Dear Congregational Family,

1. VBS: We are in the midst of a wonderful week of Vacation Bible School! We are so blessed with the creativity that has gone forth to make this an amazing “virtual VBS”! Please be in pray for this ministry as God is using it to bring the Gospel message of salvation through Jesus, our Good Shepherd, to so many. We were so disappointed to not have VBS in the building this year, but God has expanded the arms of the church far beyond the church building!! Pray that many children would receive God’s salvation love this week! Also, go online to ruthfred.org and check it out tomorrow!
(pictures below are of: Dave Compel hitting the “VBS launch button” on Monday for the livestream; Pastor Carlson with a lamb from the farm segment; Amanda & the music team)

2. Churches Respond to Covid-19:
LifeWay Research just published their research in which they found that over 70% of Protestant churches have reopened their sanctuaries since closing in March. Among those who have reopened, 99% are taking health and safety precaution such as providing hand sanitizer, recommending masks, additional cleaning of surfaces, and closed seats to increase the distance between people.
I’m so thankful for our Covid-Response Team and their continued diligent work regarding all of this for our congregation. Please pray for them that God would give wisdom, caution and courage in helping the council develop plans for this fall.

3. Worshipping without a church building: Our brothers and sisters in China are incredible examples to us regarding not being about to meet together in a building for worship! Over this past year, many churches have been closed and bulldozed by the Communist Party. Last week, in one city (Xiamen), the government sent officials to continue the persecution by bulldozing the homes of Christians who were using their homes for Bible studies and “house church” gatherings.
International Christian Concern (ICC) released the following statement:
“For the Chinese government to frantically persecute Christians even after their churches were shut down shows how Beijing has no interest in respecting religious freedom.” “What the Chinese Communist Party does not understand is that Christianity will not be wiped out just because the buildings no longer stand. The more the government erodes the rights of Chinese citizens, the more enemies it creates within its territories. One day, this pressure cooker will explode, threatening the CCP regime, the exact endgame it is fearful of.”
At Ruthfred, we love gathering in our building to worship, but we also remember that the “church” is not the building, it is the people connected to Christ!

4. Sermon: Title: “Dinners, Demons, Dogs, & Daughters”
Text: Mark 7:24-30

God bless you as we continue,

“Growing Together in our Faith as the Family of God”

Pastor Carlson