Happy Wednesday, Friends!

This week, I wanted to share a story from the Old Testament with you, which I think speaks to our current situation.

This is from Deuteronomy 31.

Moses was getting older and less able to lead, and God was raising up a new leader: Joshua. Joshua had been around a while and had served with Moses for some time. However, Moses had been the leader for nearly 40 years. The people had grown accustomed to his way and style of leadership, and as the reins were being handed off, folks were anxious.

Moses speaks these inspiring words to the people of Israel in Deuteronomy 31:6 – “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified…for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave your nor forsake you.”

In the following verse, Moses is repeating that very same thing to Joshua privately: “Be strong and courageous.”

Then, when Joshua takes over, God speaks to him and says: “Be strong and courageous…be strong and very courageous…be strong and courageous…do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

This phrase is repeated seven times in this leadership transition. I have said in a sermon before, that if the Bible is repeating something, it’s as if alarm bells are going off and signs are flashing: GET THIS!

Be strong and courageous.

This is actually a portion of the blessing I give my kids at night. I think I’ve shared that, too. As I tell Hallie she is strong, she puts her arms up and flexes her muscles, to show me how strong she is.

Our church is in a season of transition; we have a new pastor, new series of events with COVID-19, and new acting slate of leaders (see below). This time will prove to be a season that will test us; I’m sure of that.

As I look at our church, I see that we have done the same things, largely the same way for many years – just like the Israelites who had followed Moses. As we begin to make plans to reopen, we might expect things to simply go back to the way they have always been, but I don’t think that is possible.

If anything, COVID-19 has taught us all to be flexible…which I’m now thinking is one of Jesus’ missing beatitudes: blessed are the flexible, for they shall not get bent out of shape.

Our church (and every church) will not be the same. And, it’s okay to grieve that. It’s okay to be sad and angry and feel hurt. It’s all okay. However, our feelings can’t change the reality.

As we face the future – as uncertain and as frightening as it may seem – there may be times when we need to be reminded that God has called us all to be strong and courageous, and we just may need to flex our muscles and show each other how strong we can be through these times.

Remember: Be strong and courageous; be strong and very courageous. Don’t be afraid. Don’t be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)

In Christ, 
Pastor Derek

Dear TCIA Congregation,
We write to inform you that due to recent health issues, Walter Chapman has decided to temporarily step aside as Moderator at The Church in Aurora. It is important that we give Walter and the Chapman family space to focus on a course of treatment for Walter. Instead of calls or visits, please pray for Walter and his family and feel free to send cards or notes of encouragement. Thanks, in advance, for your consideration during this time.
During Walter’s absence, the Church Board elected a slate of “acting leaders” to serve in the following roles:
 Acting Moderator, Laura HolmanActing Associate Moderator, Karen PopeActing Chair of Elders, Ken Liang 
In addition to informing you of the changes in leadership, we want to give you assurance that the Elders are developing a plan for reopening the church for face-to-face worship. The plan includes online worship offering for folks who aren’t able, or aren’t ready, to return to face-to-face worship services. As we have these planning meetings, the guiding principles are 1) to make worship meaningful and 2) to keep worshipers safe. Once this plan is complete, it will be shared with the Board and with our congregation.
All of us leading through these times are grateful for your encouragement, your patience, and your prayers. They have helped to sustain us as we lead The Church in Aurora. Keep it up!
In Christ,
Derek Hickman
Senior Minister
Good morning parents,
I am sure that you are all missing the ability to get together in our church and worship.  This idea of worship is something that you may think can only happen within the walls of our church.  Actually, worship can take place anywhere.  In 2 Chronicles 20, King Jehoshaphat used worship as a secret weapon to win a war.  We can use worship as a secret weapon anytime that we feel scared.
Watch this video to learn more about King Jehoshaphat.  This video is a lengthy one (17 minutes), but it is chocked full of games and information.  It explains how we can all worship in creative ways at home.  At the end of the video, there are step by step instructions to make your own “secret weapon”.  All you need are two pieces of differently colored paper and a pair of scissors.  Don’t forget to check out the family discussion questions and activity sheets.
I hope that you are having some quality family time.  Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend!
God Bless,
The Sunday Zoom Fellowship had been a ZOOMING success – UNTIL THIS PAST WEEK when logging on and getting video worked intermittently or not at all. News accounts report that there was a Zoom overload and malfunction due to  use by churches both here and abroad!

We will try again this Sunday.  Log on for a few minutes to say “hello” to some of your church family. The Zoom meeting begins at 10:45 am and ends at 11:15 am. 
If you need assistance logging into Zoom, please call Pastor Derek at the church office. He will practice with you anytime Monday-Thursday.

To Join the Zoom Meeting, click here:

Meeting ID: 676 788 260
Password: 077836
154 people in 45 households were served last week!!  The Leighton Elementary School parking lot pick-up worked out really well – and the beautiful weather was a bonus. We were able to provide touch-free pickup, and the kitchen staff of Aurora Schools along with some church volunteers made everything run smoothly.

This week households will receive milk, bread, eggs, meatballs and all the fixings for spaghetti, lettuce, carrots, italian dressing, oranges, bananas, breakfast cereal, toilet paper, and paper towels. Once again families will be able to select the toiletry items they need from the stock of donated items you have provided (your toiletry donations can be placed in the plastic bins outside the church’s glass doors).

Our Community Relief Effort IS a community relief effort in many ways.  This week we want to give a shout-out to another member of our community: Domino’s Pizza of Aurora has donated a coupon to each family for a free pizza!

As a reminder, if you are looking for another way to help while also safely obtaining your personal groceries,  Sirna and Sons offers fresh meats, dairy, fruits, veggies, and more placed in your car touch-free.  Orders can be made weekly with no commitment.  And here’s the best part: 15% of all orders received go to the Aurora Community Relief Fund . You may click here to check out their website and make an online order.  Then all you have to do is pull up to the Leighton Elementary School parking lot on Thursdays 9 – 11:00 am and say your name – your groceries will be put into your car and you drive away!  You can order until 8:00 pm on Tuesdays for pick up the same week.  Any questions?  Call Liz Sutter at 216-570-6394.