ohio plan.  We want to continue to follow the guidelines of those in authority over us and take necessary precautions for reopening the CVC building, demonstrating to our surrounding community that we are people who lead with love and care for the health of others.  Our Elders and Leadership Team have been planning what that will look like for us.  As of this writing, it looks like this plan is going to unfold in three phases.      


WHAT ARE THE THREE PHASES OF THE “REGATHERING” PLAN? 
Here’s a brief snapshot of what the three phases will look like:

  • Phase One—Meeting outside at CVC
  • Phase Two—Meeting inside the building at CVC with safety modifications in place (safe distancing requirements, wearing masks, limited seating capacity in the Worship Center, no childcare, etc.)
  • Phase Three—Meeting inside the building at CVC without modifications

WHEN DOES PHASE ONE BEGIN?
We’re planning to kick off Phase One—what we’re calling “Church on the Lawn”—on Sunday, June 7.  This will be an outdoor worship venue on our front lawn and in the parking lot.  We’ll meet at 6:30pm (weather permitting) for about an hour.  Be sure to check our website or our CVC Facebook page in case we have to cancel due to bad weather.   

We realize that not everyone will feel comfortable gathering even in an outdoor venue and we totally understand!  We’re counting on you to follow the recommendations of governing authorities as well as the leading of the Holy Spirit as you consider how and when to re-engage in church community in person.  We just want to provide an opportunity for those of you who feel ready to safely come back onsite and worship together. 

For those who are not comfortable coming back onsite yet, and in case weather does not cooperate, we will continue to provide online worship services on Sunday mornings at 9:30am and 11am.

Here are some additional details about Church on the Lawn:

  • Bring a lawn chair or blanket to sit on. 
  • Please maintain a safe distance from other families. 
  • There will be an option to stay in your car and tune in to the service using your radio. 
  • Masks are not required outside. 
  • Families will worship together–childcare will not be provided. 
  • Main level restrooms in the building will be available if you need them.

Another step you can take toward phasing back into community with other believers is to invite a few people from your LifeGroup into your home to watch Sunday morning service with you.  Groups of 10 or less are of course recommended, and only gather if you are able to do so without risking anyone’s health.  


WHEN WILL PHASE TWO BEGIN? 
I’m sure many of you are wondering—when can we gather in person inside the CVC building?  The short answer is we still don’t know.  Although the signs of Responsible Restart Ohio are very promising, there are several factors that still make it difficult for us to know exactly when we will be able to gather for large, in-person Sunday worship services.    


WHAT FACTORS ARE IMPACTING LARGE, IN-PERSON SUNDAY GATHERINGS?
You might notice that some churches in Northeast Ohio are already meeting, while other churches like CVC are going to have to wait a bit longer.  There are a few specific factors that will keep our church family from being one of the first churches to resume large, in-person Sunday gatherings.  

  • Number of People
    One of the primary factors that will delay our ability to meet in large, in-person worship gatherings is simply the number of people that regularly attend on a typical Sunday.  We will not be able to accommodate our normal attendance while maintaining safe distancing.  We’re looking at ways to allow as many of you onsite as possible while maintaining appropriate physical distance, but we will definitely have a lower-than-normal capacity in our Worship Center until we are given an “all clear” to resume meeting without having to maintain a certain distance. 
  • Potentially Distracting Requirements
    There are a number of health requirements (i.e. wearing face masks, seating limitations, regulations on interpersonal engagement, etc.) that although they are beneficial to public health, are not ideal in a worship environment.  We are as eager as you are to get back inside the building and worship together, but these will be tricky times as we do our best to keep everyone safe in the process.  We love being able to greet one another with handshakes and hugs, sit right next to our friends, and not have to wear masks at church.  But in order to meet safely, we’ll have to make some adjustments.  Please be prepared to adjust with us.   

HOW WILL THE CVC ELDERS AND LEADERSHIP TEAM DETERMINE WHEN & HOW WE CAN GATHER AGAIN FOR LARGE, IN-PERSON WORSHIP GATHERINGS?

We will continue to pray! 
Our first priority is to listen to and follow Jesus — not just in this season, but in every season of our life with Him. We are actively praying and seeking wisdom from the Lord about when and how to gather in larger ways in the weeks and months ahead.

We will seek to honor our governing authorities.
We want to obey the Scriptures by honoring our state/city governing authorities as long as their guidelines don’t conflict with the ways of Jesus. For the time being, this means we will work hard to honor the recommendations given to us by our local and state leaders.    

We will consult with a medical team. 
We have assembled a team of people in our church family who are medical professionals.  We are asking for their input and recommendations as we make plans for regathering. 

We will make choices based on the mission Jesus has given our church family.
If this includes resuming our large, in-person gatherings in the coming weeks, then praise God — we will do just that! But if we need to meet in smaller, more agile spaces and gatherings for the next few weeks or longer to best accomplish Jesus’ mission, then praise God — we will do just that! God’s mission has never been limited by the size of a worship gathering or to a physical building, and we are confident He is leading the way during this unusual season. 


WHAT DO WE DO UNTIL JUNE 7? 
We are admittedly taking a conservative approach to regathering onsite at CVC.  Please know that this is for your safety.  We realize that people have varying opinions on how soon to come back together, but we are doing our best to navigate these uncharted territories with wisdom and faith.  Here’s what we would encourage you to do in the meantime:    

  • Continue watching our online worship services on Sunday mornings at 9:30am and 11am.
  • If you feel comfortable and able to do so safely, gather in your home with a few people (in groups of 10 or less) to worship & participate with the Sunday Live Stream each week.  This could include friends from your LifeGroup, a neighbor, a co-worker, or your “one.”  You can also enjoy fellowship, worship, Bible study, and service opportunities during the week.  

IT’S NOT SAFE FOR ME TO LEAVE HOME JUST YET, WHAT CAN I DO?
We will continue to provide online Worship Services on Sunday mornings at 9:30am and 11am.  We have no intention of removing this option even once we are able to gather in the building again.  If you’re having trouble connecting or you need our help in another way, please let us know by emailing us at connect@cvconline.org.  We want to help you stay as connected as possible during this time while you stay safe at home. 

I love you, church family!  Please pray for our leaders as we make decisions in the coming weeks and months.  Our CVC team will be offering more updates as they become available.

Live New,
Pastor Chad

Regathering at CVC

This Sunday, Pastor Chad will be sharing some news about our plans to “Regather” at CVC. We miss everyone! We want to phase back into connecting in person while also maintaining caution and care for our church family. We realize that there are many differing opinions on how and when to come back together and that some people may not agree with the plans we’re making. In light of that, we wanted to encourage all of you with this article from the Gospel Coalition. As we navigate these uncertain times, let’s do so in unity as the body of Christ!

Read the article here!