Berkeley Mt. Zion Family,

Well here we are moving towards five months of what has been a cultural shift in our country and our world. Who would have ever thought that we would still be in this place and condition.  As I have said many times before, do your best to remain safe and abide by the guidelines that have been set by our government and city officials.  But even in the midst of where our country is, I am reminded of what the Lord said through Isaiah.  Isaiah 43:19 says:  “For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?”  I believe things will never be quite the same  but in many ways maybe even better.

My ultimate concern is for the safety of the Berkeley Mt. Zion family. I want to thank you for your support and prayers. I will admit to you that this has been rough!  I MISS YOU ALL!  Honestly, I really don’t know when we will be able to SAFELY return to our church sanctuary. Like many of you I am frustrated with the roller coaster of numbers going up and down, and information changing by the hour.  However, I thank God that we were not in the crowd that opened too soon and had to close again.  We are actively preparing for the day when we will be able to open, so that when the time does come we will be organized, prepared, informed, and able to execute and offer a safe environment in the sanctuary.  When we do gather again, the way we gather will not be the same.  The way we will do some things will be for safety sake and will be strikingly different.  So even now, I am asking and praying for your patience.  This is a crazy and unsettling season – but here we are, despite what you may hear or see in the media, we’re not out yet!  So hang in there we will get through this!

In the midst of it all, I do see the hand of God.  We are reaching people literally around the world as never before through the advancement of technology.  Like many of you I am trying to learn and adapt to this online world. I see the providence of God utilizing this modern day technology to advance His kingdom in a manner that even Jesus and the disciples did not have!  Based on the times we are living in, many of you have learned to worship in you “PJ’s” and house shoes, and yet still maintaining a vibrant walk with His word and worship. The Lord is putting His Word into homes and lives across the nation and even the world, many of whom will never walk through the doors of our physical building. We want to be consistent and be good stewards of the favor the Lord is giving us with as we will need to maintain a consistent cyber presence even after we return into our building. I am learning everyday how to shepherd and pastor through cyberspace. So please be patient and continue to pray for our leaders as we seek God’s timing and strategy in the times we are living in.

During this time we are not only dealing with the effects of the Corona Virus pandemic but once again as a result of recent events the virus of racism both systemic and institutionalized, has been exposed like never before. It is interesting to see examples of repentance, the chant of Black Lives Matter being hailed and pushed by those who are not black.  Sermons on racism, calls for the affirmation of racism as sin, and gradually hearing acknowledgements of the Church’s silence, complicity, and even participants in the sin of racism.  We will see how far it goes.  Our nation and the world has roots that are centuries old and I’m sure sober minds agree that this will take generations to change. I admire the STRENGTH of those who stand in the heat of the moment, but I also pray for STAMINA as the wheels of change roll very slowly.  However, I am encouraged that the time is now, the process must begin now, so let the healing and change begin!

In the midst of all that is happening ministry must continue to go forward. This challenges us to think differently, lead differently, and deliver ministry differently as well. Again, I ask that you pray for one another, stay safe and know:

God is STILL ON THE THRONE.  God IS STILL IN CONTROL. We will get through this together!

In His Hand and Heart

Pastor Brian D. Hunter

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