Congregational message

July 20, 2021

     Last Sunday, July 18, I preached on the Fourth Commandment: Remember the Sabbath day and treat it as holy. (Exodus 20:8) In my sermon I pointed out the need we have to observe Sabbath by both getting adequate rest and engaging in meaningful worship of God. I confessed that I had not done a good job of observing the Sabbath, of taking time to rest and experience renewal. After three years of infrequent days off, I made the decision in early June to begin taking Fridays off. I have found it so refreshing to have a designated day off in which I have no official tasks, and can savor unhurried time with family as well as engaging in hobbies and other interests.

     Engaging in Sabbath worship is another matter as it is often very hard to engage in worship when one is leading others in worship (this is called an occupational hazard). I compensate for this by listening to the sermons of others and having a diverse and rewarding devotional life.

     One of the other elements of Sabbath life which has been vital for me is engaging in retreats and Christian camping experiences. Sybella and I participated in the annual Redwood Christian Ashram the first full week of July—though its restorative effect was diminished by the active role I played in leadership throughout the five days of online content. We will be having an echo event the first week of August as many regular Ashramites will gather at Redwood Christian Park to engage in face-to-face fellowship and also seek to bless the campground by affording them some needful income. That event will come on the heels of my annual Worship Planning Retreat where I try to envision how our worship life will flow across the next 12 months.

     Two days after the Ashram echo event ends, Sybella and I will head north to spend a bit over a week in the Seattle area with our son Eli, daughter-in-law Artemis, and some good friends. By mid-August, I hope to be in a really good space relationally and spiritually.

     Nevertheless, observing Sabbath is never a once-and-done sort of thing: it needs to be an integral part of the rhythm of life for the Christian. I would enjoy hearing how you make both rest and worship parts of your regular life—your Sabbath observance. Be in touch: 


Yours for Christ,

Pastor Gary



     The state of California has completely reopened with most restrictions reduced or eliminated with some remaining guidelines for face coverings in public areas.

However, the county of San Joaquin

  • Currently has less than 40% of its population fully vaccinated,
  • Has a Covid case rate that is much higher than the state case rate.

For those reasons, at Holy Cross UMC when we gather in-person.

For INDOOR services, events, or meetings we will:

  • Continue to wear a face mask or a full-face shield. Persons leading worship from a distance of 10 feet will be exempt from wearing a face covering.
  • Allow congregational singing!
  • If vaccinated: with a mask or full-face shield in place,
  • If not yet vaccinated: please refrain from singing in the presence of others.
  • Enter and exit from the front door.
  • Eliminate one-way travel to and from the restrooms.

Click on the file for the FULL description of our policies!


 “Children’s Worship”                                  program

     This is the last Sunday for Children's worship!

     Children's Worship is a free innovative online worship experience for children everywhere. The production is a collaborative effort sponsored by the United Methodist Churches of the Sacramento Pentecost Circuit. The 15-20 minutes includes music, faith-based messages and special friends to meet--including talking animals and a puppet called “Mort” ... video clips come from around our church family in Northern California and Nevada. 

      Videos are geared towards ages 4-10 years old and beyond.

Click the link below to watch Children's church