It was a gift to be together last Sunday for worship. Sadly, however, Sunday was the last time we are going to be able to meet until we know that COVID-19 is under control.
Due to the increased risk in the virus’s deadly spread, the CDC and the White House recommend canceling events that consist of 10 or more people over the next 15 days. Our local health department supports these recommendations. Those 65 and over are advised to shelter in place.
It is with deep sadness, therefore, that our session has decided that we must cancel worship services and re-structure our ministries for, at least, the next two weeks.
While difficult, this is the right thing to do. We are to seek the welfare of the city to which we have been exiled (Jeremiah 29:7). We are also to submit to our governing authorities (Romans 13:1-2). In this unusual circumstance, loving God and neighbor looks like staying at home as much as possible and avoiding large gatherings. Most lamentable, it means worshipping at home and not together around God’s table. We are doing this because we need to decrease the rate at which the epidemic stresses our medical resources and so save the lives of our neighbors and family members.
We will offer a worship service that you can access on our Prepare for Sunday Blog. This page will include recordings to lead you through the service (call, songs, readings, confession of sin, assurance of pardon, sermon, benediction, etc). There will also be resources for families included on this page.
On Sundays, Joshua and Kyle will host Zoom meetings for people to connect with pastors and one another. Zoom is a free online, video-meeting platform that is very easy to use. It allows for “face-to-face” interactions. Feel free to set up an account and stay tuned for meeting info.
Facebook Live Prayer: Joshua will be leading people through times of guided prayer Tuesday–Friday at noon. Make sure to Like and follow the Church’s Facebook page for updates. Please get in touch if you need help accessing it.
Community Groups: Our community groups are on a two-week hiatus. Some community groups will start meeting through Zoom. If you are not connected with a group and would like to be, contact Joshua Burdette email@example.com.
Children’s Ministry: Beyond those who live alone, our children will be some of the most affected by these social distancing measures. Holly will be in touch with resources for families.
We don’t know what the immediate future holds (James 4:15), but we do know what our ultimate future holds (Revelation 21:3–5; Zechariah 8:4–5), and we know the one who holds us now and always (Matthew 28:20; Isaiah 43:2). To him be the glory now and forever!
Reach out to one another
This difficulty provides a wonderful opportunity to be the body of Christ to one another. I want to encourage you to pick up a phone, call, face-time, and email people. Start with your community group and those who sit around you in church. Think especially of those who may be alone or more vulnerable. We need each other and we all have a role to play.
Those with Needs
We anticipate that needs will arise as a result of sickness and social distancing measures. Here are a few ways to help.
NEEDS SUBMISSION: In this form you can submit any need that arises, whether that is for yourself or someone else.
Fast and Pray
Every Monday that we are unable to meet for worship, the Session is calling for a corporate fast (Joel 1:14, 2:15; BCO62).
Anyone who grasps even an inkling of the awesome events taking place in corporate worship will be deeply saddened over the changes we have been forced to make. If there was ever a reason to hold a corporate fast, this is it. Please join us as we together humble ourselves and seek the Lord. If you are hindered from fasting on Monday, please consider another day. For those looking for more guidance on biblical fasting, listen to Joshua’s most recent sermon HERE.
Dear Christ Presbyterian Community,
I know many of us and our neighbors have been following news of the Coronavirus [COVID-19] as it travels around the world. As Christians, we are to exhibit faith, hope, and love as we seek to live out our calling before God and neighbor. Both as individuals and as a church community the virus provides us with an occasion to witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The situation is constantly changing, and with it so should our response. But here are some current ways that we can witness to the good news:
First, we need to remember that “the Spirit God gave us does not make us fearful, but gives us power, love and self-control” (2 Tim 1:7). Fear, as Marilynne Robinson once wrote, is not a Christian habit of being. We have been given an inheritance that cannot be spoiled by disease (1 Peter 1:4) and a life that cannot be conquered by death (Romans 8:11). As Christians, it is incumbent upon us to recognize that we live in a society—from news outlets to political discourse, even to dietary trends—that is dominated by fear. Hoarding resources in response to the news is just but one symptom of this fear. This is understandable and we should have compassion on our neighbors—they don’t know God and are without hope (Ephesians 2:12). Be it not so with us! In the midst of all this fear, we have an incredible opportunity to witness to another way birthed out of the death and resurrection of Jesus—the way of faith, hope, and love (1 Corinthians 13:13).
Second, the gospel of Jesus Christ bids us to love our neighbor (Mark 12:30–31; Galatians 6:10), and especially the most vulnerable among us (Jeremiah 22:3; Matthew 9:35–36). As such, we want to contribute to the cause of public health and it seems wise to follow the CDC recommendations for faith–based communities. This includes a reminder to:
In areas where the virus has spread, the CDC also recommends maintaining sinks with soap, hand sanitizers, tissues, and disposable face-masks for persons who start having symptoms. We are making every effort to ensure that we have these things in our facilities (note: there are no confirmed cases in SB as I write**). If you start to feel symptoms of having a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, we are asking that for love’s sake you leave the service so as not to expose those who are most at risk of further heath complications.
Additionally, out of a concern for public health and the most vulnerable in our community, we are adapting how we do some things during our service.
Joshua recently shared a passage with me from C.S. Lewis, who counseled those living in the anxiety of an atomic age:
“If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things–praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts–not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (any microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.”
I think that counsel is relevant and wise today.
“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)